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ADHD Coaching For The High School and College Student

The Edge Foundation

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Updated January 08, 2011

ADHD Coaching For The High School and College Student

The high school and college years can be a particularly challenging time for a young person, especially for one with ADHD. These students are making the transition into adulthood and independence and responsibilities and expectations are increasing. Luckily, there are a growing number of support systems and programs that can be put in place to help students with ADHD. One of these is an ADHD coach.

The Edge Foundation is one such program that provides coaching for this age group. To help understand more about ADHD coaching in high school and college, I turned to the Edge Foundation staff for answers.

What Is It Like To Be A High School Student With ADHD?

Edge Foundation Staff: Being a teen is tough. Being a teen with ADHD is even harder! Regular tasks, like homework, often feel harder than they should. Students with ADHD often have to work harder and longer than other people do in school, and have to make an extra effort to communicate with their family and friends. Kids with ADHD can feel even more alienated and at sea than most teens, putting them at risk for dropping out, drug use and risky behavior.

What Is It Like For College Students With ADHD?

Edge Foundation Staff: The new independence combined with the academic demands of college life is tough for most students. But for students with ADHD, these challenges can feel overwhelming. Students become completely responsible for how they use their time. They are expected to attend classes and study each day without a teacher or parent to help them stay on track. They organize their own schedules, choose friends and social activities, and figure out when, how much, and even how to study.

What Are The Major Challenges For These High School and College Students?

Edge Foundation Staff: There are seven major areas that most students with ADHD struggle with:

  • Scheduling
  • Goal Setting
  • Confidence Building
  • Organizing
  • Focusing
  • Prioritizing
  • Persisting at Tasks

What Is ADHD Coaching And How Can It Help?

Edge Foundation Staff: ADHD coaching is a rapidly growing field. The International Coach Federation currently boasts 12,000 members. That's up from just over 2,000 members eight years ago. The reason for this growth is that people are recognizing the benefits of life coaching in their pursuit of career and life goals.

Academic coaching at the college level is already recognized as an effective tool. At some colleges and universities, staff have been trained to serve as part-time coaches to help students with academics. Duke University, Landmark College, and the University of North Carolina, for example, offer on-campus coaching to students. Other institutions have experimented with peer coaching. A few for-profit companies are offering coaching across the country to college freshmen as a way to increase students' academic success and colleges' student retention rates.

Professional and personal coaching is a highly effective intervention and support mechanism. When combined with other more traditional approaches, including medication and therapy, coaching will help students with ADHD to achieve their full potential in academic, social and other life pursuits. Coaching strategies are tailored to individual student needs to make the most of their strengths.

A coach is not a doctor or teacher but rather an advocate who works with you to help you manage life to the fullest. Students and their coaches talk regularly and check in about academic and personal pursuits. Coaches can help identify strategies to stay organized, utilize your time well, and stay on track in your classes. A coach can help remind you to make good choices and take care of yourself emotionally and physically. A coach also can help you improve the relationships in your life with friends, peers, professors, and family members. Your coach is there to talk to, strategize with, and advocate for you as long as you need.

Describe A Typical Coaching Session

Edge Foundation Staff: At the Edge Foundation coaches have 30-minute individual sessions a week with their students during the 10-month academic school year. Aside from these 40 sessions, coaches may also communicate with students via email and phone throughout the week. Because coaching can be done over the phone and via email, it’s not necessary to meet with your coach in person. What’s more important is finding a coach who is qualified in meeting the needs of teens and young adults.

Why Should Parents Consider An ADHD Coach For Their Child?

Edge Foundation Staff: A coach can help provide a steady guidance during a time where a young person’s job is to break away from their parents and forge out on their own. The same young adult that won’t listen to their parents’ advice may be able to hear what they need to do from an ADHD coach. Coaching can mean the difference between success and failure for students with ADHD.

For information on obtaining an Edge Foundation coach click on:
Request Information

To learn more about ADHD coaches and services in general, visit:
ADHD Coaches Organization
or
Institute for the Advancement of ADHD Coaching

Source:Edge Foundation Staff. Personal interview/correspondence through Peggy Dolane. 14 April, 2008.

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