When Everybody’s on the Same Page

Both early intervention and a multi-disciplinary approach in the family and school environments can be critical in shaping the path of a person with ADHD.

ID-10067330“JJ” is a 10 year old who has been diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety and depression. He has been raised in a very successful family who has a very hard time accepting that their child has ADHD and its associated challenges.

JJ’s parents have been keeping his diagnosis a secret, even from the school. Not knowing his diagnosis, the school had been giving JJ quite a hard time. JJ’s parents are receiving daily complaints about his academic, social and behavior issues. Some of the complaints were about JJ not following directions, not paying attention for long periods of time, not copying the questions fast enough from the board, and lying about doing his homework.

JJ’s mom complained that her is very defiant and out of control. Although both parents claim that they understand JJ’s challenges, their actions didn’t show empathy and/or understanding.

Despite the daily struggles with JJ at home, his parents refused for a long time to ask the school to test JJ and give him accommodations. They felt he had to be “perfect” and were extremely worried about destroying that image. 

JJ’s parents’ denial and the school’s resultant lack of information resulted in JJ both feeling increasingly pressured and hating school even more. Some teachers, such as the math teacher, take points away from him because he resolved all the math problems in his head and did not write down the steps. JJ also got an “F” on a test for organizational skills since he has difficulty with the school’s organizational system. He has also often been confused about his homework because the teacher sometimes writes it on the board and sometimes posts it on the website.

A lack of understanding of JJ’s challenges also hindered JJ in building supportive relationships with his teachers. One day, JJ stopped talking in class because he was upset and didn’t want to cry in front of his classmates. The teacher, however, thought JJ was just being difficult, and she punished him for his silence. Because JJ is a very bright child, teachers often thought he was being manipulative when he was actually feeling shy and scared.

When JJ’s parents realized how his problems were affecting his grades, they knew something had to be done and they came to me for coaching. Through coaching, JJ’s parents educated themselves about ADHD and started to understand their son’s challenges. They were very impressed by the insight JJ showed during our sessions. Over time, they became convinced that they should ask the school for a meeting. We worked on the issues they were going to discuss during the meeting, and we planned for JJ to lead the meeting, addressing the things he wanted to change. Eventually, both his parents and the school started building upon JJ’s strengths and talents, which were numerous.

Once his parents started listening to and advocating for him, JJ’s transformation was amazing. JJ even smiles and laughs in sessions now! He is a leader and has started advocating for himself in school as well.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at www.freedigitalimages.net.

About the Author

Roya Kravetz is a Professional Credentialed Coach (PCC) with the International Coach Federation (ICF), a Board-Certified Coach (BCC) with the Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE), a Certified Mentor Coach (CMC) with Mentor Coach LLC, and Certified Parent Educator (CPE) with the International Network for Children and Families (INCAF). While there are many life coaches out there, very few are accredited and board certified through the ICF and CCE. Roya specializes in educating and coaching individuals and families with ADHD and Executive Function challenges. She also has experience working with adoptive families who have children with ADHD. Roya has combined her professional skills with her broad cultural background to build a highly specialized national and international coaching practice based in Carmel Valley (San Diego), California. She is multi-lingual and coaches in English and Spanish.

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