Transitions Are Tough For Anyone, But Especially When You Have ADHD

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Coaching Parents with Students in Transition

Have you read every ADHD book out there and you still feel like you don’t know how to help your child, especially during times of transition?

Are you frustrated that no one seems to see your child the way you see them?

Are you tired of feeling judged, confused or paralyzed when it comes to making academic and medical decisions for your child with ADHD?

Transitions are tough for everyone.

It’s easy to feel confused, frustrated and unsure of the steps you need to take next so you can get from point A to point B.

When you have a child with ADHD, sometimes transitions feel like falling off a cliff, don’t they? It doesn’t have to feel that way though. Your child really can make academic, personal and social transitions with less strain, stress and doubt. It all comes down to being prepared and getting the support he or she needs to navigate these often tricky transitions. I’ve seen it time and again – when a student with ADHD is motivated and confident, their potential skyrockets.

As a mother and long-time public educator diagnosed with ADD, I can help. Working together, you’ll be able to help your child learn the life skills they need to successfully steer through transitions in school and beyond. You’ll empower them to recognize and leverage their strengths so they can work with their unique brain style. You, and ultimately your child, will be able to better advocate for their needs at home, at school and in the workplace.

Expecting different results from the same old methods that just don’t work is maddening.

When you’re car gets stuck in the mud, you might try stepping on the gas a few times. Do it too many times though and you’ll flood the engine (and now you’ve got two problems on your hands). When you’re stuck, would you rather tackle the problem alone or call for a tow?

Do you feel like you have your feet on the gas but you just can’t get any traction? I’m here to tell you, you have a choice (even if it appears otherwise). You can keep trying to dig yourself out on your own, or you can call in a little muscle.

OK, DeShawn, so what’s my next step?

If you’re committed to helping your child with ADHD (and I know you are), I invite you to schedule a free ADHD Strategy Session with me. It’s complimentary and only takes 30 minutes. This is your time to talk about your concerns, learn about resources and strategies available to you, and decide how best to help your child make progress with school-related transitions. I encourage all immediate family members to be part of this initial session whenever possible so I can hear each person’s concerns and address everyone’s questions.

We need individualized support! How can we work with you, DeShawn?

ADHD Quick-Relief Session

In this private 2-hour, laser-focused session, we address your most pressing ADHD concern. Whether it’s preparing for an IEP or 504 conference, developing “work-arounds” for successful daily routines, building up self-confidence or something else, you’ll leave with an action plan for success based on the goals and strategies that work for you and your child.

ADHD Momentum-Builder Package

With this 3-month plan, you and your child get private one-on-one weekly sessions. This is your time to get thoughtful answers to your questions, advice for your child’s and family’s challenges, strategies to help your child stay on track and build momentum, as well as an action plan and accountability partner (that’s me!) to ensure your child reaches his or her goals.

P.S. My strategy and coaching sessions are confidential and free of judgment. These sessions are designed to help students with ADHD understand their brain so they can live their life on their terms.

 

Now What? When Your “Go-To” Strategy Has Done, Gone!

c668ac40dc10bb5cee697727e33ff2baI was diagnosed at 48 with ADHD.  My “go-to” strategies that had worked all my life failed me.  The tools I developed in elementary school and were perfected into college failed, as my son says, “epic.”  Those strategies that had served me so well were “work harder and stay longer”.

The fact was, I got all kinds of kudos and appreciation for my dedication and hard work.  It was a source of pride and it made me feel good (accomplished even)  when others noticed my tenacity and my can-do attitude.  You want to know the irony?  I was chosen for assignments based on that tenacity and hard work!  Over and over again the work and effort I gave paid off in recognition and additional responsibilities.  After all, I was the “Go-to Girl.”

But that all changed when I took on a new position at a new location, which required a whole new skill set, including understanding small town politics.  It called for more than being willing to work hard, treating others fairly, and even understanding my role on the team.   The long time “go-to” strategies no longer worked as I had to be efficient, automatic, systematic, and even play the hard ball political games.  That kind of efficiency coupled with the lack of humanity made me feel robotic, inhuman and soulless.  But I’m jumping ahead of myself.

I felt pretty prepared and confident.   My work ethic was beyond compare and my reputation was second to none.   I had actually prayed to my Maker for a good fit in my new position asking for the perfect place to showcase my skills and make a “real difference” in lives.  My years of experience had given me tons of opportunities to work with some great leaders and other talented individuals and I was anxious to touch the lives of others in the same positive way.   Little did I have any idea of the “difference” I’d be making would be in the quality of my own life!

So I entered this position during a time when the economy called for everyone to do “more with less” and multitasking was a badge of honor in the office.  Sound familiar?  It was then the feeling of overwhelm started to make it’s way in my life.  With all my preparation and knowledge I felt like an impostor!   It felt as if I couldn’t keep it all straight and it didn’t matter how hard I worked at staying on task or worried about the deadlines.  This started a “hamster wheel” of judgement where I called myself names, told myself I should do better, and silently agreed with condemning eyes.

It felt like I had to be superhuman all the time.  Super powers like being able to leap to my supervisor’s conclusions at the same time, magically see through colleagues hidden agendas and divining high priority items based on little to poor communication.  I was miserable working with people I didn’t understand…and who didn’t understand me.

The lack of time and too much “stuff” to do started dominating my life both at work and at home.  I couldn’t sleep and I was distracted by my own thoughts all the time.  I started seeing a counselor but was told I was “too accomplished” to have ADHD.  After all I did not meet any of the childhood criteria and I was college educated, professional, and so well “put together” on the outside.  But no one ever knew the cost to keep that facade up!  My two strategies of staying longer and working harder just were not cutting it anymore and it was compounded by the harsh, negative atmosphere only added more to my high stress level.

This inability to reel in my thoughts kick-started my “people-pleaser monster” into high gear.  When I look back, it was when I had really lost perspective…my boundaries, my inner voice, and my confidence all left me.  My compass was totally off kilter and my focus was on “winning the un-winnable game of pleasing the displeased.”

I had over used the strategies of working hard and staying longer and made myself sick. Between my illness and my emotional state, I stopped doing everything I enjoyed.  My time at home was thinking about work and my screw-ups (both real and perceived) and it was more than frustrating because I knew I was talented and smart but it wasn’t coming through.

Have you seen Les Miserables the movie?  Ann Hathaway plays Fantine the mother of Cosette who ends up selling everything of value she has (necklace, hair, teeth and even her body) to keep her precious daughter intact.  It felt as if I was “Fantine” in Les Miserable …losing “bits and pieces” of myself and becoming unrecognizable to myself and those who loved me.

I had every sign of Adult ADHD  for women listed in the ADDitude article linked here, only it didn’t connect until I had a family member diagnosed in college.  I asked my doc again about ADHD and it took a computer test that certainly challenged me and made it perfectly clear I was ADHD.  Man, was that day sweet!

Sweet… because I no longer felt crazy!  I wasn’t the lazy or stupid person I had made myself out to be in the mirror each morning.  I knew I had an invisible neuro-difference in my brain that had been exasperated by the stress of a high-anxiety, negative work environment, and thoughtless coworkers.

So how did I get my “Go-To” Strategies back?  I didn’t. I developed a whole new set of skills that worked for me that includes using timers and alarms, task planning and management, and learning mindful activities that included prayer and quiet time rituals.   I ditched the things (and people) that didn’t work for me.  I made the adjustments to how I tackled my life and the projects in it.

I became VERY intentional… with my decisions, time,  and those I loved. Which empowered me to do the things that I’m good at including… connecting with those I work in the ADHD community, providing timely resources to those desperate, and designing life strategies that work based on strengths and not weakness.

If you’ve seen the end of Les Miserables the movie, you know my ending, my friends!  A beautiful and fully restored Fantine returns to Cosette’s wedding.  She is happy, radiant, and joyful!  Today, I feel like Fantine at the wedding day gazing on the beautiful life I’ve created, crafted and polished.  I can’t tell you how full and satisfying my life since I chose to honor myself and my differences.  It’s a life full of the things I choose, with the people I love, and it’s about things important to me.

So I don’t mourn my “Done, Gone” strategies.  In fact, I want to urge you to start moving forward by getting a diagnosis or determining treatment or making a career move! I want you to be intentional with your precious resources so you get the life you want.  I want you start making decisions about you and your life.  I can say today that I’m glad my “Go-To” strategy left me and I could discover this whole new part of me that is so much more that I could ever imagine only a few years ago.

DeShawn Wert, B.S., M.Ed. and ADD Coach

With over 25 years in education as an instructor and administrator, I KNOW all students can be successful given the proper time and supports!  My message to parents is, “you are not to blame and your child is NOT broken!”    I work with students aged 8-24 and working adults experiencing transition in work or personal life.  I speak, provide workshops, and train individuals on ADD specific topics on home, school and work.

To start finding your own ADD Answers and get moving forward, sign up for DeShawn’s FREE ADD Answers Action Plan which walks you through the process of targeting and addressing an area getting in your way at: http://www.youraddanswers.com/services/

 

Complimentary Training for Parents of ADHD Teens

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I call it the Double Whammy of ADHD when your teenagager has ADHD it makes parenting more difficult.  Register now for this free training  set for Wednesday, February 5 @ 7:00 PM EST!  Check out the details below!

You know this…ADHD is not some harmless, made-up, childhood diagnosis that goes away when children grow up!  As a parent preparing your teen, you need start transitioning your child from relying on the “mom system” to creating an independent system for their brain wiring without you being at center of it.  Change is hard but it MUST be planned for ADHD parents and their teens! Continue reading