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When a child has Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD) or executive function issues, life can get pretty complicated. Often, the child struggles in school. It's difficult to establish routines at home. And parents become frustrated with the downward spiral of distraction, disorganization, and lack of motivation that always seem to get in the way of academic success.
Student Coaching: Its more than academics! Attention Deficit Disorder and executive function challenges are disruptive for children of all ages.
If your child is in elementary school, you might be concerned about his lack of focus during school or her inability to sit still and follow instructions. If you're the parent of a struggling teen, you may be concerned about the progression from junior high to high school and possibly to college, as maintaining success becomes increasingly more challenging. And, if your child is attending college he may struggle with all of the adult responsibilities he's faced with every day in addition to his studies.
How to address each child's unique issues? I have found that these students are overwhelmed by much more than academics. There's a lot happening under the surface, from social issues to a lack of self-awareness and motivation. My goal is help them get on track both personally and academically as they gain confidence in their unique areas of challenge. This approach also helps out with what's going on at home with the rest of the family.
I work with both parents and their children to create a positive, forward-moving plan that encourages children to take charge of their success, both academically and personally. Parents discover effective ways to support their child through the process. This approach helps parents become more proactive and less reactive. Both parent and child feel more in control and experience positive results quickly. The approach changes everything.
Possible plans we might create include...
Our initial coaching appointment is a time when parent, child and I identify the goals we'll work on first. We'll decide on the frequency of our meetings, usually weekly. We'll talk about the child's successes and struggles as well as strengths and the barriers that prevent success.
We'll also discuss possible rewards and incentives, which are especially important to motivate children with ADHD and Executive Functioning challenges. Once we have identified some incentives, we can start to put accountability measures in place to support the child's new strategies and routines.
My coaching approach does require parental involvement in a supportive role, so coaching sessions for parents are expected and included.
When working with young children, I typically coach the parents each week, meeting with their child every few sessions.
Since teens and older children are ready to start experiencing more independence, I meet for several sessions with the child/teen, and every few weeks I meet with the parent(s).
In both cases the actual work to move forward is carried out by parent and child between the coaching sessions. Parents are kept up-to-date on what's going on with their child as we progress.
Because coaching is an action-oriented process, it takes some time to create new beliefs and follow new habits. Based on the process, I strongly recommend coaching for a minimum of six months.