Should I hire an ADHD/Executive Function Coach for my child?



𝗠𝘆 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗽𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗮 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗽𝗶𝘀𝘁 𝗠𝗼𝗺 𝘄𝗵𝗼 𝗮𝘀𝗸𝗲𝗱 𝗺𝗲 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗔𝗗𝗛𝗗/𝗘𝘅𝗲𝗰𝘂𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗙𝘂𝗻𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗖𝗼𝗮𝗰𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴:

Here's what I explain to people about coaching, and what families have shared with me:

Coaching is an unregulated field. Anyone can (and does) call themselves an ADHD coach. There are good coaching programs out there that require a financial investment & long-term training, and there are people who take a 4-hour online course and call themselves an ADHD coach. To my knowledge, there are no coaching training programs specific to working with kids.

Based on what families have shared with me, the strategies coaches teach are usually focused on academic organizational skills, and ones you can find in any ADHD book: hang up lists, carry around a checklist, use kitchen timers, the "red countdown timer", etc. Being an ADHD/Executive Function Coach requires no previous experience working with kids, and no education in child development, teaching, etc.

What I've heard repeatedly from parents is that the coaches get frustrated with their kid because the kid is not motivated or disengaged, the strategies are things they've heard before, the coach helped them with academic organizational skills, and that was all they really did.

𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜 𝘁𝗲𝗹𝗹 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀:
-If your kid is 𝘦𝘹𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘭𝘺 motivated then coaching could work for them, if it's specifically for academic organizational skills. If they are not in that top 5% of extremely motivated kids then I wouldn't spend the money on it.
-Kids have to take ownership over the coaching process. If they're not invested, it doesn't work (which is why I hear of so many coaches getting frustrated with kids.)
-Neither the mental health or coaching fields have yet begun to understand that if you want kids to build executive function skills you cannot do that superficially by hanging up lists, checklists, etc. Parents have to change the way they use language to help build self-directed talk. This is not a "nice thing to do", it's essential

𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜 𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗰𝗵 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗺𝗼𝘀𝘁 𝗲𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝘆 𝘁𝗼 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝗲𝘅𝗲𝗰𝘂𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗳𝘂𝗻𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝘀𝗸𝗶𝗹𝗹𝘀 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵:
1. Parents changing the way they use language to help build self-directed talk (what I call "Brain Coach" with kids).
2. Implementing "scaffolding" around kids to help them develop skills and independence, which builds self-confidence.
(I teach how to do this in the Executive Function Crash Course Series.)

𝗛𝗲𝗿𝗲'𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝙙𝙤𝙚𝙨 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝗯𝘂𝗶𝗹𝗱 𝗲𝘅𝗲𝗰𝘂𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗳𝘂𝗻𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝘀𝗸𝗶𝗹𝗹𝘀:
-Having kids work 1:1 with someone without parents learning: how to change the way the use language, provide scaffolding, and understand how they are (unintentionally) enabling their child's overdependence on them.
-Sitting a kid in front of a webinar, expecting that will help them improve executive function skills. (That's called passive, virtual learning.)
-Presuming that strategies that may work for adults will work for them. (𝘋𝘰 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘩𝘰𝘸 𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘤𝘬𝘭𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘴 𝘐 𝘩𝘢𝘥 𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘶𝘱 𝘢𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘺 𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘮𝘺 𝘴𝘰𝘯 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘳, 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘭𝘦𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘶𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴? 🤯)

This is why I feel strongly about following the American Academy of Pediatrics ADHD treatment recommendations which (for children 6 and up) are medication management in conjunction with Parent Behavior Training, which I offer in Scaffolding Better Behavior & Self-Confidence.

I have a friend who is a Psychologist turned Coach for executives in leadership positions and he explains coaching this way:
"𝘓𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘱𝘺 𝘧𝘪𝘦𝘭𝘥, 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘢𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘧𝘪𝘦𝘭𝘥 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘴𝘪𝘨𝘯𝘪𝘧𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘯𝘵 "𝘲𝘶𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘰𝘭" 𝘪𝘴𝘴𝘶𝘦, 𝘨𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘭𝘰𝘸 𝘣𝘢𝘳𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘺."

I have referred adults with ADHD to coaches and they have found it to be helpful for them.
The most cost-effective and fastest way to help your child with ADHD build skills and improve behavior: