When your child is diagnosed with an attentional disorder, it can feel overwhelming at first. At the same time, it can also bring some relief because it offers an explanation about why certain things have been so challenging at home or at school. The question I am often asked after a diagnosis of ADHD is ‘what to do next?” Many parents tell me that they receive conflicting opinions from friends and family members about ADHD and possible treatments and therefore, they want to make sure that they are doing the right thing for their child. I often suggest that parents share this diagnosis with their pediatrician, as this health professional has known their child over many years and can offer important information about treatment options. For some, medication is an option and is quite beneficial. For others, behavioral interventions and educational accommodations are most helpful. For many, a combination of medication, school accommodations, and behavioral interventions seem to be the best approach over time.
ADHD coaching, which is also referred to as ‘performance coaching,’ focuses on developing skills and abilities that are often underdeveloped or lagging in children and adolescents with ADHD. It provides direct support targeting executive functioning skills. For example, many students with ADHD have poor time management and organizational skills. They often forget about upcoming assignments or projects, or when they do remember and complete them, they forget to turn them in! So frustrating! They also often underestimate the amount of time they will need to complete schoolwork and prepare for tests, leading to heightened stress and frustration for the entire family at the last minute. They are most likely to misplace or lose personal belongings, including school materials and supplies, which then interferes with their ability to get started and complete the work. A performance coach helps by training the student, and/or their parents in the case of younger children, to use strategies and tools to support these areas of weaker abilities so that the child can display their true potential and level of ability. Just as a student with weak reading skills would work with a reading specialist to develop these skills, a student with ADHD can benefit from working with a performance coach to help compensate for executive functioning deficits. If this is something you are considering or interested in for your child, ADHD coaching is offered at Oakland Neuropsychology Center. Please contact our office to obtain more assistance about these services offered by Kari Jo Wagner, Educational Therapist.