ADHD Coaching to Support Healthy Lifestyles

Research done by Russell A. Barkley, Ph.D. and Mariellen Fischer, Ph.D. and published in the Journal of Attention Disorders addressed the reduction in healthy life expectancy of people diagnosed with ADHD due to adverse health and lifestyle activities. The longitudinal study was eye-opening, but pointed to the need for individuals and the professionals with whom they work to talk about lifestyle choices in order to positively impact life expectancy.

At the 2019 Annual International Conference on ADHD Melissa Knight and I made a presentation about how ADHD coaches can help their clients in addressing lifestyle choices such as nutrition, exercise, sleep, driving habits, smoking, etc. that impact estimated life expectancy and the quality of one’s life.

I was happy to see the following write up on the ADHD Coaches Organization (ACO) blog highlighting the November, 2019 presentation.


The Role of ADHD Coaching in Supporting Healthy Lifestyles: Taking Research into Practice

By Melissa Knight, MA, PCC and Roxanne Fouché

Take Away: The importance of working together as a team when providing support for someone with ADHD. The team members can include a therapist, doctor, educator, coach and parents.

More Information: High-risk behaviors that occur earlier in life influence possible health concerns as people age, which then influences the increased risk for earlier mortality. What we have learned is that although ADHD is a serious public health concern, improved estimated life expectancy (ELE) may be achieved with proper treatment. It may be possible to improve the risks associated with lower ELE through treating ADHD, especially in improving self-regulation.

It is important that coaches become aware of this research to educate and support our clients with ADHD in implementing strategies for a healthier lifestyle. Coaches can play a significant role in facilitating change for our clients. Through this process, increased awareness concerning ADHD management, self-regulation, and lifestyle choices can occur. When clients increase their awareness, implementing lifestyle changes can follow.

Through Powerful Questioning and Direct Communication, Awareness is created, leading to Designing Actions. When a coach inquires about a client’s lifestyle, this provides an opportunity for the client to explore how behaviors can impact health. Through this process, the coach also helps the client to identify their values and motivation, which supports the client in understanding why a goal is important. When values are connected to motivation, there is a stronger possibility of success. Next, the client can move forward into brainstorming and strategizing alternative lifestyle choices. In addition to providing education to their clients, ADHD coaches are accountability partners. It is this accountability piece that is crucial for keeping these goals in the here and now for the clients in between coaching sessions.


Contact me for information about ADHD / Executive Function coaching to discover and implement individualized strategies, skills and habits that support healthy lifestyles, effectiveness and well-being. ADHD coaching is conducted in person in San Diego, by phone or via the internet.

One of the Top 60 ADHD Coaches for Teens in the U.S.

What an honor it was to see my name on a blog post from SOAR: “The Top 60 ADHD Coaches for Teens in the U.S.”

In the article, an ADHD coach is described as “someone trained to help people with ADHD and ADD to live better lives through taking proactive steps to address specific issues.”

SOAR chose the top ADHD coaches using three criteria:

  • Coaches have been vetted by the ADHD Coaches Organization (ACO)
  • Coaches are available to work with teens anywhere in the U.S. (that is, they conduct work remotely as well as in person)
  • Coaches have demonstrated a commitment to helping young people with ADHD/ADD to live better, more fulfilling lives

The blog’s author, Zacc Dukowitz, summarized what an ADHD coach can do for teens:

An ADHD coach can help students by proposing frameworks for organizing their daily tasks, managing their time, making decisions, and finding the motivation and drive to move forward with tasks in their lives. ADHD coaches can also be helpful when it comes to helping students with how they see themselves—that is, with their self-esteem.

If your child seems to struggle with being late and managing his or her time, or always has a stack of overdue homework, an ADHD coach could be the solution.

SOAR provides outdoor adventure programs for youth and young adults ages 8-24 with a focus on an individual’s strengths, rather than their deficits. The leveraging of strengths to work around individual challenge areas is at the heart of ADHD coaching for students and adults.

Contact me to find out more about how ADHD / Executive Function Coaching can help you or someone you love develop individualized strategies, tools and habits for success in and out of school or the workplace.

ADD Successful Goal Setting

As the new year starts, many people make promises to themselves regarding better physical or financial health, learning a new skill, or how they conduct themselves in the world. Although these goals are heart-felt, unfortunately most research shows that New Year’s Resolutions are often abandoned by the end of January whether or not ADD/ADHD characteristics are part of the picture. It’s not that we don’t want these things – and it’s not because we lack willpower. We often give up on our goals because we haven’t set ourselves up for success.

How many times have you caught yourself making a promise to yourself or to someone else, saying “this time it’s going to be different” without really changing the way you approach the goal? It doesn’t make sense to do the same things over and over and expect different results. There is an alternative.

As an example, I would love to play the piano much better. It would be so gratifying to sit at the piano, look at complicated music, and just have my fingers play music effortlessly. But…it’s a huge goal and I can’t just “magically wish” it to happen.

As I set myself up for success for this goal, I need to consider what has worked (or kind of worked) for similar goals, as well as what has not worked at all. I need to be honest with myself. In order to set myself up for success, I also need to think about:

  • WHAT exactly I want to accomplish
  • WHY this goal is important to me
  • WHEN I want to do the things I set out to do … and
  • HOW I want to plan for success

It’s a combination of “SMART” goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) and knowledge of oneself and how to leverage our interest and motivation.

For my piano skills goal, I want to be able to play songs in an Adult Intermediate piano book with ease and have memorized six pieces by the end of the year. I want to do this to push myself a bit, and have fun perfecting a skill that gives me joy.

I know that when I make too big of a goal, I can get frustrated. I know that I cannot work on too many goals at once, as that can get overwhelming. I also know that I work best with flexible structure.

I want to start this week, keeping track of the time I practice and log a minimum of 1 ½ hours/week. That’s a little over 15 minutes a day, which is do-able. I am going to try to do my piano practice in the morning, but on busy mornings, I would like to sit at the piano at the end of the day. My reward (and inspiration) will be listening to piano music via a streaming service.

I will share this goal with my family so I can have some accountability and although I don’t like the idea of playing for an audience, maybe I can record my playing so they can listen to it without the pressure of performance. Additionally, my intention is to give myself permission to be human, knowing that there will be some weeks that I will not meet my goal. After those weeks, I will revisit my plan and adjust accordingly.

So what goals do you want to work toward? What would make your life easier or more rewarding? What would make a big difference?

As you move toward your goals, the assistance of an ADHD / Executive Function coach may help you determine the strategies and habits that will provide more success, fulfillment and balance in your life. Contact me for an initial consultation and we can talk about how ADHD coaching can help you successfully achieve your goals with ADHD.

Reaching Out for Assistance is a Sign of Strength – Not Weakness

One of my clients recently commented about the energy it takes to just get through the day. It’s clear that people with ADHD often have to dig deep to find the wherewithal and motivation to just keep going, one step at a time.

I often see resilience develop with people with ADHD … in order to do what is theirs to do, people see what is in front of them, take a deep breath, get started and just keep going. It’s exhausting. It’s admirable. It’s time-consuming. And it often works.

Sometimes, though, the gap is just too wide between what the world is requiring of us (our classes, our job, our family, or our health) and what we can do on our own. It’s at that point that we can benefit from the help of others, whether that is a tutor, a mentor, a health professional – or an ADHD coach.

It’s not weakness to seek assistance. Quite the contrary, it takes courage and trust to reach out for needed help. It always inspires me when someone is proactive and contacts me after recognizing that too-wide gap between expectations and performance.

Sometimes we know what we need to do to reach our goals. And we need to “just” put one foot in front of the other with the resources that we have. But, at other times, we can get overwhelmed and the path (or maybe even the goal) is not clear. We might have difficulty with procrastination, prioritization, time management, focus, or follow through that gets in the way of our forward movement. That’s when reaching out is appropriate.

With needed assistance, people can more easily do what needs to be done. People are more successful, frustration and overwhelm lessen, and there’s an upward spiral of confidence, motivation, achievement, and well-being.

ADHD coaching can often be a game changer as people develop the skills, strategies and tools that allow them to thrive with ADHD. Contact me for a complimentary consultation to see if ADHD / executive function coaching is the next best step for you.

Parenting by the Seat of Our Pants

Parenting is simultaneously the most rewarding, and the hardest, job we can have. Just when we think we have everything under control, our kids’ needs change – or our circumstances change – and we are back to “What in the heck do I do now?!?”

When you parent a child who has ADHD or associated challenges, you have more questions…and more rewards. When things go well, it’s a victory that other parents may take for granted.

When our little one begins a short book despite reading problems, figures out a way to calm herself down, or follows a request for the first time without push back, it’s a triumph for the whole family.

When our teen takes out the trash without a reminder, starts homework independently, or organizes a sleepover on a long weekend, we know that they are making real progress.

When our young adult makes a budget, gets ready to graduate, or prepares for a job interview, we know we are doing our job and we can all celebrate.

But when things don’t go as planned, when school is difficult, when our kids don’t know how to make or keep friends, when there are homework wars, when there’s worry about a young adult who isn’t prepared for the next steps of independence, it’s something that can make parents feel like they’re alone without a place to turn. And we blame ourselves.

It’s a privilege to be in the position of supporting the growth of a child. It’s really miraculous how our kids grow and change. But there can be a problem when we expect near-perfection in our parenting. We have in our mind’s eye how we want to parent and then something unexpected occurs and the only thing we can do is to make the best decision we can at the time.

That’s why I’ve joked over the years that I was going to write a blog called “Parenting by the Seat of My Pants.” No matter our education, or background, we are all just doing the best we can with the information we have at the moment.  

Clearly, we all want to be great parents. Our kids deserve the very best. But, as parents, we need to give ourselves permission to be human…and give ourselves permission to occasionally parent by the seat of our pants.

Coaching can help. Contact me if I can be a resource.

 

 

 

 

Researching ADHD Can Be Like Drinking From A Fire Hose

October is ADHD Awareness Month, a wonderful opportunity to get – and share – reliable information about ADHD for yourself, your child or someone else you care about. The problem is that if you do an internet search for “ADHD”, you get a whole host of websites to visit, options to try, research to consider, and people to consult…it’s like drinking out of a fire hose!

Where do you start? Start with the basics. Even if you’ve been dealing with your own ADHD or that of a family member for a while, it’s vital to keep up to date with research, treatment options, and resources! For a great foundation in ADHD, the following websites are wonderful places to learn or update knowledge about how to live well with ADHD.Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) is a leading resource on ADHD that provides support, training, education and advocacy for children and adults living with ADHD, their families, educators, as well as healthcare professionals.

  • In addition to the helpful in-person meetings that CHADD supports around the country and the Ask the Experts and CHADD webinars that it hosts, I love having access to some of the best information on the web related to ADHD. Check out the numerous fact sheets and infographics with general ADHD information as well as specific information for adults, parents and educators.

Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) is the leading organization for adults with ADHD which provides information, resources and networking opportunities to help adults with ADHD lead better lives.

  • It is powerful to be around people who “get” you, who have walked in your shoes and are accepting and nonjudgmental. One aspect of ADDA membership that I love is the opportunity to be part of Virtual Support and Work Groups and Virtual Workshops with people who truly understand the challenges and have great ideas for moving forward!

Understood is an organization for parents of children 3-20 who struggle with learning and attention issues, which gives parents information, expert advice, resources and a community.

  • One of my favorite things on this website is the series of simulations called Through Your Child’s Eyes that help parents (and others) experience what it might be like to have reading, writing, attention, math or organizational challenges.

The Annual International Conference on ADHD will be held November 7-9, 2019 in Philadelphia. Representatives from CHADD, ADDA and the ADHD Coaches Organization (ACO) work together to put on a not-to-miss conference that stimulates the mind and nurtures the soul.

  • At this conference, you will have the opportunity to be inspired by the experts, add to your repertoire of skills and strategies, as well as be in the company of a large group of people who understand – and celebrate – ADHD!

As you prepare for October’s ADHD Awareness Month as an adult or a family member of someone with ADHD, start with reliable, evidence-based information and think about how you might share that information in your schools, your workplace, around the dinner table, or on social media!

And, of course, if you want to learn more about ADHD coaching in person in San Diego or virtually via the phone or internet, contact us. We would be delighted to help you develop the skills, tools and strategies to thrive with ADHD!

 

As You Transition to Something New, Remember What Worked

As we approach transitions, whether it is transition to the new school year, a new job, or a move across country, we can build on our successes by remembering what worked. And then going from there.

School – love it, hate it or just tolerate it, the new school year is upon us.

Whether we are students, parents, other family members, or know someone who is, many of us are ruled by school academic calendars. Many K-12 schools and colleges have already started and others will start soon. So how do we make a smoother transition to another school year?

If we are going back to school or supporting someone who is, there are several questions to ask:

What worked?

Really – think through what worked last year. It’s easy to focus on the things that didn’t work. The should’ves, could’ves and might’ves where we can get stuck and wonder: What’s the use? Why try?

But if we focus on what worked, our mindset shifts and opportunities for success become apparent. Everyone’s wins are different, but it’s important to think about what worked so we can do it again.

As an example, it could be that keeping a calendar of assignments, tests, practices, games, and performances really made a difference…at least for a little while.

If it worked well, keep it up! Do it again. Rinse and repeat.

What could be tweaked?

If something kind of worked, we might look at the obstacles that got in the way and figure out what might be tweaked. For example, maybe you kept a paper calendar, color coded by family member or class, and it just got too much to keep up. What about trying an electronic calendar that can be easily changed as necessary? Maybe you kept an electronic calendar and it worked great … until it didn’t because you found that you weren’t really looking at it. What about figuring out a way to help you remember to check your calendar? That could be a reminder on your phone to check your calendar at certain times of the day or maybe a reward for yourself for doing so. Whatever it takes to make the habit stick more readily.

There is no right or wrong way of doing things. There’s just works for you and your brain.

If ADHD coaching or consulting might be something to add to the mix, contact us. We will be happy to help you set yourself up for success during whatever transition you are approaching.

Shining a Light on ADHD Myths and Facts

If you have ADHD, it’s more than irritating to hear people repeat ADHD myths that you know are just not true.

I invite you to join the ADHD Awareness Month Coalition and international ADHD organizations as we focus on the 2019 ADHD Awareness theme, ADHD Myths and Facts. This year we hope to dispel the harmful stories that perpetuate stigma and that prevent people affected by ADHD to seek assessment, get appropriate treatment or share reliable information about ADHD.

This year we will be focus on the most common ADHD myths such as ADHD is caused by bad parenting and ADHD is over-diagnosed and share fact sheets written by ADHD researchers and experts to provide much-needed information to dispel the myths.

How can you be part of this year’s ADHD Awareness endeavors?

If you are curious about how ADHD coaching or consulting might be helpful to you or someone you know, contact me at 858-484-4749 or Roxanne@FocusForEffectiveness.com. I am happy to share resources in San Diego or online.

 

2019 Annual International Conference on ADHD

The 2019 Annual International Conference on ADHD will be held November 7 – November 9, 2019 in Philadelphia. The conference is organized by ACO, ADDA and CHADD, three organizations dedicated to the empowerment of people impacted by ADHD and associated challenges.

I am pleased to announce that my colleague, Melissa Knight, and I will be presenting a conference session on the role of ADHD coaching in support of healthy lifestyles. This is an important and timely topic related to research done by Dr. Russell Barkley and the impact of ADHD – and specifically self-regulation – on health outcomes.

Keynote speakers at the conference include Dr. Anthony L. Rostain, Dr. Ross Greene, Dr. Roberto Olivardia, and Maiken Scott. As there will be many fabulous opportunities for learning and connection, I invite you to check out the conference offerings and attend if you can. Spread the word!

Making The Most of Summer with ADHD

The prospect of a relaxing summer, unencumbered by the stress of school, is highly anticipated by both students and their parents. Students with ADHD deserve time to relax, hike, bike, swim, wiggle their toes in the sand, and otherwise enjoy the summer months. Parents of students with ADHD also deserve a break from the role of being a “homework cop.”

Despite the difficulty for both students and their families to keep up with the many demands of a busy schedule during the academic year, school does provide the structure that is helpful to students with ADHD. A lack of structure and routine can be trying for someone with executive function and self-regulation challenges.

So how do we, as parents, provide the right amount of structure during the summer months so that our students can have much-needed “down time” without overdoing it? What is the right amount of structure anyway?

For each student the ideal mix of activities is going to be different, of course, but parents of students with ADHD might aim for:

  • Some learning – either through a summer class, information-oriented camp, tutoring, self-study or daily academic time to keep skills up and avoid summer learning loss
  • Some exercise – either through organized sports, camps, lessons, shared exercise opportunities with family, or free play
  • Some routine – for sleeping, eating, chores, and self-care
  • Some socialization – with family, established friends, and friends-to-be
  • Some exploration of interests and passions, which can include limited screen time via smart phones, internet, videogames, or TV
  • Some relaxation, allowing time for students to look up at the clouds, think, and dream

It might be mentioned, too, that summer is often a great time to start ADHD coaching to help students develop the strategies, habits and tools that will allow them to “hit the ground running” once school starts again in the fall.

As the summer begins, you might talk with your family to discuss summer goals in addition to any planned activities, vacations, or classes that are on the schedule. What do they want to learn? What do they want to discover? What would they really like to do to make this summer one to remember?

Whatever summer looks like for your family, when parents and students are in agreement as to the goals and the new routines of summer, the easier and more fun it will be for everyone!