Effectiveness of CanLearn’s ADHD Programs

CanLearn Clinical Programs

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder. Historically, research about the disorder has focused on children and teens struggling with ADHD symptoms and the impairments these can cause in school. Unfortunately, many don’t realize that neurodevelopment is a lifelong process. Since most of our lives are spent in adulthood, the impacts of ADHD on school must be only part of our focus in treating the disorder. Given that most people with ADHD have symptoms that continue past adolescence, we have been working with the CanLearn Society over the past 18 months to evaluate their programming for adults with ADHD. To get a sense of their experiences and perceptions of the programs and determine whether they are equally effective across young, middle, and late adulthood.

Adults living with ADHD often struggle with executive skills like planning and organization, which may impact everyday functioning and cause problems with motivation, memory, or reliability. Adults with ADHD also commonly struggle with emotional regulation; for example, they can be highly sensitive to rejection or have difficulty managing their anger. Helping people improve their everyday executive skills and emotional regulation is the objective of CanLearn’s services for adults.

CanLearn’s current programs include a support group called “Let’s Talk ADHD” and a one-on-one ADHD coaching service. “Let’s Talk ADHD” is offered every few months for 90 minutes weekly over seven weeks. It employs a group cognitive behaviour therapy framework and includes mindfulness, psychoeducation, skills development, and social support components. The coaching program usually consists of eight one-hour sessions over 16 weeks. Coaching sessions introduce methods of mindfulness and self-regulation and educate clients on executive function and neuroscience basics. Both programs aim to help clients develop skills and strategies for managing challenges associated with ADHD in adulthood and incorporate modes of effective treatment that have been proven effective in large, well-designed research studies.

In our collaboration with the CanLearn Society, we have measured the impact and effectiveness of the “Let’s Talk ADHD” and coaching services. Clients who decide to participate complete confidential surveys before beginning their program, immediately post-completion, and three months after completing their program. These questionnaires ask about ADHD symptoms, executive skills, functioning in everyday life, and quality of life. We also ask participants to complete measures of program satisfaction. We have gathered data since October 2021, and 31 CanLearn clients have opted to participate in this program evaluation. We are pleased to see that the responses we have collected to date generally show that clients perceive an improvement in their ADHD symptoms after completing the CanLearn programs. They also report improved executive skills, everyday functioning, and quality of life. We will continue to gather results until March 2023 and explore more detailed questions, such as whether men and women benefit from these programs to the same extent and whether younger and older adults report similar improvements after participating.

The availability of effective treatments for adults with ADHD is essential because research studies show that appropriately managing the symptoms of ADHD – whether through medication, behavioural supports, or both – can significantly offset the difficulties incurred by ADHD and greatly improve quality of life. We are excited to collaborate with the CanLearn Society to ensure their programs meet the needs of all individuals across their diverse clientele.

Susan Flynn Lowry (BA Honours, Psychology, 2022) is supervised by Dr. Brandy Callahan and is part of the University of Calgary’s Neurocognitive Disorders Lab in the Department of Psychology. Dr. Callahan is an Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary, and her research aims to understand how individuals with ADHD experience aging. The work described here was funded by a Partnership Engage Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Farewell at the 19th Hole: Celebrating the final PGI for Literacy

The 2022 PGI season is here, and we are thrilled to be part of it! This year’s event, Farewell at the 19th Hole: Celebrating the final PGI for Literacy, will take place on Thursday, September 8th, fittingly on International Literacy Day.

Since 1986, the Peter Gzowski Invitational has helped raise more than $15 million for literacy programs across Canada. However, after nearly four decades, 2022 will be the final PGI.

Given Peter’s and PGI’s incredible contributions to supporting literacy programs in Calgary, it is only fitting that we throw an amazing going away party – and we hope you will join us!

Hosted at Trolley 5 Restaurant & Brewery, the evening will include some of the best beer Calgary has to offer, delicious appetizers, live entertainment and a chance to practice your golf swing!

As always, the event will include an exciting raffle with the chance to win amazing prizes. Check back often for prize announcements!

As the Alberta PGI partner, we remain committed to raising awareness about literacy and helping to support literacy programs throughout Calgary. 100% of the funds raised at this event stay local and support our work to make Calgary a vibrant city of lifelong learners. Shaw Birdies for Kids presented by AltaLink will be matching all our funds raised up to 50% until August 31st, so make sure to get your tickets now!


Date:   Thursday, September 8th
Time:   6:00 PM
Venue: Trolley 5 Restaurant & Brewery at 728 17th Ave SW, Calgary, AB
Tickets: $100 (includes two drinks and appetizers)
Dress Code: Golf attire or business casual


Click here to find out more and to purchase your tickets.


A big thank you to our PGI Sponsors!


Summer and Psych-ed Assessments

While June brings Alice Cooper’s song, “School’s Out” to mind, many children are looking forward to more play, fun, movement, and laughter.

June also brings with it the dreaded report card. How did your child do this year?

Is your child struggling with reading, writing or math? Maybe your child’s teacher has mentioned that they are not meeting grade-level expectations in their class. Academic difficulties can happen for many reasons and can lead to a child feeling anxious, frustrated, or different from their classmates.

The good news is that some strategies and supports can be put in place no matter your child’s age. What strategies or interventions will help your child? First, it’s important to understand what their strengths are and where they may need more support. That’s where a psychoeducational (or “psych-ed”) assessment can help to diagnose a learning disability or Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

What is a psychoeducational assessment?

A psych-ed assessment is a standardized assessment of a person’s intellectual abilities and academic skills.

Standardized means that a person’s results are compared to others their age to determine if they are below, at, or above the expected or average range. A typical psych ed assessment involves measuring how a person reasons for different information, how quickly they process information, and their reading, writing, and math skills.

A psych-ed also assesses a person’s oral language, executive functioning, social-emotional functioning, and memory abilities. Depending on the area or areas of concern, the psychologist will create a plan for the assessment. An assessment may involve testing just a few areas listed above (academics and intellect) or may involve a more comprehensive assessment (memory, executive functioning, social-emotional, intellect, and academics).

Understanding where your child’s strengths and weaknesses are will enable one of our registered psychologists to make recommendations for academic support and accommodations that will help your child to do their best in school.

Assessments are very useful for students of all ages from elementary through post-secondary.

We recognize how important these assessments are to gaining a better understanding of strengths and needs. Results can also allow access to essential strategies, accommodations, and services. Financial support may be available for those who qualify (qualifications are based on family household income over the past tax year).

Interested in getting started?

Find out more here.