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.

 

Snake Handling: Four Lessons in Conquering Fear

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Back in the day, I taught a preschool and had a Garter snake given as pet.  That opportunity gave me a chance to witness something that has influenced my understanding of how people move forward in conquering ‘scarey things’ that I find holds true for my ADHD adult clients trying to move forward in changing  mindsets and strategies, today.

A pet snake is an unusual classroom pet but I found it the perfect tool in teaching conquering fear.    I watched children learn to make decisions on how to manage emotions and choices to handle the snake.  Its also a great gauge to look back and see how much growth we have in our snake-handling skills and our choices to interact with it.  It was truly an exercise in self regulation for many of my students in setting goals, managing strong impulses and working towards change.  Moving forward must be a self directed directed activity.  What became apparent to me was that each child became aware of their personal desire to hold the snake, or not.  Lesson#1 Making scarey changes requires that we decide to change. 

I saw many (not all) were fearful of the snake and did not want to hold it.  When I would get out our snake to be handled by those who wanted to touch, it gave the class a chance to talk about the feelings they were having. Some kids were expressed excitement and gusto in the idea of holding a snake.  While others screeched when hearing the snake was coming out even though they had said they wanted to hold the snake.  Lesson #2 When making your changes, be careful the words you use when talking to yourself. The language used to talk to ourselves is important in getting us to the place we want to be… so choose your words carefully when moving towards your goal.

The idiosyncrasies of each child became apparent at the beginning of the goal setting.  Some couldn’t wait to hold the snake; Others wanted to see the snake, not touch it; Several others wouldn’t even set foot on the carpet where we would sit in a circle and hold the snake.  It was important to listen to those idiosyncrasies to be successful as they moved forward in their goals long term.   Lesson #3 We all have different experiences that inform our risk taking capability when facing the goals we are pursuing and it’s important to listen to them ONLY as a starting place.  

My role in the year long exercise of facilitating snake handling with preschoolers was to make observations about some of the choices the children were choosing with the snake, or leave the rug  to observe the scene with curiosity. We shared feelings as I watched on the faces of the kids holding the snake, as well, as those not holding the snake. My class’s weekly attempt to hold the snake grew our vocabulary, emotional responses and self-regulation.  Within four months, most of the children were able to request or verbalize their intentions about the snake.  They were commenting on their progress toward the goal of holding the snake.  Some were noticing that they could be on the rug with the snake (when they previously couldn’t), while others were actually now holding the snake.  Lesson #4  A coaching environment must not force change but invite curiosity by providing a place to reimagine ourselves and move toward our goals.   Facilitating change requires developing new vocabulary and alternative ideas of ourselves.

I know this observation was in the context of a preschool classroom, but it allowed me to see a process that is personal for each individual I work with (ADHD or not) and has specific components that need supported as self regulation develops.

DeShawn Wert learned that ADHD 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 inspired her to become an expert, book contributor, and presenter in this field. DeShawn earned her Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood education from Purdue University, her Master of Education degree in curriculum design and her administrative certification from Indiana Wesleyan University, and completed her ADHD coach training through JST Coaching & Training for children, teens and young adults. A resident of Indiana, she works with clients all over the globe using her guiding principles of it’s “Your brain. Your terms. Your life.”

How I Got My Neighbor to Help Me Clean My Fridge!

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You heard me. My neighbor came to my house so I could clean my fridge…

What incredibly persuasive skills did I use to entice her over to my house, you may be wondering…

  • Is she my paid cleaning lady? I wish!
  • Do I have a deep secret on her that she doesn’t want her husband to find out and I’m extorting her?  Absolutely, not.  (They are lovey and wonderful people.)
  • Is she some kind of clean freak with a mission to purge the world of dirty fridges? Nope. I don’t think so.

She is a kind, generous person whom I like and trust whole heartedly.  We also have a hard time finding a time of day we can get together because of life’s busy schedules.   So I asked if she’d like to come over one day and visit while I cleaned my fridge.  She said, yes, and I found a body double who would help me get started on a project that I had been putting off for over three months.

This underused strategy, called body double, is an excellent way to accomplish boring and mundane tasks (a real form of torture for ADDer’s) if you lack focus or getting boring tasks done.  Let me tell you what it is and is not…

  • It’s not someone ‘standing in’ for you getting your work done for you, that is your responsibility.
  • It’s not someone telling you “how” to do your task, you can do this by yourself-it’s just painful.
  • A body double is a person who will sit with you and do something else (talk, read, or work on an unrelated task) in the room while you finish the task.

Check out these hyperlinks to Additude Magazine that describe when and how to use body doubles with ADHD:

When You Need A Body Double

33 Ways to Get Organized with Adult ADHD

So remember the next time you are procrastinating with an item that you need to accomplish but just can’t seem to get done, remember your body double is out there…You just need to find her!

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.

Not Everyone is A Candidate…

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When people find out I work with ADHD clients who are notoriously unmotivated, considered underachieving and often seen as unreliable, they wonder if, in fact, I can help at all. It seems so counterintuitive to them.  I see the leveraging they bring to the ‘Game of Life’ and that can make them successful but not everyone is there, yet

I always respond, “It depends.” That answer is not a cop out, I assure you…And it gives me the opportunity to educate those who are unfamiliar with ADHD coaching by addressing the reality that not everyone is ready for coaching.  It’s not that they are incapable, but often they haven’t hit the place in their lives where changes are desperately needed or necessarily wanted.  Successful clients are ready to take action and make some changes but often don’t know ‘how’ or ‘what’ the changes will look like.

My role in the partnership is to develop those goals by helping the clients recognize their resources and strengths to leverage time in accomplishing their desires in life.  We talk about their talents (ADHD clients have many that go unrecognized) and we work a plan using those strengths.  Using what they have makes them successful.

In fact, I don’t take new clients on unless they demonstrate to me the readiness for change and desire to take some action. For me coaching is about:

  1. Empowering my clients
  2. Clients taking responsibility and take action in their own life
  3. Clients learning to understand how their particular brain works for them
  4. Clients getting clear on ‘what’ it is they are trying to accomplish in their life

Recently, I guest blogged on Lollie’s Week’s Fortuitous Housewife website and she candidly discusses her questions about working with a coach (How does it really work?) and how she went about choosing one (She asked all the right questions).  I’m sharing her site because I also enjoy her talents as a photographer,  her ability to ‘surf’ life with a mishmash of interests, her views on parenting, and staying connected to those she loves. Here is the link to my guest blog on the differences between coaching and therapy.

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 Indiana, she developed training for at-risk high school students moving on to college.

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.