Coaching on ADHD
Building New Patterns of Control
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is one of the best known of the disruptive disorders/learning disabilities. Far from being a sign of lack of intelligence, and not inherently an indication of hostility or rebellion, ADHD can quickly erode learning patterns, interfere with cognitive control, and segue into anger and frustrated defiance if not dealt with by skilled professionals. Untreated ADHD can ruin young lives, and destroy promising futures.
A behavioral approach to treatment:
- Behavioral retraining for a long-term improvement
- Coaching the young
- Finding a great coach
Retraining Addresses Long-Term Issues
While medication can be used in some cases of ADHD, many parents, doctors and child psychiatrists and psychologists are wary of medication. Medications provide a workable short-term bandage for some children, but their effect on developing minds and bodies has been insufficiently studied to allow accurate assessments. Further, medication actually deprives children of the chance to learn management techniques for their own condition.
Many of the impulse problems and developmental patterns of an ADHD child are likely to carry on through the teen years and into early adulthood, only fading with middle-age and old age. Restlessness, lack of impulse control, behavior that can often pass over the borders of assertion into aggression; all of these are traits that can cause handicaps for years of academic growth, social development, and early years of career exploration. Failure to develop self-discipline and self-management skills only retards a child’s chance to gain true independence and social integration.
Whether a child is on a medication or not, it’s often best to ensure he or she also gets ADHD coaching. This form of counseling is aimed at teaching the specific life skills an ADHD child needs to cope with the specific problems of the condition. The work is grounded in behavioral modification techniques, with the intention of allowing a child to recognize the symptoms of ADHD, and develop strategies to avoid being trapped in ADHD behaviors. By offering methods that allow focused cooperation without forcing a child to “beat” their drives through raw will-power alone a coach can help a child find a rewarding approach to education, social interaction, and self-control.
Children Are Not Adults
Coaching ADHD demands special skills: children are not adults. Where adults can choose to take part in training sessions of many sorts out of an understanding of their own long-term best interests, children are seldom prepared to make the same kind of abstract commitment. ADHD children, almost by definition, are often even less prepared.
As a result, an ADHD coach must be skilled in not only behavioral coaching, but in the fine art of motivating a child who is inherently more difficult to motivate than average. Coaches must be well-matched to their patients, and will need strong support from parents, and, where possible, from teachers and other close associates. Over time, it is likely a coach will work not only with the child, but also with his family and teachers, to develop systems of rewards, conditioning rituals, and when necessary disciplining techniques that will help a child learn self-discipline.
These skills are not easily acquired, and a professional ADHD coach should at the very least be licensed or certified in forms of educational therapy. Many great coaches are themselves counselors on a higher level of education, with background in psychology, psychiatry, childhood development, and more.
Finding a Coach
To find a great coach, look to a referral service first: these agencies provide sound information, background checks, and more to those seeking reliable coaches and counselors.