Annual ADHD Conference Kicks Off Today

 ADHD Weekly November 8, 2018

More than a thousand members of the ADHD community have arrived in St. Louis, Missouri, for the 2018 Annual International Conference on ADHD. It will be the largest gathering on ADHD in the world.

Following the success of last year’s joint conference, CHADD and the Attention Deficit Disorder Association are again hosting the conference, joined this year by the ADHD Coaches Organization. The conference begins today and continues through Sunday. Onsite registration is still available.

“We have greatly expanded the scope of the conference,” says Linda S. Ellis, PhD, one of this year’s conference co-chairs. “For those of you who have attended a CHADD or ADDA conference in the past, the merger of these two groups and the addition of the ADHD Coaches Organization has given us loads of opportunities to expand and enhance the conference experience for everyone.”

A long tradition in the ADHD community

For CHADD, the annual conference on ADHD began 30 years ago, not long after the organization was established. It has been an annual event since then, bringing leading ADHD researchers and speakers together with parents, family members, and adults who live with the disorder. Last year CHADD joined with ADDA to host the first joint conference, and this year they welcome ACO as the third host.

“This year the conference sessions offer more flexibility and a wider range of topics,” says Dr. Ellis. “We’re also including panels, Q & A sessions, consultations, and opportunities for like-minded groups to get to know each other.”

ADDA’s traditional talent show returns this year. The show will be on Saturday and attendees can sign up onsite if they wish to take part. This year’s master of ceremonies is Dean Solden. The event always makes for an exciting evening.

“This is a time to show off your creative side,” say talent show organizers. “Make us laugh, make us cry, break through your fears, and create something special with the most supportive audience ever!”

Leading researchers on ADHD to speak

Russell A. Barkley, PhD

One of this year’s keynote speakers is Russell A. Barkley, PhD, a leading researcher and speaker on ADHD. He will be speaking Saturday morning on his latest research Health Outcomes of ADHD: Is There an Effect on Life Expectancy?

ADHD-related impairment in childhood is well documented and understood, and we are coming to understand how impairment continues into young adulthood. Dr. Barkley plans to share his latest research on how ADHD also predisposes those affected to certain personality traits and lifestyle choices that have a significant impact on health in adulthood and how those risks and impairments influence life expectancy. He will discuss how this information shows better ADHD management could help improve health and life expectancy. This will be the first time he has shared his findings in a public forum.

Jessica McCabe

Also speaking is Jessica McCabe of “How to ADHD,” a popular YouTube channel that provides information and tips for coping with ADHD in daily life. Her personable style has helped to make her popular and her videos are frequently shared on social media.

You can see the full list of this year’s speakers on the conference website.

CHADD to present 2018 awards 

CHADD will recognize numerous individuals for their ongoing contributions to improving the lives of people and families affected by ADHD. Dr. Russell Barkley will receive this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Barkley is a clinical scientist, educator, and practitioner who has published 23 books, rating scales, and clinical manuals numbering 41 editions. He has also published more than 270 scientific articles and book chapters related to the nature, assessment, and treatment of ADHD and related disorders.

Toby Tomlinson Baker will receive the 2018 Educator of the Year Award. Ms. Baker’s doctoral work focuses on investigating how the perception concerning students with learning disabilities and ADHD can change and be lessened, allowing all students, especially those with disabilities, to have access to high quality education. She has presented globally and nationally on various special education topics. She teaches in the Los Angeles Unified School District as a learning support teacher.

Marie Paxson

The 2018 Above and Beyond Award will be presented to former CHADD president Marie Paxson, a longtime volunteer, Attention magazine editorial advisory board member, and board member of the Chester County/Main Line CHADD affiliate group.

“I am beyond honored to receive this tribute,” says Ms. Paxson. “By becoming a CHADD volunteer, I upgraded my knowledge of ADHD, and how to manage it, by leaps and bounds. Volunteering gave me access to support during my family’s most challenging moments. I’ve developed treasured friendships as I continue to navigate all that ADHD adds (and subtracts) in my family’s life. My involvement with CHADD has provided access to a network of professionals and helpful resources that I would not have known about any other way. And it all began by attending a local meeting and setting out a few chairs.”

You can read more about these awardees and all of the awardees, including the 2018 Volunteer Leader of the Year Kristen K. Stuppy, MD, FAAP, and the 2018 Affiliate of the Year CHADD of Greater Baltimore Affiliate, at Conference Awards.

Together we can and we will

This year’s theme—“Together We Can…Together We Will”—represents the coming together of the ADHD community to support one another, provide information on successfully living with ADHD, and to bring a positive change to our society for those affected by ADHD.

“In 1904, the world looked to St. Louis for its grand international exposition that became known as the St. Louis World’s Fair,” Ms. Ellis says. “All eyes were on the city as they showcased new knowledge, cutting-edge technologies, and innovative ideas of the time. It is our hope that in 2018, eyes around the world will once again be on St. Louis as we showcase the knowledge, cutting-edge research and innovative ideas surrounding ADHD with easy access to all.”


Learn more about the 2018 Annual International Conference on ADHD.

Join the discussion: Are you at conference? Would you like to go next year?