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How could I make gift suggestions for bipolars without also coming up with ideas for the terminally distracted? My list is for grown-ups, because I suspect most hyper kids would be happy enough with a magnifying glass, string, popsicle sticks, and a younger sibling to torture.

Of course, Rock Star parking is also a welcome gift. Especially with rainbows.

Of course, Rock Star parking is also a welcome gift regardless of the recipient’s diagnoses or lack thereof.

Without further ado, here are my ideas for gifts to give your (adult) ADD/ADHD friends and family members! I’m assuming, of course, that you want to give a thoughtful gift that will both show your support and cleverness.

What to Give Your – Hey, is that an albatross? Let’s go get some bubble tea and cookies! Before I forget, the insurance paperwork is overdue. Oh man, I keep forgetting to buy holiday gifts… – ADHD Friends, Lovers, and Others

  1. Help organizing things: Anything that needs organizing, but one thing at a time – that’s the hard part! Make a promise to help with one sizable project (e.g. The Overflowing Container Cupboard of Doom), or give a little packet of corny homemade coupons that can be redeemed for small doses of picker-upper help. Or help establish consistent places to keep things, like keys, grocery lists, utensils of all kinds, medications, etc., and install the necessary hooks, clips, and containers to make it easy.
  2. Planning tools and/or software: I’m a big fan of OmniFocus, but even seemingly little things can help. For example, I made a blank weekly meal menu template, which makes a big difference in how smoothly the day (and week) goes. Setting up tools like mobile apps and desktop calendar settings to include alerts that mean, “it’s time to put your shoes on” are invaluable.
  3. A smartphone: I couldn’t live without mine; it’s essential to keeping me organized, more or less on time, and less likely to lose stuff.
  4. A back door whiteboard: Use permanent marker to make a checklist for leaving the house: Did you take your meds? Shoes on? Fly zipped? Shirt right side out? Skirt tucked into panties? Got your keys, wallet, sunglasses, laptop power source, medication? Leave space for random notes with regular whiteboard markers, i.e., the growing list of things they left half-finished…
  5. A gift basket of random unrelated little things you think they’ll like: a Banana Guard, matchbox cars, fancy preserves, super-sticky sticky notes – you get the idea. They probably won’t catch on to why that’s funny, but they’ll still get a kick out of it.
  6. Gift certificates for a few sessions with an ADHD coach. If you can find one, that is. A good substitute, but only appropriate coming from close friends and family, would be spending some quality time working together to set up routines that can help address the person’s most irritating distressing cognitive challenges. For example, a precise routine for getting ready in the morning – as in, what order to use what body products, hung up somewhere visible as a checklist until it’s learned by rote – can really help reduce the impact of a whole set of interrelated symptoms. In lieu of that, I’d take gift certificates for massage.
  7. T’ai Chi, yoga, bellydance, or skateboarding lessons: Attention is controlled by the same parts of the brain that control balance, among other things, and those parts of the brain tend to be undersized in people with ADHD. However, by training the brain, you can stimulate neural development. Doing exercises and activities that develop physical balance is a triple win, as exercise and practicing focus are also beneficial.
  8. Drumsticks: they’re always tapping their fingers or feet as it is; might as well see if that can translate into a lucrative musical career, right?
  9. Super-sticky sticky notes: they stick on dusty car dashboards, lunchboxes, mirrors, you name it. And they actually stay, while remaining completely removable! With these sticky notes, those essential notes-to-self won’t fall down and get lost in the cat hair, they’ll just get ignored or forgotten.
  10. I know there was a 10th thing, but I can’t quite remember it right now. I’m sure if I just go back upstairs to the other computer, I can figure it out, and I will certainly remember to update this with that thing I forgot once I remember what it was…

Disclaimer: if you can’t figure out what advice is a joke and what’s serious, buy some chocolates or underwear for your loved one and be done with it – I won’t be held accountable for any damage you do! Exercise good sense and pick gifts that are suitable given your relationship; bosses probably shouldn’t give bellydance lessons to their supervisees unless they run a Persian dance club, and even sticky notes might be pushing it. Good productivity management software, however, and instruction/co-learning in how to use it, would be totally appropriate (especially if they’re not singled out as needing “special help,” mmmkay?)

Oh yeah, that 10th thing… A numeric keypad home entry system, because I can’t lose a numeric code the way I lose house keys.