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.

A Great Start for the School Year

The beginning of the school year is a great time to start fresh, appreciating what went well last year and figuring out ways to circumvent challenge areas.  Below are some tips that might help set your child and family up for success this new school year.

  • Adjust bedtimes and wake up times progressively earlier each day so your kids are accustomed to the school schedule and are well rested on the first important days.
  • If your child is attending a new school, you might visit the school and get a “lay of the land” – the location of classroom(s), lockers, gym, bathrooms, and how s/he might need to move from one class to another.
  • Review medication, if applicable.
  • Even if your child has a 504 or IEP, prepare a short letter introducing your child to the teacher, sharing strengths and interests, areas of ADHD or related challenges, what has worked in the past, agreed-upon accommodations and modifications, your contact information and willingness to be a partner in your child’s education. If the 504 or IEP document needs to be changed to reflect your child’s current needs, request a 504 or IEP review meeting.
  • Go to an office supply store with your child and purchase organization systems and supplies that have worked in the past – or that your child is interested in trying. (Such supplies might include a month-at-a-glance wall calendar, a magnetic white board for reminders, two-pocket notebook dividers for a place to put completed homework and things to file, etc.)
  • Talk with your child about what worked last year; attention to what went well (and why) is the first step to being able to repeat the actions that brought success.
  • Approach this new school year as a “fresh start” to address challenge areas. Explore what your child may want to do differently in class, on the playground, getting out the door in the morning, homework and study habits, etc. and help them come up with strategies they would like to try.
  • Come up with some family strategies/routines that will serve everyone…a set time to wake up and a routine for the morning; time in the evening to make the lunch, pack the backpack, and lay out clothes to be worn; a checklist and/or launching pad by the door for things that your child needs to take to school; exercise before starting to do homework or studying, an understanding about internet/music/phone use during homework time; and “incentives” to abide by the new routines.

If we can help you set your child or teen up for school success, contact us at info@FocusForEffectiveness.com.

Here’s to a great school year – for your whole family!

What Went Well – and Why?

Here is a sneak peek at another one of Roxanne Fouché’s contributions to More Ways to Succeed with ADHD: Even More Strategies for 2013 from the World’s Best ADHD Coaches and Experts to Help You Succeed with ADHD:

Many people find it difficult to focus on what is working vs. the things that are not going well.  But it is important to understand and acknowledge our strengths and triumphs because they are the foundation upon which we build success.  Research in positive psychology has shown that it is very helpful to acknowledge what is going right in our lives.  At the end of the day, write down 3 – 5 things that answer the question:  What Went Well – and Why?  Focusing on the “wins” of the day and your part in allowing them to happen helps you repeat those actions for continued success.  The added bonus is that when you know that you are going to be writing what went well (and why), it shifts your focus so that you are actively looking for the positives throughout the day.

How Change REALLY Happens

Here’s a sneak peek at a tip that Roxanne Fouché contributed to the upcoming book, More Ways to Succeed with ADHD: Even More Strategies for 2013 from the World’s Best ADHD Coaches and Experts to Help You Succeed with ADHD:

When we want to make a change in our lives, it’s helpful to plan what we want to do, think about the value of that change, and decide how we want to accomplish our goal.  Adequate preparation for a change includes designing small, doable steps, sharing our intentions with others (so we have an accountability partners), as well as anticipating potential obstacles and how we might want to deal with them.

 

It’s also helpful to know that change is not straight forward, moving seamlessly from contemplation to action.  Rather, studies have shown that backtracking is a common part of the change process, allowing us to learn from the experience and figure out what got in the way.  This learning through trial and error allows us to gain more self-knowledge from the experience, making it that much more likely that the next time we begin, we will succeed.