Coaching for ADD/ADHD involves tackling issues with Executive function -- an area of much concern for ADD'ers. Ari Petroff, our ADHD/ADD coach, presents this document to explain more.
"A child or an adult with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) might be hyperactive, inattentive, and/or impulsive. Clinicians have always understood hyperactivity and impulsivity. The understanding of inattention, though, has shifted from primarily “the inability to stay on task” to a broader concept called executive function disorder (EFD), which involves a pattern of chronic difficulties in executing daily tasks." -- ADDitude Magazine
Executive function is often difficult to understand. There are differing definitions and many component parts. A person can have one or more of the functions not working correctly. This is called Executive Dysfunction (EDF). The following are definitions and examples of the component parts of EDF.
- Goal Setting refers to the ability to set goals that are realistic and attainable.
Example: Wanting to play many sports but realizing that it is important to set a successful goal and choosing one per season.
- Initiating involves starting a boring job. When you love something, your chemistry changes to allow for easy starting. It is only difficult to start the jobs that are not intrinsically interesting.
Example: Learning what makes starting homework easier, e.g., promising a reward such as playing an electronic game afterwards.
- Prioritizing is understanding the relative importance of all the items within a group.
Example: Deciding to do homework even when playing an electronic game is more fun.
- Pacing is the ability to establish and adjust rate of work so that the goal is met by specified completion time or date. Pacing is using your awareness of time to control your actions.
Example: Knowing how long it takes to do your homework.
- Planning is the ability to break down the process of accomplishing a goal into efficient steps that can fit into your daily schedule.
Example: Being able to break down a long-term project into individual homework assignments.
- Sequencing is understanding the relative order of things. It is knowing the order of the steps needed to accomplish a task
Example: Putting ideas in order for a book report or term paper.
- Organizing is the ability to arrange items in an efficient and easily retrievable manner.
Example: Organizing is the ability to keep bookbag organized.
- Shifting Flexibly is the ability to change from one activity or idea to another with ease.
Example: Being able to easily put away books from one subject and shift to the next subject without any difficulty.
- Using Feedback is being aware of your impact on the environment and using that information to alter your behavior.
Example: Noticing people staring when you stand to close and moving back.
- Inhibiting is the ability to know that you need to inhibit. ADHD frequently imitates this but the ADHD person without EDF is aware that they are not able to inhibit.
Example: Being aware of the need to raise your hand before speaking in class.
- Self –Monitoring is the ability to maintain awareness of yourself in your environment.
Example: Knowing how loud to speak when in class.
- Executing is completing all the details necessary to finish a job.
Example: Finishing your project and handing it in.
Tips and Tricks
- Know what you do not know, e.g. what EDF is and how it impacts you.
- Become self-aware.
- Learn to talk to yourself about what is going on around you
- Get a notebook and write down what the problems are that interfere with your life.
- Choose the most important thing to work on by what is the most serious problem.
- Get a clue when you are not clear what to do.
- Next time you make a mistake, find someone to help you understand why.
- Problem solving is a difficult task for people with EDF.
- Have an assortment of people available to give you strategies.
- Remember that if nothing changes, nothing changes. This takes work!
- Go to an ADHD coach when you are stuck and cannot figure out what to do.
(c) Daniel G. Pruitt, CPCC, PCC and Sheryl K. Pruitt, M.Ed., ET/P, 2007
Read more about our ADHD/ADD coach : Ari Petroff