At Edge we talk a lot about how an ADHD coach can help you learn the skills you need to succeed in school. But what about after you get out of school? We like to say that coaching helps you hone your edge to climb higher in life. School is just the starting place for that journey. Working with an ADHD coach can be a highly effective method to help you bridge the journey from school to the workplace. When you work with an ADHD coach to help you be successful in school, you build skills that will help you be successful in life. … READ MORE
Although dyspraxia is fairly common, most people have never heard of the condition. Children with dyspraxia may have difficulty performing physical tasks such as speaking, jumping or gripping a pencil. Dyspraxia may also affect a child’s social skills, and kids with dyspraxia may act immaturely even though they usually have average or above average intelligence.
What is Dyspraxia?
Dyspraxia affects co-ordination, spatial awareness and sensory perception. It is part of an umbrella of conditions known as specific learning differences which are defined as exceptional variations in a person’s ability, as well as problems with concentration and short-term memory. Dyspraxia affects between 2% and 6% of the population, meaning there’s likely to be at least one person with the condition in every school class or workplace. Around 70% of those affected are male.
Researchers believe that the condition may have a genetic component. Current research suggests that it is due to an immaturity of neuron development in the brain rather than to brain damage. This interferes in some way with the messages that the brain sends to the body, though the exact mechanism is not known. It usually occurs in children who have had a difficult birth–either being born prematurely or with low birth weight. It can be accompanied by other learning disorders such as dyslexia or ADHD.
Dyspraxia can affect children in a variety of ways:
- Communication – Children may have difficulty pronouncing words
- Emotional / behavioral skills – Children with the disorder may have difficult in social situations and can become easily frustrated and overwhelmed.
- Academics – School work can be difficult for kids who have trouble with the physical process of writing
- Life skills – e.g., performing routine tasks like brushing teeth or buttoning a shirt
Warning Signs & Treatment
While the symptoms of dyspraxia may vary depending on the age of your child, they generally start be seen early in life. Understood.org provides a breakdown of the most common symptoms by age, beginning at the toddler stage and progressing through high school. It is important to monitor and record any of these symptoms so you can share them with your child’s doctor.
A general practioner or primary care physician will probably need help from a specialist to make a diagnosis of dyspraxia. These specialists might include occupational therapists, child health specialists (paediatricians), physiotherapists, clinical psychologists, neurologists and educational psychologists. An assessment can be made to determine whether a child has missed the usual milestones of development, and identify any issues with co-ordination and motor skills.
There is no medication to treat dyspraxia at this time. Treatment usually consists of a mix of occupational therapy, perceptual motor training, and speech therapy.
Childhood dyspraxia: James’ story
That phrase, spoken more than fifteen years ago by my then-ten-year-old son, still brings tears to my eyes. He wrote this to his teacher on the first day of fifth grade. She had given him a “get to know you questionnaire.” This was his answer to her final question, which asked the students if there was anything else she should know about them.
If only we could freeze those moments. I would love to say that he continues to feel that way all the time but that is not our reality. Having children with ADHD and other executive function-challenges can be compared to life on a roller coaster. As a retired teacher, guidance counselor, and now an ADHD/EF coach, I feel that my experiences have prepared me for the next stage of parenting. But it is not easy. I have come to realize that it’s a marathon not a sprint.
Most parents, after their child is diagnosed, feel that they need to solve the problem. They want to help their children overcome their disability and protect them from the world. Frequently, we feel that we did something wrong, that we must fix the situation or find a magical answer. I was no exception. After researching this topic for many years and filling several rooms with books on ADHD, EF and positive psychology, I have come to the realization that the best gift we can give is to accept them for who they are.
We do not need to give up future plans for our children but we do need to accept them as they exist. We can be aware of their weaknesses and help them develop their strengths. As parents, we need to help them recognize that as they approach life differently, they can achieve their goals.
Those diagnosed with ADHD and EF challenges must learn to adapt to our competitive society and to appreciate themselves. We also must help professionals, family members and others to refrain from squeezing our square pegs into round holes. What if, instead, we delighted in their differences? As their parents and coaches, we have the power to concentrate on their strengths, provide support when needed, and most importantly, not allow them to use their diagnosis as a crutch.
If these children are brought up to recognize their gifts, just imagine what they could accomplish. If we help them recognize their situation as an opportunity to develop strategies that will allow them succeed, they will become stronger and more adaptable.
I can only imagine the number of negative verbal and non-verbal messages that these individuals receive on a daily basis. What if they could depend on their families to be supportive and their homes to be an oasis of positive reinforcement? What if they could trust our verbal and non-verbal communication would instill a sense of well being, rather than a source of shame and inadequacy?
What if we were able to accept the fact that we, as parents, do not have the power to fix our children or find a magic answer?
What if we concentrated on what we can control, and helped our children realize that they are creative, resourceful and whole? What if we helped them recognize that life is not black or white? What if we helped our children realize that because of their differences, not in spite of them, they have much to offer?
What if every individual diagnosed with ADHD and executive-functioning challenges could say: “I have ADHD but I don’t let it stand in my way.”
Written by: Cheryl Breining, LMSW, M.Ed, MS, ACC, CPCC, Edge Coach, Certified Life and Parenting Coach, The Life Coaching Corner Inc., Contact her at www.thelifecoachingcorner.com.
Information for Parents seeking and ADHD coach
ADHD and Depression is Serious Business
It’s important to start this post by saying that depression can be a serious, life-threatening condition. If you are feeling hopeless, worthless, irritated, chronically exhausted or have lost interest in things you once loved, you shouldstart by talking to your physician or a therapist. Look for someone who has experience in diagnosing ADHD and working with the co-occurring conditions that can come along with ADHD. (The last thing you need to do is see someone who doesn’t understand or even believe in ADHD!)
A professional can help you determine what the appropriate course of action to help you break free of your depression. You don’t have to suffer depression alone. Get some help for yourself, right away. Talk to your parents, friends or even a crisis hotline. Don’t suffer alone!
What to Do About ADHD and Depression Starting NOW!
Sure calling a doctor or therapist is a great idea, but you may be wondering what you can do for depression right now. After all, depression is something that can be hard to overcome. (And it doesn’t take holidays!) You can use all the help you can get to breaking through to the other side of depression! Why not try what Gayle Wilson, ADHD coach, shares with her clients. She calls it her “Depression Busting Toolkit” or “12 Mental Lifesavers.”
ADHD Depression Busting Toolkit: 12 Mental Lifesavers
- Talk about it. Pour out your soul to a sympathetic ear.
- Go to the dogs (play with your pets).
- Run away (literally). Do something physical. (Yes, we keep saying this over and over. Exercise is critical to healthy living with ADHD!)
- Laugh your head off. Watch a funny TV show, ask someone to tickle you, Google “funny” or “hilarious,” check out the comedy channel on hulu.com, or watch an old Road Runner cartoon, etc.
- Get to work. Lose yourself in work.
- Compartmentalize. Focus on what you can do right now. The old adage, one day at a time, has stood the test of time because it works! Sometimes getting off the couch and doing something, anything, can make a big difference to feeling better.
- Write. Right now. Paying attention to what you are thinking. Write it down. Be sure to turn off the critical inner voice and just let your thoughts go.
- Identify something you care about more than yourself. Is that a friend? A charity? Your grandparents? Now do something, anything about it.
- Bring beauty into your life. Buy some flowers, take some pictures, make a painting, clean your room.
- Learn the lesson. Explore what there is to learn in what you are experiencing.
- Be well read. Let fiction carry you away.
- Have faith. Turn to your spiritual practice
- Curb self-defeating and negative thoughts with an ANT.
Daniel G. Amen, M.D., author of Healing ADD and Change Your Brain, Change Your life, coined the acronym A.N.T.’s — or automatic negative thoughts. Turns out there is a connection between what we say to ourselves and how we feel. If we control what we think, we can control how we feel.
Gayle Wilson gives each of her clients a little plastic ant and a poem. Print out the poem and put it on your desk. Read it when you need to turn your thoughts away from the dark side. Sure it’s a little dorky, and Gayle’s no poet, but these simple words have helped many other people. So there’s no harm in trying it, huh? You can control what you think and change how you feel about yourself.
Gayla Wilson 12/07
Place this little Ant on your desk, in your pocket or your purse.
Let it remind you, your thoughts can be adverse.
Listen to what your brain tells you
The next time you get into a jam
and you hear “I’m stupid”; “I always mess up”
“Why can’t I ever just push through?”
Write it down, tell it to scram.
Is this thought a fact?
Or, is it the same old you?
If it’s true…change it.
If it’s a lie, answer back.
These are your thoughts
You write the script
Be they pleasant and pleasing
They’re your thoughts,
You can answer back
The damage CAN be reversed.
It is up to you
Their weight and importance
Are set by you. You take control.
Kill the ANT!
Do you have tricks that help you beat the blues? Please share them!
Note: Kelsey Peterson was the student that inspired the creation of the Edge Foundation. You can find other tips and ideas about how to be successful in college with ADHD with our Free Guide: College Success and ADHD.
What is self-control? I have been struggling with self-control lately. I feel like I always know what’s best but there is an inner child in me telling me to do what feels good in the moment! I went to Starbucks last week because I was running late and missed breakfast. I knew that I should order the oatmeal because it was healthy and it would keep me full longer – but the lemon bread looked so good. I caved (to myself) and got the lemon bread, but regretted it an hour later when I was starving. That inner voice that was so strong it “made” me order the lemon bread when I knew the oatmeal was a better choice.
We all have a voice inside us, some people call it our “inner child.” This voice tells us what we want to hear. It can be hard to resist, and easy to give in. Everyone has a different inner child who throws inner tantrums for different reasons. For example, I also struggle with being late in part because my inner child tells me “I can stay in bed for five more minutes.” Self-control comes from you knowing what is best for yourself and doing it. I just wish it wasn’t so hard!
When I was a kid, home with my parents, I was allowed to be a child inside and out because I knew my parents were there and helped make decisions for me. My parents always had my best interest at heart when making decisions for me and I trusted them to make the right ones.
When I went to college and I was away from home I had to learn how to be my own parent. Now it’s my time as an adult to start being my own inner parent and take care of myself. It’s often not fun making the right choice in the moment of temptation, but I am always happier afterwards if I do. Here are some simple hints that helped me master my self control.
I start by identifying what I’m struggle with. For example, I am struggling with working out. I want to work out five days a week but I keep messing up.
I figure out why this important to me in the long term. I want to work out every morning because I want to be healthy and look good.
I think about how this fits with my long-term goals. I find it helps to think about my long-term goals because as a kind of reality check for myself. When I find my inner child telling me, “you could go to the gym or you could sleep one more hour”, my inner parent will tell me “I am going to the gym right now because I know I will if I do I will be prepared for the half marathon next summer”. My long-term goal reminds me why I care about something and how it’s really the best choice.
I use my coach to help stay on track. Tell your coach about your long-term goals and what you need from him/her to help you achieve it. For me just telling my coach helps because then I feel accountable. Also my coach helps me with short term check points to help me reach my long-term goal. My coach checks in with me weekly to see if I have met my weekly goal of working out five times a week. If I have met my goal then I get a “prize”. I get to treat myself by sleeping in on Sunday and going to brunch with my friends and having a mimosa, If I missed a day during the week then I have to get out of bed early, go to the gym and skip brunch. This is motivation during the week because I hate working out on Sunday and I love brunch!
I challenge you!
Pick something that you struggle with, maybe it’s getting your homework done early instead of waiting till the last minute, or not spending hours on Facebook. Whatever it is that you find your inner child pulling you towards when you know its not what’s best for you that is where you need to master your self-control.
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Robert Tudisco Former Executive Director of the Edge Foundation Speaks about Living with ADHD.