Photo caption: Jessica McCabe’s work and interviews have frequently been featured by ADDitude Magazine, Today.com, Upworthy and more.
Jessica McCabe, a national spokesperson for CHADD (Children and Adults with ADD/ADHD), whose lived experiences helped launch the successful YouTube channel “How to ADHD” and her national recognition as a disability advocate, will speak for The Forum at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 14, in Schofield Auditorium.
The presentation will be followed by a Q&A with audience members and a brief reception outside the auditorium in Schofield Hall. Tickets are available to purchase online or at the Service Center in Davies Center. This event will not be available on livestream.
In her 2017 TEDx Talk “This is what it’s really like to live with ADHD,” McCabe describes how a diagnosis and medication made childhood and adolescence much more manageable, but says that over the course of her 20s her life had spun out of control — she quit or was fired from 15 jobs, dropped out of college and was married and divorced by age 32.
“I had no idea what I was doing, despite how hard I was trying. I knew ADHD was interfering with my life, but I didn’t really understand how or why,” McCabe says. “So, I got to work.”
Through her journey of research into ADHD brains, McCabe says she found many reliable and helpful ADHD resources, but they were all directed at doctors, parents and educators.
“Nothing was directed at us — the people who actually have ADHD,” McCabe says. “So, I started a YouTube channel for those of us with brains that are not neurotypical.”
Now viewed over 5 million times, that TEDx Talk and McCabe’s YouTube channel with 1.5 million subscribers have made her a national spokesperson advocating for neurodivergent inclusivity, a nationally published author and professional speaker, especially in demand on college campuses.
While at UW-Eau Claire, McCabe will visit classrooms in the College of Education and Human Sciences, hoping to impart to future educators the valuable perspective of an ADHD learner. Dr. Karsten Powell, assistant professor of special education and inclusive practices, looks forward to the insight this guest can offer pre-service teachers in his SEIP 300 class.
“Learning how to be inclusive of students with ADHD is important for future teachers who will undoubtedly teach many students with ADHD in their future classrooms,” Powell says. “Ms. McCabe’s personal experiences and expertise offer valuable insight in designing and delivering instruction that is inclusive of students with ADHD.”
In longstanding Forum tradition, McCabe will be introduced by Blugold student Gwen Fischer, a sophomore history/European studies major. Fischer says she is honored to introduce this speaker whose TEDx Talk and YouTube videos were extremely helpful to her as a high school student living with ADHD.
“Ms. McCabe’s shared experiences have helped me better understand myself and the way my brain works,” says the Cambria native.
“Her lessons have shown me that I’m not weird or wrong, just different. I hope that her presentation will offer other people the same understanding of themselves and others.”