I came to ADHD coaching as an adult with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and as a parent of a child with ADHD/Asperger's Syndrome. Coaching is definitely a career change for me – my background is in journalism and law – but it is a path arrived at through circumstance and personal need, as well as the desire to “pay it forward” by helping other individuals and families better function with the unique set of challenges and strengths that characterize ADHD. In short, coaching allows me to utilize years of research and trial-and-error experience. I find coaching a good fit and a much needed service.
My personal experience with ADHD began with my family's struggles to understand the challenges my son was facing in school. Of course, the first step was differentiating between normal growing pains and the unique challenges that might require outside help. While this step seems simple at first glance, it was complicated by the many theories advanced by well-meaning teachers, friends and family. Were the problems my son was having a result of low thyroid? Or was he just very bright and extremely bored? I admit I balked when a teacher first suggested to me that my son might be “autistic,” but this was also before I understood that Asperger's Syndrome is on the mild end of the autism spectrum of disorders.
The road to understanding was long and lonely and filled with misinformation, misunderstanding, and frustration. Unfortunately, there was little in the way of resources and support at that time, but my son was eventually diagnosed with ADHD. While the diagnosis gave us a place to start, we still had work to do to figure out how his ADHD traits were impacting his life (for good or bad) and how best to accommodate them.
Professional Experience and Education
Over the years, I conducted periodic searches for ADHD and Asperger resources and support groups. In fact, I worked for the The Asperger Society of Michigan to help compile the organization's comprehensive list of resources within the state. It wasn't until my son left for college and I was diagnosed with ADHD myself, however, that I came across a new type of resource: the ADHD coach. After a little more digging, I discovered the ADD Coach Academy (“ADDCA”), an organization founded by David Giwerc, the past president of the world-renowned Attention Deficit Disorder Association.
When I first discovered the ADDCA programs, I had no real intention of coaching but enrolled in the introductory Simply ADHD class as a means to further educate myself. I was so impressed with the class and the personal epiphanies discovered therein, however, that I continued on to become an ADDCA Associate Coach.
Future: Coaching and Advocacy
These days, I've found fulfillment and success as an ADHD coach. I also plan to take my education a step further by taking continuing legal education classes in disability law. My hope is to eventually provide advocacy services in addition to the coaching services currently offered.
- ADD Coach Academy, Associate Coach
- IIT Chicago Kent College of Law, J.D.
- Michigan State University, B.A. in Journalism