Category Archives: More About Me

Mea Culpa

Academic success is essential, and so, despite our schools’ best efforts to share the joys of creativity and artistic pursuits, families focus on school work, especially with these students who struggle more than most, investing in tutors and spending many hours studying, trying to keep up. I made this mistake with my own daughter.

I am an artist, so drawing and painting have always provided a refuge for me. Life’s challenges are easier to bear when a pencil and scrap of paper hold the possibility of a new world, a world where I am the creator. I can escape to a place where I’m not subject to the whims of people I don’t always understand.

My daughter, Kyrie, attended a school for children with learning disabilities, and we remember her time there fondly. However, I was so focused on her success in school that we spent hours each night and on weekends doing homework, throughout her elementary years and on into high school. Before she started school, Kyrie showed early artistic talent but once she started school, there was no time to spend on such frivolity, certainly not until she mastered her “real” subjects.

If I could go back and correct my mistake, I would never have focused so much on schoolwork. I would instead insist on time to explore and create, because these skills will serve Kyrie well wherever life takes her. We think, “They can always come back to art once they’ve finished school.” But these children may not have the necessary marks to enter a post-secondary arts program, and adult classes can be intimidating for a young adult without even experience acquired on their own.

I can’t go back in time, but I can help foster creativity and imagination in future generations. I do this as a volunteer with a wonderful organization, When We Play.

When We Play

When We Play is a non-profit organization helping build stronger communities by offering accessible arts education. As a volunteer with When We Play, I help create and lead programs and workshops that nurture minds through the arts, fostering academic achievement and personal growth in youth by improving confidence, focus and social skills.

Creativity and imagination are among our greatest gifts. Though art is available in schools, our education system focuses more on performance, and hence children who struggle academically have fewer opportunities to explore their creativity.

The Benefits of Artistic Education

We know creative activities help children:

  • Learn to express their feelings and ideas as they communicate
  • Transform their experience of the world by making new connections
  • Think about and understand the world visually
  • Be more observant of the world around them
  • Develop problem-solving skills
  • Discover that through concentration and persistence they can improve
  • Experience a sense of achievement in learning a skill
  • Develop their concentration, patience, motor skill and hand-eye coordination
  • Improve their social skills
  • Relax and have fun!

In school, art can become one more challenge, one more potential failure, but when children explore creativity outside of school, the arts can provide one of the few places these children will experience success.


I have been involved in the ADHD community for more than 15 years. I am a founding member of the Montreal Adult ADD Support Group, a group in continuous operation since 1998, and I joined ADDA’s Communication team in 2005, volunteering as a writer, and later taking on the role of eNews editor. In 2011, I joined the ADDA Board of Directors as the ADDA Communication Committee Chair.

It’s a challenge for anyone to find their “voice,” and ADHD can make the obstacle seem insurmountable. My own experience, and the struggles of many of my fellow adults with ADHD, convinced me we all have a story to tell, a contribution to make, and the world would be a much better place if we all had the opportunity to express our unique gift.

Me and ADHD

I was 33 years old and about to lose yet another job. My marriage was on the rocks and I was a lousy husband and father. It was only when I was diagnosed with ADHD that I was able to get help in the form of special training and working with an ADHD coach that I was able to create a more productive, happier, successful life for my family and for myself.

I was always passionate about art, and right after high school, I was awarded a scholarship to the prestigious Banff School of Fine arts in Alberta, Canada, but my father felt I’d be wasting my life pursuing art. He said, “You’re going to military college, you’ll get a university degree and a real career, and when you’ve done that, if you still want to paint, then you can pursue art.”

The problem with that approach, as many adults discover, is that, whether you struggled with ADHD as a child or not, the older you get, the more difficult it becomes to hold it all together. Life keeps getting more complicated. In high school, teachers tell you what to do, your parents tell you what to do, but once you are on your own, it all falls apart. At least it definitely did for me.

Many adults with ADHD are also artists of one kind or another, and it’s no surprise studies show people with ADHD tend to be more creative than most people. However, creating a successful life as an artist demands that you work with your imagination and creativity, yes, but it also demands an underlying structure that enables you to deliver on the creative ideas generated by your imagination. As an entrepreneur, your structure could be business, as an employee, your structure could be the corporate world.
After I graduated from military college, and shortly thereafter, left the military altogether, I found couldn’t hold a job for long. I will say one thing for the military… when you have ADHD, that much structure in your life can be a big help.

We finally figured out I had ADHD when my then six-year-old daughter was diagnosed. Linda, my wife, and I, were reading “Driven to Distraction,” by Dr. Ned Hallowell to understand what our daughter was facing when we both immediately recognized my symptoms.
I learned that I had to develop my own structure to manage my life. It didn’t happen overnight, but I created systems to manage my finances, to get organized to handle my responsibilities at home and to manage my time so I could get my work done at my job and still have time and energy to enjoy life at home. My relationship with my wife soon flourished, as I was able to become a responsible, reliable partner instead of one extra kid my wife had to care for.

Once I began to master my ADHD, developing the skills necessary to get work done at work, to have time for my family obligations and to have energy left over at the end of the day, it was my wife who surprised me with a drawing class as a Christmas present.
I went to the drawing class and never looked back. I’ve had numerous exhibitions and shows over the last few years. I’m never at a loss for ideas. For me the ideas have always come so fast, I’m overwhelmed by them. That’s probably my ADHD creating my mental hyperactivity. I’ll never live long enough to draw and paint all the ideas I’ve already had.

I work with two organizations who help adults with ADHD achieve their full self-expression.

Learn more about When We Play
Learn more about ADDA