The Non-Stereotypical ADD and ADHD Child

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve been working with Kim for the past two years. She defeats many of the ADD and ADHD stereotypes. Kim is one of the most popular girls in her school, never gets into trouble, is organized, works very diligently and respects the rules of her house.

So why does Kim need help? It started when she was a freshman at one of the most difficult high schools in Illinois. While Kim worked her rear-end off, her grades began to slip. She has two very involved parents that sprung into action. Why was Kim struggling so badly? What changed so drastically from her strong middle school experiences to problems in high school?

Her parents had her evaluated and Kim was diagnosed with ADHD. This was a shock to Kim and her family. Like I mentioned above, many of Kim’s traits defeated perceptions about ADD/ADHD. However, her family recognized the importance of addressing the issue head-on.

When I began working with the family, they were still putting into place interventions including medication. But the difficult part was getting the school to recognize her difficulties. Because Kim wasn’t a squeaky wheel, the school was less receptive to offering her accommodations. Plus, Kim didn’t want to feel like she was different. This presented a difficult side-bar to the whole process.

We met with the educational team and I explained my role and how ADD/ADHD impacts even the most surprising of children. With Kim, I told her that needing extra supports doesn’t make her any different. It was most important to get Kim on-board to the process and better understanding her needs. Once this was accomplished, the school reluctantly gave her the services she needed. While I would like to say that everyone involved was wonderful in the process, I would be lying. Kim’s mother is an amazing advocate for her daughter and the school quickly realized that she wouldn’t take no for an answer. Instead of yelling, Kim’s mother was very calculated in her communication and sought my feedback on her approach. Trusting professionals is a key to making every process more manageable.

I always advise my parents to check in before reacting to a situation. It is better to take one’s time instead of reacting. School personnel can be very territorial, so the key is to not make everything an attack. Even if you’re working with the most unreasonable teachers or administrators, it is important to stay in control. Kim’s mother did so and it paid-off. Kim now receives the services she needs and has many allies on the staff that help advocate for her needs. It was because Kim’s mother approached each bump-in-the-road calculated and poised, and individuals respected her intentions.

For more information on my ADD, ADHD and Executive Functioning coaching, please visit www.adhdcoachchicago.com. To learn more information about some of the other services I provide, please visit www.carrolleducationalgroup.com and www.iepexperts.com. I can be found on Twitter at ADHDEFCoach. You can also find me on FacebookGoogle Plus and Tumblr. My good friend and fellow ADD/ADHD Coach Tara McGillicuddy invites me as a regular guest on ADD/ADHD Support Talk Radio. Tara does many wonderful things and you should check out her website here. Feel free to email me at jonathan@adhdefcoach.com or call 773.888.ADHD (2343) with any additional questions.

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