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Celebrity designer Ty Pennington, host of ABC’s popular Extreme Makeover – Home Edition and Trading Spaces programs, was diagnosed with ADHD as a teenager and now talks openly and publiclyabout his experience managing the disorder.  He is an advocate for early ADHD treatment and wants to help other kids and families understand that it’s possible to live a productive and fulfilled life with ADHD.

In the past, treatment for kids with ADHD mostly centered around medication; but today, ADHD coaching offers children and teens a highly effective method to develop the skills they need to succeed in school and later in the workplace.  The Institute for Advancement of ADHD Coaching defines ADHD coaching as:

. . . a designed partnership that combines coaching skills with knowledge of Attention Deficit Disorder, a neurobiological condition. The coaching process enhances quality of life, improves performance and supports growth and change. The purpose of AD/HD coaching is to provide support, structure and accountability.  Coach and client collaboratively explore strengths, talents, tools and new learning to increase self-awareness and personal empowerment. Together they design strategies and actions and monitor progress by creating accountability in line with goals and aspirations.

An ADHD coach is not a therapist.  The Attention Deficit Disorder Association provides this clarification:

[A] therapist helps a person with emotional problems and growth (which may stem from having a disorder such as AD/HD). An AD/HD coach works specifically with AD/HD issues helping the AD/HD person learn ways to set realistic goals and reach them.

ADHD coaching for high school and college students can encompass many elements, including:

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

The video below provides a brief example of how ADHD coaching works.

The costs for ADHD coaching can vary considerably and will usually depend on the frequency and length of coaching sessions.  There are programs to help parents with the cost of coaching.  For example, the Edge Foundation offers coaching scholarships to families that qualify.

Ty Pennington’s ADHD was not diagnosed until he went to college.  In interviews, he has recalled the impact it had on his self esteem.  As his story illustrates, however, ADHD does not have to be a career blocker.  Living with ADHD can be a struggle, but coaching at an earlier age for teens with ADHD can make their road to personal fulfillment smoother.