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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects our lives in different ways. Symptoms are not the same for everyone and can appear differently over time.  We know that the best support often comes from those who have "been there"...those of us who live with ADHD.  Sharing, talking and networking with other ADHD adults and parents with ADHD children and teens and young adults, is a good way to learn about this "difference." More importantly, we learn that we are not alone.


Our Chapter's mission is to provide ongoing support to help us understand this "difference" which affects our lives, our children and our families. With the current concerns about mental health, in addition to the daily social demands among our youth and their families, we recognize a need to support families with hands-on strategies and practices.


The South Bay/So Cal Chapter of CHADD offers the following Support Programs for Adults, Mothers & Grandmothers, and Teens (ages 11-14) and their Parents:


1.  Our CHADD ADULT SUPPORT GROUP (AGES 18 +)  is back! We are happy to welcome back Justine Ruotolo, LMFT, as our CHADD Adult Support Group Facilitator.  Justine Ruotolo, LMFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist in California and Virginia and an Executive Function/ADHD coach.


Justine has been working in the ADHD community for over 30 years and is a graduate of the Pepperdine University clinical master's program, with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy. Justine works with children, adolescents, adults, couples, and parents. Justine facilitated our Adult Group successfully for over 13 years and we are delighted that Justine is returning as our Adult Group Facilitator.  


Our next Adult Zoom meeting will be on Saturday, January 20, 2024, from 1-2:30 pm (PST). If interested in participating, please email Justine at Justine @ and Carolyn at and we will be happy to include you and will send you the Zoom link. 



2.  Our CHADD FRIDAY NITE LIVE MEET-UP FOR TWEENS AND TEENS (Ages 11-14) AND THEIR PARENTS are in-person and monthly on a Friday night, from 6 pm - 7:30 pm. Doors open at 5:45 pm. We enjoy Pizza and a healthy treat together. Tweens/Teens begin their Meet-up and their parents move to an adjacent room for their Meet-up.


The ultimate goals of the Friday Nite Live Meet-up are to help strengthen resilience, teach self-advocacy and foster mental wellness in a confidential and safe space. It is important to learn how to better communicate within families to build trust, improve social skills and advocacy. 


Our Tween & Teen Meet-up provides opportunities to share their internal struggles and successes with others and develop positive strategies to navigate their feelings, improve social skills, and communicate effectively. 


Our Parent Meet-up provides opportunities for parents to learn and support each other and their children. Parenting is quite challenging under the best of circumstances. And when our tweens/teens struggle, parents struggle and parenting can be overwhelming and isolating.  

Introducing the CHADD Friday-Nite Live Team: 
Erin Hansen, an educator and coach, who works with parents and children on how to communicate and connect, is our Teen Group Facilitator. She has worked with over 1500 parents, taught over 2000 students and presented workshops to 450 educators. Erin's website is:
Dr. Christine Jaynes-Bell  is a Psychologist with a doctorate in Psychology and certified in Psychopharmacology. Dr. Jaynes-Bell is in private practice and specializes in working with families and has facilitated many parent and teen support groups. Dr. Jaynes-Bell brings years of experience working with families to the team. 

Carolyn Kelly is the South Bay/So Cal Chapter of CHADD coordinator. 



Dates are: 

January 26, 2024 

February 9, 2024 (TJ VanMarter, Special Guest - Psychotherapist/Board Certified Behavior Analyst) 

March 1, 2024 (Robin Kiss, Special Guest - Art Educator)

April 19, 2024 (Kathy Whelan-Gioia, MS, MEd, Educational Advocate) 

May 17, 2024 (Julie Martin, Special Guest - Performing Arts)

June 7, 2024


For information about our CHADD FRIDAY NITE LIVE MEET-UP FOR TWEENS AND TEENS (ages 11-14) AND THEIR PARENTS, contact Carolyn Kelly, Chapter Coordinator @  



3. The CHADD WOW (WISDOM OF WOMEN) GROUP FOR MOTHERS & GRANDMOTHERS  will take a summer break and will resume in September, 2023 via Zoom. Meetings are from 6:30-8:30 p.m. This is our 7th Program year.  Our 2023-24 dates, special guests and their topics are listed below:


September 16, 2023 

Special Guest:  Kathy Whelan-Gioia, MS, M.Ed, ET/P, Non-Attorney and Active Member of COPAA (Council of Attorney,Parents,Advocates)

Topic:  How to Make Every Day Count

The presentation will focus on ways to make every day count! When your child is back in school, so are you. Techniques to reduce stress at home while developing successful supports to enhance your child's performance and progress during the school year will be discussed.


October 14, 2023

Special Guest:  TJ Vanmarter, MA, BCBA, LMFT, Psychotherapist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst, who works predominantly with children and adults struggling with neurodivergence and emotional regulation.

Topic:  The ABC's of Effective, Compassionate and Empathetic Parenting


November 4, 2023

Special Guest: Kisha Williams, M.Ed (Ed Admin), M.Ed (Sp Education), B.A. (Psychology/Learning Behavior Disorders), SPED Dept Chair, Monitoring Teacher

Topic:  Behavioral Interventions for Students and Strategies to Build Positive Parent-Teacher Rapport

Kisha Williams' talk will focus on behavioral interventions for students and will also share helpful strategies to build positive parent-teacher rapport. It is "Teamwork"... an entire community...parents, teachers, etc. working together that best supports our children.  As a teacher, Kisha appreciates when a parent makes efforts to start a positive relationship rather than an adversarial relationship. Kisha's goal for students that she works with is to teach them that although they have a disABILITY, they still have the ABILITY to be GREAT!  
With a 30 year teaching career, which includes teaching Middle School and High School students, Kisha currently serves as SPED (Special Education) Dept Chair, Administrative Designee for IEP meetings, and is a collaboration teacher in math and study skills.


December 9, 2023

Special Guests: 

Donnalea Barber, Life Coach w/ADHD Specialty, M.Sc., Public Health, CPCC, PCC

Joanne Norris, Ed.D, Educator, Advisor, Speaker & Trainer, ADHD Specialist & ASC Coach

Topic:  Suicide Awareness and Suicidality Risks for Women/Girls w/ADHD


Their aim in tackling this complex topic is to enable participants to engage in a discussion about suicide and what leads up to it (self-harm, suicide ideation). There are a plethora of relatively recent research data that illustrates why Women and Girls who have ADHD are at a very high risk of self-harm, suicide ideation and suicide attempts. These findings provide compelling reasons for early identification and treatment of ADHD in Girls and Women.


Donnalea and Joanne will discuss predictors and risks, showing why self-harm must be taken seriously because of its link to suicide ideation and attempted suicidess. In this presentation, Donnalea and Joanne will identify protective factors, warning signs and other risk factors, especially in adolescents and young women. Community resources are available and we will learn how to access these resources when needed. 


Donnalea Barber is an IFC PCC-credentialed Life Coach (Coaches Training Institute) and specializes in ADHD. Her career is grounded in family, public health and health promotion. As an active coach, Donnalea brings a neuroscience-informed approach in support of her neurodivergent clients, helping them navigate their specific ADHD challenges. Donnalea is Communications Director and Co-founder of Coaching Suicide Awareness and one of two facilitators for the global "Knowing Me, Knowing You peer-to-peer ADHD Women's Support Group currently based in Belgium. 


Dr. Joanne Norris is an educator, advisor, speaker, trainer, Mental Health Advocate and Specialist. Joanne has served as Past President, Education Advisor and European Brain Ambassador at ADHD, ASC & LD Belgium ( and is an NLP Practioner and Coach. Joanne co-facilitates "Knowing Me, Knowing You: Free Online Support Group for Women who have-or suspect they may have ADHD.  Joanne continues to raise awareness about every aspect of ADHD, especially how it manifests in Girls and Women. Joanne's new project is forming ADHD International with a number of ADHD Warriors across Europe and the wider world, to focus on bringing ADHD education and awareness to less developed countries - again, Joanne's focus is on Girls and Women.


January 13, 2024

Special Guest:  Jessica Kiss, DO, Family Medicine Specialty

Topic:  The Pros and Cons of Social Media on the ADHD Brain


February 3, 2024

Special Guest:  Jessica Patay, Founder/Director of
Topic:  The
"Hidden" Needs of Siblings in ADHD Families and Other Disabilities/Differences

 "Jessica Patay's mission is to combat isolation and burnout that moms and their families face but working to create supportive, resourceful and empower communities and meaningful connections.  Jessica's vision is that every family in the "disability community is strengthened, equipped and inspired for their unique journey." 
Jessica's non-profit organization is called "We Are Brave Together" and the focus is on empowering, strengthening and educating moms in their unique, diverse and difficult journeys. 
Jessica's presentation will be on the Topic Title:  What Siblings in a Disability Family Need
Jessica Patay's Links:



Facebook Page:



March 9, 2024

Special Guest:  Johna Toomey, E.T., J.D., Founder/CEO Learn.Thrive.Grow Academic Support

Topic:  Addressing Learning Challenges in ADHD, Learning Disabled, and/or Gifted Children


April 13, 2024

Special Guest: Scott Gutentag, PhD (Licensed Educational Psychologist & Nationally Certified School Psychologist)

Topic:  A Deeper Dive Into the Core of ADHD: Executive Function 


May 4, 2024

Special Guest:  Justine Ruotolo, LMFT, Executive Function/ADHD Coach, CHADD Adult Group Facilitator

Topic:  Brain Tricks and How They Help Executive Function Deficits


June 1, 2024

Special Guest:  Jennifer Somers, PhD, NIMH-Funded Post Doctoral Research Fellow, UCLA Department of Psychology

Topic: Parent-Child Relationships - Risk and Protective Factors in the Context of ADHD


For more information about our CHADD WOW (Wisdom of Women) SUPPORT GROUP FOR MOTHERS & GRANDMOTHERS, contact Carolyn Kelly, chapter coordinator at
















We encourage you to become a CHADD member. For about $1 a week ($53 Annual Family Membership or $130 Annual Professional Membership), you would help support your local chapter and CHADD's national advocacy efforts for information, services, support and accommodations in the schools and in the workplace.

FOR INFORMATION, email Carolyn Kelly at

Do you need immediate assistance? 

As a volunteer, I may not be able to get back to you if you need immediate assistance. 

If you are seeking information for something that is time-sensitive (such as an IEP/Section 504 meeting at your child’s school), or are looking for a local  professional with AD/HD expertise, please contact CHADD’s National Resource Center on AD/HD (NRC), online at or by phone toll-free at 800-233-4050 (press option 2, Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm Eastern time). 

The NRC is staffed by trained health information professionals who can answer many of your questions about AD/HD and provide other helpful information and resources. (NOTE: the NRC does not provide legal or medical advice, but can offer ideas and suggestions to help you find what you are looking for).

CHADD does not endorse or represent products, services, publication, medications or treatments. Meetings are free and open to the public, although membership with CHADD is strongly encouraged, since your local group will receive a portion of your dues to continue supporting your community.


Contact Information


Contact: Carolyn Kelly




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Local Volunteer Opportunities



If you would like to volunteer your talents to this group, please send us an e-mail at 





Contact: Carolyn Kelly;  Email:


CHADD Local Support Groups and Affiliates Need Your Support


CHADD has local support groups in every state in the United States. Each group offers programming or information specific to their geographic area. These groups offer assistance for parents, children, young adults, adults and other stakeholders (psychologists, teachers, doctors, etc.). These groups provide advocacy, support, networking and information to those affected by AD/HD in their communities.


Ways you can support these efforts are as follows:


  • Donate to this effort

  • Contact your local CHADD group to advocate for support groups

  •  Contact your school district to host and support newly forming or current groups

  • Contact your local community foundation or other foundations in your area to support this effort


For questions on these, or any options to support CHADD please visit our web site at or contact the CHADD National office at (301) 306-7070.



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