The Importance of ADHD Coaching for Kids
I recently presented at the ACO (ADHD Coaches Organization) conference in Atlanta. This group represents people who have become coaches in order to help people with the struggles of ADHD. Many do not understand what coaches do and how important their function can be in helping those with ADHD get and maintain control in their lives.
I am an ADHD coach for children, teens, and college students. I am passionate for this age range because of my own son, 15, whom I have advocated for throughout his academic journey.
This diagnosis continues to be misunderstood and unsupported. Many of the early symptoms are behavior centered. As a result, teachers and parents who are uninformed about ADHD believe that behavior can be controlled. Further, it is many times believed that if parents knew how to control their kids, there would not be the struggles of impulsivity in the classroom, causing unwanted disruption. But more than that, what is happening is the reinforcement in the child’s eyes that he is dumb, not capable, not liked, and doomed for failure. And why not? There is nothing positive in his environment when there is no support and understanding.
I talk to parents all the time about the struggles that their children face and THEIR struggles trying to advocate for their needs in a school system that many times push them away. Kids with ADHD have gifts and strengths that cannot be visualized in that setting.
Coaching is a profession that has not been around for a great length of time but is growing in notoriety and evidence of impacting success. The end result of a child struggling with the impairments of ADHD is low self-esteem, leading to more of a probability of self-medicating: drugs and alcohol. The beauty of coaching is that it allows for the child to be the client. For the first time, he can be the center of attention in a positive way. He can verbalize frustrations and can make decisions as to what goals he wants to achieve with the coaches support. As the coaching industry says, the coach “dances alongside the client.”
My presentation reinforced the need for coaches to insure that the school has the adequate support in place so that the client can, after putting an action plan in place, succeed and achieve the goals that he has devised. He can’t be set up for failure by trying to achieve when the support in school does not exist. Our roles overlap too with the necessity to teach parents the knowledge needed to advocate for this support.
Our children with ADHD need to early on understand themselves and self-advocate for their future. Coaches are the people that can make this happen. Hopefully someday the awful statistics that show up to a third of these kids are not finishing high school will change for the better.
Karen K Lowry R.N.,M.S.N.
ADHD Coach for Children, Teens, and College Students, AAC
Support Group Facilitator for CHADD
Author, The Seventh Inning Sit: A Journey of ADHD
Parent2Parent Family ADHD Trainer for CHADD
Tags: ADHD , Medical Diagnosis , Advocacy , Activism , Coaching , Self- Advocacy
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