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International Conference on ADHD 2023

Updated: Dec 28, 2023

ADHD Conference 2023 ADHD Nerd Dad standing in front of the sign.

So, I just got back from the International ADHD Conference 2023, which was held in Baltimore, MD this year. If I had to describe it in just a few words, it would be "life changing". I went into this conference hoping and praying that it would be the event I needed to really turn 2023 around for me. So far this year has been one of the most difficult of my life both personally and professionally. I will save the details for another article, but suffice it to say the conference did not disappoint. When I arrived at the conference I was full of self-doubt, impostor syndrome, and uncertainty about where my life was going to take me. But, between the seminars, professional panels, peer support groups, and, last but not at all least, newly found friends, I was able to unmask and rediscover a part of myself I had begun to think had long since faded into nothingness.

ADHD Conference 2023 Day 0:

ADHD Conference 2023

I flew into Baltimore from Seattle on Wednesday, the day before the conference. That day started out in true ADHD fashion with my brother, who also has ADHD, driving me to the airport. And, because we both have ADHD, I don't think either of us really anticipated the traffic that was going to be happening during that time of the morning. My time blindness started causing me some pretty massive anxiety as we kept getting stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic that was barely moving and I kept thinking about how they say to get to the airport at least an hour before your flight leaves. Thankfully I was at least able to check in via my mobile app on my phone which allowed me to skip the check in step at the airport. Once we got to the airport I grabbed my bags and rushed to the TSA line so I could start getting myself ready to go through that process. Of course, I failed to read the regulations on how large your bottles of soap and/or hair products could be and so both my body wash and my hair gel had to be confiscated, which I was really sad about because I really liked that hair gel. Once I got through TSA I took a gamble and ordered Starbucks, of course not anticipating that it would take so much longer because online orders were being made at the same time. I was able to get my coffee though and get to my gate just as they announced it was time to board the flight.

Braden 1 | ADHD 0

View from a plan of Cascade Mountains and thick layer of clouds with 2 mountain peaks in the distance protruding through the cloud layer.
View from the plane of Mount Rainier and Mount Adams

The flight to Baltimore was relatively uneventful. I literally had the entire row to myself and so I just focused on looking at maps and trying to figure out what my gameplan was once I landed in Baltimore. Which, of course would later be completely tossed aside as that is how ADHD brains do. Including forgetting to actually download the Uber app onto my phone so that I could summon them as soon as I landed.

Braden 1 | ADHD 1

View from plane of the city of Baltimore, MD just after sunset.
View from the plane of Baltimore, MD

I had admittedly never been to the East Coast of the US in my life and so seeing the sheer size of the cities and how close in proximity they are to each other left me awe struck. It helped that it was clear skies and just after sunset as the plane arrived in Baltimore.

Once I got off the plane, I realized I had never used an Uber before. So, I had no clue how it worked. It didn't help that the app immediately glitched on me and wouldn't send me my confirmation code until after I restarted my phone. I spent so much time trying to figure out how to use the app to summon the magical Uber Steed that by the time I finally did I missed my 7pm deadline to be able to register for the conference and pick up my badge early. Once the Uber arived to pick me up, I was so excited that I finally got it to work that I imagined that the driver was ready to get me out of his car as soon as possible. Although, I will say that he was super friendly and very informative about what areas were safe and what areas were not. When I arrived at the destination, however, I immediately noticed that it was not across the street from the Hilton as I had seen on the map when I looked. So, I went inside and tried to check in, already knowing full well what the response was going to be. "I'm sorry sir, I'm not finding your reservation. Are you sure this is the right Marriot?" No, no I wasn't. I looked at my phone and realized that when I had clicked the reservation it had simply pulled up the closest Marriot to my location and not the one I wanted to go to. Braden 1 | ADHD 2

So, since apparently, I needed to get some extra Uber experience on my first day, I used it for the second time, this time without any issues, and once again summoned my magic steed to take me about 30 blocks to the correct hotel.

Once I checked in and got settled, I decided to go down to the lobby and grab a bit to eat at the bar. I ordered some chicken wings and as I sat pondering my existence and wishing I would have ordered a glass of milk with the wings as I'm pretty sure they were made from pure essence of ghost peppers, I looked over to see none other than Caroline Maguire, author of the book "Why Will No One Play with Me?" sitting at a table with some friends. As they got up to leave, I managed to work up the guts to tap her on the shoulder and tell her that I loved her book, despite my ADHD brain going over every possible scenario of how she would hate that some strange man was being weird and talking to her. I later found out when talking to her that this made her night, so I did something right.

Braden 2 | ADHD 2

ADHD Conference 2023 Day 1:

Picture of a man in a turquoise shirt holding up an ADHD 2023 Name badge
Registration complete. I'm officially official.

The excitement and anticipation of the conference kept me up most of the night, but I didn't care. I woke up an hour early still, got ready and headed over to the conference in time to register and get breakfast. Braden 1 | ADHD 0 The conference room that they were using to host the breakfast was already completely filled up so I begrudgingly ended up finding an empty table out in the hallway. This, as it turned out, worked out for the best as I ended up having a few people come to sit at the table with me providing me my first oportunity to really push myself to get outside of my comfort zone and begin networking with other people and gaining some new friends and real world connections.

One of these people was my new friend Chris O'Hagan, founder of, an app that aims to revolutionize the management of ADHD in adults, harnessing the power of cutting-edge AI technology and user-specific friendly interfaces.

picture of a bearded man dressed in a dark dress shirt and a blue blazer.
Chris O'Hagan, Founder of is not just a tool; it's a companion in your cognitive journey, designed by a team with first-hand neurodivergent experience. It offers tailored support for ADHD, blending advanced AI with an understanding of your unique challenges to enhance your daily life. With Neurospice, managing ADHD becomes a transformative experience, reshaping how you interact with the world.

After breakfast I jumped right into my first session which was Social Media for ADHD Coaches. I really enjoyed this as I learned a lot about the different perspectives taken by various ADHD coaches on social media. It was really interesting to see how some really relied on the social media platforms to get their name out there as an ADHD coach, while others only really started using it when they absolutely had to. I really found each of their views invaluable though because all of them had some very insightful wisdom to share that only comes with experience.

Social Media for ADHD Coaches panelists: Meredith Carter, Ingershay Colzie, Frankie Berkobe, Dusty Chipura, and Ron Capalbo
Social Media for ADHD Coaches panelists: Meredith Carter, Ingershay Colzie, Frankie Berkobe, Dusty Chipura, and Ron Capalbo

I also, in true ADHD fashion realize that I was so focussed on trying to get the information from slides that I never actually took a picture of the actual panelists. Braden 1 | ADHD 1

I did manage to go introduce myself in person to Mark and Dave from the Men's ADHD Support Group, as well as Brendan Mahan, an ADHD coach and the host of the podcast ADHD Essentials, who were both attending this panel as well. Up to that point, I had only seen them on camera which apparently I look different on because none of them recognized me until I actually told them who I was. Although, I have always been told I have one of those faces that looks like other people.

After this panel I started trying to make my way to the second seminar, but got side tracked on the way by the Men's ADHD Support Group table where people were able to stop and ask questions. It made me truly happy to see that a group that I have put my support into and really believed in was being represented to well at this conference. Due to me stopping, I ended up not getting to the seminars I wanted to attend as they both filled up and couldn't allow anyone else in the room.

ADHD Conference 2023
Men's ADHD Support Group Team

I wasn't even remotely upset though because it gave me more oportunity to really connect with the people in the group and start to feel like I was part of something bigger. This was when I began to realize that, sometimes it's the ADHD side quests that really make the most impact in our lives. So I decided that from that moment forward, at this conference, I was not going to worry about taking those side quests. Because this is where connections are built and friendships are formed. It was up until this point that I had been fighting my ADHD, but now I realized, that for the first time in a very long time, I just needed to fully embrace it and let myself unmask and just be me. So I dropped the scorecard.

Eventually I ended up walking around and trying to figure out which event I wanted to attend next. I met up with Shane and Adam from the group and we decided to go to the research roundtable discussion. As we walked in and looked around we quickly realized that we were the only 3 in the room that didn't have PHD's. I can't speak for the other two that came to the session with me, but I imediately got very nervous. But my nerves were quickly settled when I realized that, despite the fact that we didn't hold medical degrees, everybody in the room was listening to us. We were just three guys with nothing more than our ADHD experience, our intelligence, and thirst for knowledge and yet, all of the doctors and scientists were listening to what we had to say. I can honestly say that this was one of the most validating experiences of my life. Realizing that all the knowledge that I had spent years researching was actually paying off in that I was able to carry on a full conversation about the future of ADHD research with the doctors and scientists who were actually doing the cutting edge work. And not only that, but the advice that we were offering to help with the research was actually being taken seriously. After the discussion concluded, we all walked out of that room I think a bit amazed and feeling a bit taller and more confident. The remainder of the conference that day went by fairly uneventful. I went to a few more seminars on subjects such as burnout and empathy fatigue which I will write about in another article. At the end of the first day I met with Shane again and we went to save a spot for the rest of the group at the key note about the power and peril of online ADHD information presented by Dr Tracey Marks.

ADHD Conference 2023

ADHD Conference 2023

I posted a few important slides as I think it's important to know when online information might not be accurate as well as good resources to find actual credible information on ADHD.

ADHD Conference 2023
This many people with ADHD in an elevator has to be a safety violation of some sort.

After the key note, we gathered to get ready to go up to Brendan Mahan's room so he could do his ADHD Con Day 1 Rough Cut podcast episode with us which can be listened to here:

This was also an amazing experience for me as I got to meet some amazing women as well such as Ingershay Colzie, Teresa Taylor, and Dr. Carolyn Lentzsch-Parcells.

After an evening of eating pizza, laughing, learning, and maybe even a few tears, I missed my son and had to head home to give him a call. It was only the first day of the conference and I knew that I was never going to be the same again. I can't state enough how thankful I am for the ADHD community and how well we come together.

I'm going to end this article here as, much like the conference was, there's a lot of information. And since most of the people reading this probably have ADHD I want to try and respect our attention spans as best I can. You can read about day 2 of the conference by clicking here.

Thank you again to everybody who helped me raise the funding to make it to this event. It has truly been a life changer for me.

If you find this article interesting and want to learn more or have a comment, feel free to leave a comment below. Or better yet, come talk to us about it on ourDiscord server! We have a lot of great people who love to talk about ADHD, neurodivergence, nerdy stuff, and all the other things. We've also got a lot of links to resources for further reading and personal growth.

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10. Dez. 2023

Sounds like my son has come back into himself and I am so happy for that. I love you Braden.

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