(25 mins) In this episode, Dr. Hackie Reitman speaks with Lynn Miner-Rosen, M.Ed., BCC, CDCS. Lynn is a Board Certified ADHD Coach and Career Coach for College Students and Young Adults. She also has personal experience with learning disabilities as a person with ADHD, and a parent. Lynn discusses how she thinks people with ADHD and other neurodiverse conditions can best transition into careers, and the things parents and society can do to best support those individuals.
For more about Lynn, visit: www.coachlynnmr.com
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Dr. Hackie Reitman: Hi, I am Dr. Hackie Reitman, welcome to another episode of Exploring Different Brains. Today, we are having so much fun because I’m getting to really talk to my new friend, Lynn Miner-Rosen, who’s a life coach, an ADHD Coach, she is always networking a million people, she’s helping people get ready for careers, for transitions for college, and she’s going to introduce herself right away. Lynn, welcome to Different Brains.
Lynn Miner Rosen: Thank you very much!
HR: Tell our audience who you are, and what you’re doing.
LMR: Well, I’m Lynn Miner Rosen. I’m a board-certified ADHD coach, which is a life coach that specializes in ADHD. I work mostly with college students and young adults all throughout the country, nationwide. And I also am a career coach. So I’m doing a lot of career coaching. So that’s a new thing.
HR: Let me start at the beginning. How did you get into all of this?
LMR: Well that’s a great question. I do have a younger son, I have two sons. And my youngest was born with challenges during delivery. And so I got a lot of experience with IEP meetings and services, he had speech, OTP, all kids of services at home. And it was a really interesting time for me. I really had no idea what I was going to get into. And my background is actually in the fashion industry and business. But when he was old enough to get into school, and be successful on his own in school, then I decided I’m going to go back for a career, and I didn’t know what I was going to do. And the principal of the school, ho sat in on every IEP meeting said, “Lynn, go in. Go get a degree in teaching.” And it never even occurred to me, but I did. I went back to school. I was in my forties. And I went back to school to Adelphi University and I got two Masters. One in Elementary Ed and one in Special Ed. And then became a Special Ed teacher.
HR: And Adelphi is the home of Dr. Stephen Shore. And then they have that Bridges program.
LMR: Yeah, they have amazing programs there. It’s wonderful.
HR: Tell us about your time as a Special Ed teacher. And one of the things I want to get into with you is some of our interns, and even old farts like myself, have expressed an interest in what are the different certifications if say, I want to be like Lynn Miner-Rosen, and I want to be a life coach and I want to be an ADHD coach and I wanna be whatever I can be in the shortest possible period of time. Can you tell us about these different certifications that one might do?
LMR: Sure, now my background, my teaching certifications are different than my coaching certifications. And I was a special education teacher in a middle school in New York City schools for twelve years. An IP coordinator. So I did a lot of work there. So when I decided to go into coaching, I started while I was teaching. I was doing it at nights and weekends. And there are a lot of courses that you can take. You can take courses in person or online for life coaching. So you need a life coaching certificate, and then after that if you want to be specialized in any area, there’s so many different areas of coaching, then you might need additional courses for that.
HR: So what did you find that you as a teacher had in common with those with ADHD? Which you gravitated toward.
LMR: Yeah, I really felt like I had a connection with them. I don’t know if it was because of my son or maybe because I had ADHD as a girl and i was sort of realizing what those challenges were in school. But I really related to the kids because i could see that there are invisible challenges were not understood by many, many educators, many teachers. And they didn’t belong in a self-contained classroom. They were fine in a regular classroom. They were extremely bright and creative and had so many things going for them but they were labeled a certain way or the teachers didn’t know how to help them in class. And it was very frustrating to see it. To see these great, bright kids not getting the help they needed.
HR: And we were talking earlier–thank you for the compliments on our interview in the airport with Temple Grandin. It was so much fun. And being on the speaking tour a lot, I’m so lucky I get to hang out with the likes of Temple Grandin and Stephen Shore and everything. And she was, in her talks–she talks about her comorbidities for lack of a better term with the Asperger’s, autism, and the ADHD. And she’s a big proponent of medications and small amounts. And how the medications helped her as well as her high school teacher who just really made such a difference. All you teachers out there, keep up the good work because there’s nobody like you. And we find on Different Brains in our social media and everything else that medications are just such a hot button thing. And one of the things I want to do is to get everybody to get along. So I wanted to get your take on the place of medications with ADHD.
LMR: Well that’s a lot why I went in to be a coach. Because i really felt somebody has to share the information, because there’s so much misinformation, there’s so much stigma out there about medicines and medication, and what they think ADHD is. And it’s not just in the schools. Its employers are thinking that. And people who hire people have ideas about what medicine is, what it isn’t. In my opinion, I think the first thing that everybody should do is try whatever it is that they can do on their own, whether it’s sleep, or diet, or exercise. I mean there’s so many other natural things, even just cutting out gluten some people say can help. And I believe you should try that first. That should be the first line. Or even behavioral therapy or cognitive therapy or coaching, or working with a therapist. And then if that doesn’t–
HR: Let me interrupt you to just say this. In the first part, you were saying about all the routine things you can do in your life, and that’s what we put in the Aspertools book. None of that stuff costs anything. To get a checklist, to get a good exercise, get a good diet, get all those things going. And I’m a big proponent of that too. And I think, that does not get emphasized enough and it’s one of the reasons for Different Brains. Because all of those same things are not just good for ADHD or autism. They’re good for Alzheimer’s. They’re good for strokes. They’re good for anxiety, depression. Now go from there. So now you’ve done everything you can do on your own, and now you’ve even gone to cognitive training and you’ve gone with a therapist. And now you still need some help and now you’re going to go see the–I guess a psychiatrist, is that the one who’s going to–
LMR: Psychiatrist or a neuropsychologist or a developmental pediatrician. What I have seen in my experience, 15 years, teacher, and coach, is that if the symptoms of whatever it is, is your challenge is getting in the way of your life severely, then medicine can really make a big difference. A positive difference. When I talk about the stigmas, I thin people think that medicine is going to turn into something else. Or in the long run it’s going to be terrible later on or it’s going to have terrible side effects. But part of the work I’m doing in partnering with other psychiatrists and psychologists is learning that these medicines are really good. And they’re coming up with new ones everyday that are really quite exceptional and have little side effects. And most of my clients are on medication. We talk about “how do you feel during the day?” “How do you feel in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening?” And “how do you monitor it? And “if you’re not feeling good on that medicine, to tell the doctor.”
HR: What’s the biggest single piece of advice you can give somebody with ADHD or someone whose parent or friend of someone with ADHD, which of course is one of these broad terms that’s “if you’ve met one person with ADHD, you’ve met one person with ADHD.” But what can you tell them here?
LMR: I think the biggest preparence, I think the biggest thing is to realize that ADHD is not their fault. They’re not lazy, it’s not their fault. They’re not stupid, they’re wonderful, incredible people that need a boost in self-confidence. And they need encouragement, and they need positivity. Their whole life they’re getting “hurry up, stop doing that, do something else, what’s wrong with you, you can do this,” and they’re not given enough positive reinforcement.
HR: And that goes right along with Stephen Shore’s mantra of “let’s focus on the positives. “One of my corollaries to that has been our system does not allow for exposure to different things. And I think that is one big way you find out “I don’t like this. This is something I’ve never tried that I really like.” Some people like me who are just blessed. I was writing away to the AMA from my parents’ gas station. I was 12 years old. Because we had a wonderful family doctor. And I said “If I can make people feel good like that I want to be an MD.” Which I did. And everything else was easy. Because I knew that’s what I wanted to do. But so many of us don’t get the exposure to different things. And even at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County, at the Hackie Reitman unit, I have this thing called Hack’s Pack. Which I’d like you to come down and talk. And what I do is i just bring friends by, all different walks of life, informally at about 4:30 in the afternoon before we feed all the youngsters. We just have them tell them what you do for a living and all the different jobs and how you get there in different coaching and things. And there will always be a couple who would never had been exposed to it, who decide to go into it.
LMR: Yeah, I have that happen all the time now that I’m doing career coaching. A lot of these students go to college, which is so amazing that they’re in college and succeeding in college, and they get a great degree and they pick a masters, but they don’t really know what they want to do when they graduate. And what their desires are and a lot of if is because they’re not exposed to it. So that’s a lot of work I do with them.
HR: Now have you written any books?
LMR: I have not. You want me to write a book? Well I’m actually writing an online program which is an online course that people can take on their own time to help them get through the job search process.
HR: Tell us about your non-for-profit APN.
LMR: Well I started that when I moved to Florida because I retired from teaching, moved to Florida, and started my practice. And I didn’t know anybody. So I started a non-profit. And it’s for professionals that have clients or patients with ADHD, or Asperger’s, or ASD, learning disabilities, dyslexia, executive functioning. So it’s just professionals. And we get together once a month. So it’s doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, educators, teachers. And we get together once a month and we have one presenter, each month, that’s a professional. Last month we had psychiatrists come and talk about the newest medications, and we all share. Because as we know, it’s the community that help these people. It takes a lot of people. Not just one doctor. It takes a lot of people.
HR: Is there anything you would like to discuss that we’ve overlooked?
LMR: I think I’d like to talk more in the future with you about careers.
HR: We’re going to talk now, Lynn Miner-Rosen, about careers. Now we’ve heard her speak about ADHD, and a lot of the coaching she does, an her Special Ed background and everything. And now what we’re going to do is we’re going to shift gears because, as our mutual friend Temple Grandin says, we gotta get a job. You’ve got to get a job. With that, I turn it over to you.
LMR: Well Temple absolutely hit it on the head. As far as parents need to help their kids get experience and get jobs and have responsibilities, and she’s right on with that. And what I’m seeing is there’s a lot of these kids that have these neurodiversities and invisible challenges are not preparing while they’re in college. But it’s not really anybody’s fault, I mean it’s so wonderful they’re going to college. That’s a relatively new thing. And now they’re in college and successful but they need to do things while they’re in college. So what I’ve seen is that college students–and it’s great that they’re in college. That’s a really wonderful thing. And I think that a lot of parents are really happy they’re just in school. And just let them be and they don’t have to get a job just as long as they pass their classes. But I think there’s a few other little things they can do while they’re in college so they’re more competitive when they get out. And it’s not just about academics. Because a lot of these companies–businesses that are hiring–are looking for things like social skills and transferrable skills, being more important than academics. So practicing eye-to-eye contact, practicing standing up in front of a crowd, or doing public speaking, teamwork, how to work together, how to get along with other people. And the way you’re going to learn that is–there’s many ways–volunteering is great. Or getting a job. Any job. Doesn’t matter what field, a job. And experience. Joining clubs and organizations. And it’s not about what club, it can be the chess club. And it’s not even about pumping up your resume, it’s really about learning those skills, about getting along with other people. Because employers know if you belong to all those clubs, or whether it’s the newspaper club or a public office in school. They know you’re learning those skills that are really important for on the job. Getting along with teachers. Having some kind of conversation with teachers. So what do you see as a parent and as somebody in the industry and doing a lot of public speaking as the biggest challenge for these young adults that are going into college and graduating college and looking for a job?
HR: Well I think in my view, one of the most worrying statistics to me goes back to what you and Temple Grandin feel so strongly about. Getting that high school job, getting into the work force. Like when I was in medical school, Boston University, I was hustling six jobs. I was a bouncer at a bar, I was reading to a blind lawyer, I was drawing blood at 4:30 in the morning to get free meals at the hospital, it was great. And it was a good time too. But I think on of the statistic I heard recently was that the percentage of teens in the workforce which used to be in the 30s is now down in the teens. And the other statistic that really bothers me, I don’t remember the exact numbers but it’s something like 36% of people under 40 are living with their parents. And this is not a trend. I think that giving the tools to independence and employment is one of the best gifts we can give our kids. And we want to give them roots and wins as the old saying goes. And I think as parents–I’m generalizing of course–I have not stressed that early enough. I think that’s a very important thing. And that I think is the big key because I think that this whole new world that all these millennials, that we all find ourselves in is just so totally different. When I was growing up, you play stickball for a couple hours with the guys I’m still best friends with, nobody bothered you or nothing. Now you fast-forward to now. It’s like you don’t get a spare minute to even think. And whereas the printing press took a couple of hundred years to change things around, Facebook changed in about eight months. And going on, and on, and on. I think personally, that if I’m a teen now, I’m in middle school or high school and my brain does not rewire itself, evolutionarily, I will not survive as a teen unless I develop some ADHD. Unless I can simultaneously listen to my mother, watch a video, text my friend, and be playing a videogame at the same time. I’m a social outcast. I’ll get left behind. And there’s not a lot of reward now for focus, for sitting down and reading a book for three hours. And there’s certainly not a lot of impetus now a days to go to work. And get a job.
LMR: Yeah, and I also think that there’s a lot of misconceptions about “Oh, it’ll be easy to get a job. I’ll just go online and apply. And I’ll just plug in my resume and “poof, I’ll get lots of people to call me.” And I only say this with the work that I do, is that people spend more time looking for cars. And figuring out the legroom and the headroom and the color, or a vacation, you know. What hotel, how long are we going to go there, what’s the temperature? They spend more time on cars and vacations than on choosing a career. And it’s about choosing your passion. And it’s they’re not figuring that out.
HR: Well you just hit the key thing. Because they’re not getting the exposure. Nobody’s talking to them about it. And it amazes me that these clueless parents like me whose maybe now a little less clueless. But what’s amazing to me when I meet families and I meet a lot of them when they come in, and I say “what is your child–who might be 35 years old–interested in?” “Oh, I don’t know?” Well then I meet the individual, and say “what are you interested in?” and they’re glad to tell you. They’re glad to tell you what they’re interested in. But many times, they don’t have an interest and those are the ones that get exposure. Or the reverse is also true. I like telling the story out of our Boys and Girls Club of Broward County. We serve about 12,000 kids. Our outstanding youth of the year many years ago was Selena Constantine. She was wonderful She happened to be from the Hackie Reitman unit. And she was going to go to FSU, she had a scholarship. And she was going to fulfill her lifelong dream, she always wanted to be a neurosurgeon. So I said “Have you shadowed a surgeon?” She said no. I said “I’ll arrange for you to shadow one.” She said “Why don’t I shadow you?” I said “Well I’m just an orthopedic surgeon.” But she goes “Well I might be interested in orthopedic surgery.” So she shadowed me for two weeks. And when she accepted a scholarship, she told the board that “I wanted to be a surgeon my whole life and I’m going to FSU. And I especially want to thank Dr. Reitman because I shadowed him for two weeks and I’m proud to say I will be majoring in criminology.” She did not want to do it, but how’s she supposed to know?
LMR: Well that’s the work that I do with my clients. While they’re in college, I recommend they join clubs and organizations and get work experience so they get what they like and don’t like. That’s really important. And get exposure. The work I do is also figuring out what are your interests, what are your goals, what are your passions, what are your skills, what skills do you want to learn? I had one client who went to college and he had very significant ADHD and a stutter, and anxiety, and really struggled. But he went to school and he was so successful in the band. And his parents were just so happy he graduated. They were just happy he was there. He never had a job, he never went to a career office, he never thought about careers until he graduated. And then a year went by working, and then another year went by, and he really thought he was going to be destined to be in the music industry forever. And we started doing some work and he realized when he did some informational interviews, and I helped him with what questions to ask, how to get there, who to call. He did some information interviews and job shadowed a physical therapist and an occupational therapist. And decided that’s what he wanted to do. And all his whole time in college thought he was going to be in music forever. And it wasn’t his passion.
HR: Now Lynn, you’re affiliated with a lot of organizations. Now for the benefit of the Different Brains audience, would you mind going through some of these, like–I’m just going to read this whole list real quick. Which isn’t even your whole list, it’s just some of them. The National Resource on ADHD-CHADD, The International Coach Federation, The ADHD Coaches Organization, The Edge Foundation, The Learning Disabilities Association of America, the Association of Higher Education and Disability, and the ADHD Professionals Network. Can you give us a brief thumbnail of some of the organizations?
LMR: Yes, as a matter of fact, the Learning Disabilities Association, their annual conference is in February in Atlanta. And I’ll be speaking there about kids in college and the things they should do in college to get a better career. For children and adults or young adults with learning differences. That’s a great organization, I also belong to the National Career Development Association, and that’s been really interesting. I went to their conference. There’s not a lot of work done in that field in special needs. Or people with disabilities. So I’m hoping to make a difference there. And then every year I speak at the ADHD Coaches Organization also.
HR: Why don’t you tell everybody how they can get ahold of you?
LMR: Okay, so I’m all over social media. That’s how you and I know each other. But also through networking in the Florida area. But I’m on email@example.com is my email. My website is called coachlynnmr.com. And I’m on twitter and instagram @adhdcoachlynn. I also have a non-profit that’s apnflorida.org.
HR: Lynn Miner-Rosen, thank you so much for coming by here at Different Brains, it’s an honor and a pleasure to be with you here.
HR: Keep up the great work.
LMR: Thank you.
Different Brains® Inc. founder Harold “Hackie” Reitman, M.D. is an author, filmmaker, retired orthopedic surgeon, former professional heavyweight boxer, the past chairman and president (and current board member) of The Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County, and a neurodiversity advocate. However, it was his role as a father that led to the creation of the DifferentBrains.org website.
Hackie’s daughter Rebecca grew up with epilepsy, 23 vascular brains tumors, and underwent 2 brain surgeries before the age of 5. Her struggles and recovery put him on the road to, through 26 professional heavyweight boxing matches, raising money for children’s charities (to which he donated every fight purse).
Rebecca eventually went on to graduate from Georgia Tech with a degree in Discrete Mathematics, and Dr. Reitman wrote and produced a film based on her experiences there (The Square Root of 2, starring Darby Stanchfield of ABC’s Scandal). After graduation, Rebecca received a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome. Hackie, shocked at his own ignorance of the topic despite being an M.D., embarked on years of research that culminated with his book Aspertools: The Practical Guide for Understanding and Embracing Asperger’s, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Neurodiversity (released by HCI books, publishers of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series).
This experience revealed to Hackie the interconnectedness of the conditions that fall under the neurodiversity umbrella, while alerting him to the in-fighting and fractured relations that often plague the organizations tasked with serving the community. Convinced that overcoming these schisms could help all of society, Hackie forged the Different Brains philosophy of inclusive advocacy: “Supporting Neurodiversity – From Autism to Alzheimer’s and All Brains In Between”.
In the company’s initial years of operation, Hackie self-financed all of the content on DifferentBrains.org, all of which offered free to view to the public. Currently he is the host of our weekly interview show Exploring Different Brains, writes blogs for the site, and tours the country speaking at conferences, conventions and private functions, all with the goal of improving the lives of neurodiverse individuals and their families, and maximizing the potential of those with different brains. Separate from Different Brains, Hackie is the founder and CEO of PCE Media, a media production company focusing on reality based content. He recently co-executive produced the documentary “Foreman”, the definitive feature documentary on legendary boxer and pitchman George Foreman.