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.

 

Taking A Balcony View:  Five Tips to Remember While ADHD Parenting, Part 2

 

view-of-the-sacre-coeur-from-a-balcony-in-paris-enna-van-duinenThe following is the second of two articles providing helpful ADHD parenting tips and information. Read Part 1 here to see the first two tips.

Additionally, they worry about medication decisions, and trying to negotiate educational needs with administrators. It’s easy to get frustrated, but DON’T PANIC! The following information can help you put it into perspective as you help as you raise your child to enjoy a life they are capable of live with the right support for their ADHD.

#3 Keep Them From “Buying Into The Lie”

Celebrate their differences by helping them acquire an appreciation of the gifts of ADHD, by managing it.  Many kids are focused on the deficits and think they are defective, which is a lie you can’t afford to buy into!  Dr. Ned Hallowell often talks about the gift of ADHD.  There are a lot of positive traits that come from having high energy, a curious mind, and persistence! But be mindful of helping them look at their behavior from other people’s point of view so they can see what some  behavior, no matter how well intended, can be misinterpreted.  Helping identify passions and support their curiosity.  Many life-long passions can be turned into meaningful work which is key to successfully living with ADHD

#4 Learn to Be Intentional and Leverage What Works

Help them learn to leverage their strengths and identify environments that work for them. Very few people will know and connect your child’s past experiences, their learning preferences, and future goals like you do.  Looking at careers and work environments that compliment their strengths will help you both sleep at night when it comes to looking into the future careers.  Understanding the types of executive functions that work well, and the conditions in which your child is successful and productive is an important conversation and needs to be talked about and developed over time.  Start early talking about the good/bad sides of holding down work and how their special talents would be a good or bad fit.

#5 Teach Resiliency, Not Victimization

Know that s/he will experience utter disappointment…and a resilient spirit can be cultivated.   This is difficult to think about but it is a must as your child grows and takes on more responsibility. Know that it’s not the end of the world and we always have choices in how we choose to handle life’s unexpected turns (our fault or not).

Developing coping skills and learning to manage disappointment with those who have self-regulation and impulsive behaviors need explicit teaching and techniques in managing emotions.  Products, such as Tools for Life,  help children develop awareness of emotions and options for managing those emotions are important to access for self-regulation and learning.

However, when disaster strikes (and it will) life will go on…College degree or not…Fired or downsized.  What is important is how you model resiliency and by not becoming a victim of circumstance.  I maybe getting philosophical here, but you can not keep injustice or harm out of life, so prepare your child for it.  Additionally, rapid change is a part life as well and all successful humans need to learn to manage that life skills.  Help them become aware of any victim mentality and blame, so they can move forward with action to get back on track, gaining some control of their life after such incidences happen. Develop the type of relationship which allows you to be privy to when devastating things happen and then provide the wisdom and support, that only you  can give.  Become an advocate and friend as they grow into adulthood and need you differently.

DeShawn VanDeWater-Wert, learned ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) can affect adults as well as children when she was diagnosed with the disorder late in life. “It allowed me to recognize and develop my own action plan and leverage my strengths,” she says. It also allowed her to become an expert in that field. With a Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood education from Purdue University, a Master of Education degree in curriculum design plus administrative certification from Indiana Wesleyan University, she has presented at the International ADHD coaching organization and was contributing expert for Laurie Dupar’s best-selling book, “More Ways to Succeed with ADHD.” A resident of Sweetser, Indiana, she developed training for at-risk high school students moving on to college for in Grant County.

After years of teaching in public schools and her ADHD diagnosis, she launched a business of her own,“Your ADD Answers Coaching and Consulting,” in 2013. “I am able serve clients all over the world understand their own unique brain and how it functions for them,” she says. She addresses ADHD on her website and writes for ADD Student, a blog that supports parents as they work with schools in supporting their ADHD students.

Taking A Balcony View: Five Tips to Remember While ADHD Parenting, Part 1

view-of-the-sacre-coeur-from-a-balcony-in-paris-enna-van-duinenThe following is the first of two articles providing helpful ADHD parenting tips and information. See Part 2 for the last three tips.

I was recently interviewed by Attention Talk Video with Jeff Copper about my stance on Parent Advocacy and the importance of owning your role as the parent of an ADHD student. ADHD parents are called to do more because our culture makes it easy to dismiss ADHD kids as lazy or disrespectful because they behave differently than their peers. As a result, I have found that most ADHD parents want as much information on ADHD as possible. In fact, most parents I work with have read nearly everything they can get their hands on and worry about their child’s school performance, hoping their child is able to “pull it together.” Additionally, they worry about medication decisions, and trying to negotiate educational needs with administrators. It’s easy to get frustrated, but DON’T PANIC! The following information can help you put it into perspective as you help as you raise your child to enjoy a life they are capable of live with the right support for their ADHD.

My clients (young teens, recent college graduates and adults in transition) often recognize and articulate their “smarts” but are confused about the level of difficulty they have at “pulling it all together.” The rule “stay longer, plus work harder equals success” often fails kids with ADHD because although they work hard, the lack of efficiency and production make them look unprepared or lazy in school.

Left untreated or unsupported, other’s judgment and societal pressures can take a toll on the psyche of an ADHD child and his parents at a great cost.– their loss of self-confidence, hindering their ability to move forward with their lives. They are virtually blind to the real talents and gifts they bring to the world, making it harder to find their own way to happiness and self-fulfillment.

#1 It’s Your Mission … And You Need To Accept It

Let’s face it, parenting an ADHD child is more demanding than on parents whose children do not have ADHD. You are going to have the most vested in your child’s success, a long term overview of your child’s interests and strengths over time, as well as, his or her ally and advocate for life. You are calling the shots and a real coach for this child. You need to accept that your parenting role will be “upped” a level than most children. You will be forced to create motivation and have clear expectations articulated. You will pay attention to the environment your child is most successful in and then find ways recreate it in other contexts. You will communicate regularly and more often with doctors, teachers and family members about your child’s needs than most. You will have to realistically look at your child’s decision-making abilities and may not hand them the keys to the car because they not quite ready for driving. Your parenting decisions will NOT look like some of the other parents.

#2 Tailor the latest ADHD Knowledge to Your Child’s Brain Function

You will have to develop an understanding of ADHD generally, and apply that understanding by personalizing it to your child’s home and learning environment. As they grow older, you will have to make sure your child can develop and understanding of their needs and strategies as well, and not use ADHD as an excuse. You will have to master the art of motivation for your child and help them develop it for themselves by experimenting to find out what “works” and change it as often as needed. Becoming a “helicopter” parent who makes sure their child succeeds by doing it for them is counter-productive. However, helping them create and design strategies that support their executive function allowing for success IS the very essence of what your parenting should look like. Become able to look at your child objectively so they can look at their weakness objectively, allows for an environment that says, “You can grow and change,” rather than a character flaw or moral deficit on their character.

Part 2 of this article will soon follow! Be sure to check out the next three parenting tips for the balcony view. 

DeShawn VanDeWater-Wert, learned ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) can affect adults as well as children when she was diagnosed with the disorder late in life. “It allowed me to recognize and develop my own action plan and leverage my strengths,” she says. It also allowed her to become an expert in that field. With a Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood education from Purdue University, a Master of Education degree in curriculum design plus administrative certification from Indiana Wesleyan University, she has presented at the International ADHD coaching organization and was contributing expert for Laurie Dupar’s best-selling book, “More Ways to Succeed with ADHD.” A resident of Sweetser, Indiana, she developed training for at-risk high school students moving on to college in Grant County.

After years of teaching in public schools and her ADHD diagnosis, she launched a business of her own, Your ADD Answers Coaching and Consulting. “I am able serve clients all over the world understand their own unique brain and how it functions for them,” she says.  She addresses ADHD on her website and writes for ADD Student, a blog that supports parents as they work with schools in supporting their ADHD students.

 

Bedeviled By Semantics With the Broken, Beautiful, Bold Event…

brokenbeautifulbold405weboptimizedjpeg-1I’m participating as a co-host at a local live Christian Women’s event in Indiana called Broken, Beautiful and Bold.  In this event, seven courageous Christian women voices will share some of the most vulnerable lessons taught by God and faithfully share them, not with their best friends in a small intimate setting, but with total strangers on a live stage!

I am NOT doing that, praise Jesus!

My part is easy and small.  I’ll introduce those talented voices by sharing their bios and interacting with the crowd.  This is not hard and falls easily into my skill set.  If you know me, you know that… I love people, I love my God and I have the “gift” of gab.  As my little preschool friends say, “Easy,  peasy, lemon, squeezy” (tiny hands dusting off).

But as I contemplate the big day, the actual event, and God’s purpose for me as a very small part of this endeavor, I find I that I’m wanting to rearrange the title of this event.  I have wondered at “why” the semantics seem to be getting in the way, now.  It is not because:

  • I’m a control freak.  I’m not.
  • The title doesn’t sound good and roll off the tongue delightfully, not that either.
  • I’m a techie nerd and the SEO isn’t going to get us ranked very high on the internet.  I’m certainly not one and I have NO idea of our ranking!

It has to do with very personal reasons in my own Broken, Bold, and Beautiful story of faith.  You can read my story  and my choice to leave a career in education to become an ADHD coach and consultant here, but I digress.

Let’s start with the original text, shall we? My long-time friend and event organizer of Broken, Beautiful and Bold ministry, Angela Harrington, states on her homepage that the mission and purpose of Broken, Beautiful, and Bold is based in these beliefs that we all are:

Broken by the World: Each of us is born into a world that has been broken by sin and we are broken by it. Our experience with our own brokenness can create overwhelming compassion for our neighbors.

Beautiful and Redeemed by Faith: Only by the immeasurable love of our God can we be redeemed. We are made beautiful again by the self-sacrificing love of our Savior. Plain and simple, God loves us and we reflect His beauty in our daily lives.

Bold in Pursuit of the Spirit: Motivated by love for our Savior, we choose to  pursue the Holy Spirit. By answering the call of the Spirit, we learn to grow bold in our faith. Our boldness and compassion reflect God’s love into the brokenness of the world.

 

Yep. Yep. And yep.  

I totally agree with Angela, we are all broken in this world.  I see we are all redeemed by faith and we most certainly can be bold in our pursuit of spirit.  But for me and my process to deeper faith and closeness to God, it is about knowing brokenness, then moving boldly to become beautiful in the knowledge of God’s love.  Let me explain how this works for me.  I’m sure God has a special process for you, too, if you think it over.  

My process starts first with figuring out I’m broken.  

I MUST acknowledge it.  This can take a while to admit to myself or it can be a very short trip.  Either way, I must accept that my ego (has again) hijacked  my “perceived” plan God had for me and I may have to wallow for a while and pity the mess I’m in.   But then  it comes to me that I must move forward.  I can’t stay here.  I must make the move from “mess to message” and it takes action on my part.

For me, any action becomes boldness because when I’m scared or frightened I don’t FEEL like going forward.  So any movement, even the most simple ones, become bold and spring me into forward motion.  When I’m fearful, it can be bold just to hold my head up and face those who hurt and have used me in this broken world.  I need boldness and courage in small ways to step forward because my fear can debilitate me at times… even as I have professed faith.

I need action or I stay lost in fear.  So I make a small move and it feels BOLD!

It is boldness and action FEEDING my professed faith, making me more than functional in this world.  And it is this boldness that leads me to my own special beauty, recognized by God, which is my power.  The power of being who I am in Christ.  Boldness is… me, being ME!  By accepting I’m flawed and imperfect, and at the same time,  loved and cherished by a God who sent His only son, I realize my beauty and power.

Boldness is the vehicle that gets me from my lack of faith (fear) to knowing that God has it ALL under control (faith).  Boldness reminds me that I am not forgotten, or lost, or unimportant!  It is this process from fear to faith that reminds me of my redemption through Christ.  For me, that can only take place with action leading me to the knowledge that I am protected in the palm of His hand.

So to my long-time friend and colleague, Angela Harrington, I have a special request about the order of the words of our live event even though I …

  1. Know you have created all of those wonderful flyers with Broken, Beautiful and Bold emblazoned clearly in that precise order.
  2. Understand many sponsors have signed on to the event known as Broken, Beautiful and Bold.
  3. Get it that tickets have been sent out the door embellished  with the”BroBeBold” mantra…

Can we pretty, please call the event Broken, Bold and Beautiful in that particular order for little ol’ me?  I know it’s a silly request and, yet,  I’ll make it all the same because I can’t help myself and I know how my particular brain works…

Whatever Angela’s verdict on my silly request about the “renaming” of the event and wherever you find yourself in the process of  becoming BOLD, redeeming your BEAUTY or accepting your BROKENNESS, I hope to see you Saturday, May 10th at Tree of Life Atrium in Marion, Indiana.  Happy Easter, my friends!

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

An educator and administrator for 25 years, DeShawn works with those who are learning to live their best lives after being diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.  I coach and consult individuals at home, school and work in transition.  I speak, provide workshops and train those living and working with ADHD or Executive Function issues.

To start finding your own ADD Answers and get moving forward, sign up for DeShawn’s FREE ADD Answers Action Plan at: http://www.youraddanswers.com/services/