Does Your Child with ADHD Need Help with Homework?

Are you looking for ways to help your child or teen handle the daily struggle with homework? The struggle (theirs and yours) is real. It may look like a lack of motivation, or defiance, forgetfulness or even a learning disability but in reality, it is probably their Executive Function skills.

The Homework Help for ADHD covers seven Executive Function skills that have the biggest impact on homework and includes information on what to look for and plenty of strategies to help compensate.

Laine Dougherty - Notebook - Homework Help for ADHD - blue #1

Due to the current circumstances and requirements for social distancing, our classes and individual services will be conducted via Zoom or Google Hangouts.

7 Benefits of Coaching

change buttonWouldn’t it be nice if changing your life was as easy as hitting a button? Last month’s blog talked about things you could do to create a new habit or change something about your life. But sometimes it takes more than “willpower” or reminders on your phone, it takes help. Help can come from a friend, family member, coworker, coach, book, or internet. It depends on what you are looking for as to which type of help you might need.

If you are serious about making a change or developing a new goal for yourself or deciding to finally get organized, then a coach could be beneficial. There are all kinds of coaches and it can be difficult to figure out what kind of coach is best for you and for what you want to change. First you want to check that the coach has been through an approved program with actual coaching practice time. Then based on what you want to do, pick a coach that specializes in that field. It might be a health coach, business coach, life coach or organizer coach, etc. The list goes on but I want to focus on an Organizer Coach.

An Organizer Coach has experience in ADHD, organizing and coaching. This trifecta of knowledge combines together to help you better understand yourself, develop goals, implement strategies, manage responsibilities and empowers you to live the life you dream of.  As a COC (Certified Organizer Coach) I believe that you have all the answers inside you just waiting to get out. I believe you are creative and resourceful and if asked the right questions, can come to develop a goal, strategy or plan that nourishes your life.

Here are seven ways an Organizer Coach can help you change your dreams into reality:

  1. Help you pursue your goals and dreams by helping you determine the specifics and breaking them down into manageable steps.
  2. Can help you understand ADHD and how it is impacting your life – and the odds are it is impacting your life.
  3. Helps you figure out how to manage your time and yourself (ex. strategies to stop procrastination, set boundaries and plan your priorities).
  4. Holds you accountable for what you want to do (you determine the how, when and why you need to feel successful).
  5. Provides support and acts as a sounding board while you work through it. Sometimes, things are not as simple as they appear and coaching can help you dive deeper into understanding yourself and hold up a non-judgmental mirror to help you reframe your thinking.
  6. Develop personalized strategies and systems. If you have tried before and failed with systems or strategies it is important to figure out what “actually” happened and find another way that compensates for that.
  7. Empowers you to live the life you dream of. Getting some guidance can bring joy (with a little bit of work) into your life that you had previously only wished for.

Does reading this motivate you? Are you ready to make a change and improve your life? Then click here for more information about our group coaching class starting soon.

What is Executive Function?

Thinking skill posterExecutive dysfunction or executive function deficit is defined by Web MD as a “set of mental skills that help you get things done.” It is a simplified definition but when you break a task down into all the components needed to complete it, it is easier to see how having one or more weak areas can stop the progress. Just take a look at the processes and skills that are needed for “thinking” in the graphic to the left. That does not take into account the other skills needed to actually get something done. These executive function skills develop in the prefrontal cortex of the brain which continues to develop until around age 25. However, these skills seem to be really important during the teen age years, yet are not quite developed enough to be depended upon.

Executive function skills help you:

  • Manage time and be realistic about what you can and cannot do in the time available
  • Regulate your emotions and behaviors to avoid saying or doing the wrong thing
  • Determine what you should pay attention to and what you should not
  • Switch focus based on the feedback you receive about the effectiveness of what you are doing
  • Plan and organize in a logical, methodical way to complete tasks and thoughts.
  • Remember what you need to remember at the right time
  • Allows you to make decisions based on your past experiences and avoid repeating your mistakes

In school, executive dysfunction can look like missing homework, forgetting to study for tests, doing poorly, spending hours on homework, or not being able to find things they know they have. One thing executive dysfunction is not, is the attitude of not caring. Most students really do care and cannot understand why they can’t “remember” things. They are frustrated and feel less capable than their peers. Self-esteem suffers and unless they get some help they can spend their school years continuing to do things the same way….and getting the same (lower than they are capable of) grades.

The worst part is that they may continue to think that they are not “smart” and avoid opportunities to stretch themselves for the rest of their lives.

What’s a parent to do? We often try to “show” our children how they “should” do things, or we wonder out loud how they could have done…x, y or z (how could you…what were you thinking…why didn’t you….etc). Although well meaning, these approaches are often met with resistance and your teen may internalize the guilt and judgment that you didn’t realize came across.

It’s time to take you out of the picture. Get students to take a deeper look at what is happening and then coach them to design strategies to work for the way they think. Traditional methods often do not work because the habits are not built into them. Teens are “told” what to do and often do not take the time to think about whether it works for them or not.

The most common executive skills that affect academics are:

  • planning/organizing thoughts, ideas and processes – difficulty writing essays in a thoughtful, organized manner, or completing projects, developing a study plan
  • working memory – holding onto all the information needed
  • cognitive flexibility- ability to shift thinking and or behavior when stuck
  • focus – determine what to focus on and what to ignore
  • controlling emotions – keeping them in check even when frustration builds
  • taking action – doing what you know needs to be done
  • getting started – taking the first step is often the toughest
  • task completion

If your teen struggles with any of these skills, it may be time to try coaching. Coaches believe that individuals have all the skills and knowledge they need to solve their own challenges by guiding them to think deeper and more creatively about them through guided questions. Teens often don’t take the time or feel they have the power to make changes that will work for the way they think. Isn’t it time they took back that power? Our group coaching classes help students become proactive, design strategies and test them, and learn about how they think with a small group of like-minded peers.

Make 2015 Your Year

Only a few days left in January…..if you made a New Year’s resolution or set a new goal, research says you may have given up by now. Has that happened to you? We all start off with good intentions but then somehow we slip back into our “old” ways. Without realizing it our habits take over and by the time we realize it, we’ve slipped.

What if you had a way to interrupt those ingrained habits? You see the problem with trying to do the same thing is that the same problems appear. If it is a new habit we are trying to create then motivation can be hard to find sometimes, or we don’t have what we need, or life interrupts and something else becomes more urgent (notice I didn’t say more important).  Has that ever happened to you? The result is a slow and steady draining of your energy whether you realize it or not.

Without understanding why that resolution or new goal is important to you, you are only seeing the fact that you didn’t do “x”. You are not seeing the big picture of how accomplishing that goal is going to make you feel, or what affect it will have on you and your family. You only see that you didn’t do it. In coaching we say that you are losing sight of the “big agenda” which simply put is who you are becoming. Why did you pick that resolution or goal? Who do you have to become to realize it?

No matter how big your “why” is, you can improve your odds of accomplishing something with a little help from your friends. Well, not really your friends as sometimes they have a tendency to “go easy” on you and let you off the hook if you whine enough about the crazy week you’ve had. You want a coach or accountability partner that will empathize but will also ask you to think deeper about what got in the way and then nonjudgmentally support you and guide you back to your big “why.”

Group coaching is a great way to get that kind of support and accountability. A small group of like-minded women working together to support each other can do amazing things. If you’re ready to make this “your year”, then join our group starting the end of February. Call or email me today as the group is limited to 6 and will be held in the Norwell/Hingham area. (781) 659-0513 or laine@laineslogic.com. Do it for yourself!

Exercising – What's stopping you?

Sometimes when you least expect it, someone says something that really resonates with you and your life changes. I recently had this experience and it has made such a difference in my life that I wanted to share it with you.

I am in a coach training program and as part of our training, we practice coaching and being coached.  Each week we need to present an issue that is affecting us. My coaching issue was the fact that I just can’t seem to get on the treadmill regularly. Sounds simple doesn’t it? You might think blocking out a specific time each day or rewarding myself when I do it would be helpful, but no. These were all suggestions I came up with and then dismissed because I had tried them before and failed.

Then my coach asked me how I felt about each part (beginning, middle and end) of exercising. I realized I don’t mind the treadmill, once I am on it. The part I do not like is getting ready. It seems I always forget something (heart monitor, water, sneakers, mp3 player, etc) and that means another trip downstairs. Sometimes I could be up and down the stairs three or four times.

That’s when my coach asked me how much time it takes to get ready. My answer was 3-5 minutes. Here’s the revelation. Three to five minutes (of disorganization) was stopping me from working out regularly!  Three minutes of aggravation stopped 45 minutes of fitness. I was stunned!

A quick analysis of the disorganization showed a number of ways I could make that 3 minutes easier on myself. I now have everything except my water upstairs. I bring the water upstairs with me after breakfast. Now I don’t need to go downstairs for anything and getting on the treadmill is almost enjoyable! It is certainly easier and less painful. What part of the whole exercise routine is preventing you from getting fit? Let me know what changes you make so that 2010 is the year you get and stay fit by using the comment box below.

Thanks for reading.