Foundation Established by Flexcar Founder to Provide Professional Coaches to Students with ADD/ADHD
SEATTLE, October 1, 2008 – As school starts each fall, many parents and teachers prepare once again for the academic, social and personal challenges that nearly ten percent of all young people face due to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Approximately one-half of those students are left undiagnosed despite the familiar symptoms: lack of focus, easily distracted, carelessness, forgetfulness, disorganization, impulsive and hyperactive behavior that bothers others in the classroom and at home.
Too often the result is low self-esteem, anxiety or depression that may end in higher than average dropout rates, substance abuse, risk taking, and even criminal behavior.
Neil Peterson, founder of Flexcar, the award-winning car-sharing company, and the former CEO of public transportation agencies in Seattle, Oakland, and Los Angeles, knows the challenges of ADHD all too well. “When my two children were diagnosed in their mid teens with ADHD,” Peterson explains, “I asked the doctor what caused it. He said it was hereditary. That was like a punch to the gut. Suddenly the challenges I had faced throughout my life, and those that were affecting my kids, made sense.”
One of Peterson’s strategies for coping with ADHD over the years has been to work with personal coaches. A common tactic in the corporate world, coaches trained to work with ADHD helped Peterson and his son and daughter stay focused, reflect on successes and failures, and set and monitor progress toward achieving academic, personal and professional goals. “Personal coaching, when delivered correctly by a professional trained in ADHD, takes into account the entire individual and helps him or her develop fully with an increased sense of purpose, happiness, and self-esteem,” says Peterson.
After selling Flexcar, Peterson established the Edge Foundation to ensure that ADHD coaching is available to all students regardless of financial means by providing scholarship grants and loans for those in need. In addition, the Foundation aims to be a central source of information on ADHD for parents, young people, schools and coaches as well as policymakers.
Peterson’s new book, Embracing the Edge: Stories of Tenacity and Personal Power, is making its debut at the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association convention on September 15 in Portland. A collection of personal inspirational stories, the memoir recounts how Peterson overcame his own physical and learning disabilities to become a successful entrepreneur, corporate executive and public servant. Included is the heart-stopping story about the five-person hiking party, led by Peterson, that survived being swept away by a rogue wave and trapped for many hours in a cave in June 2007 on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The story describes the ordeal with his two children, a nephew and a friend of fending off hypothermia and panic as they struggled to stay calm and focused while searching for an escape route.
One of the most highly visible examples of personal coaching is eight-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Michael Phelps. “To those with ADHD,” Peterson states, “Michael Phelps’s phenomenal accomplishment at the Summer Olympics is a beacon of pride and hope. His fierce determination and single-minded focus shows what great coaching and family support can do.”
According to Peterson, the bottom line is clear, “students with ADHD need help and schools and colleges need help keeping these students from dropping out. Coaching is not the only intervention for ADHD. It requires a comprehensive effort on many fronts. But personal coaching contributes directly not only to improved academic performance but also to enhanced social functioning and increased self-esteem. That’s what I hope to accomplish with the Edge Foundation.”
All profits from the sale of Embracing the Edge will go toward carrying out the vision of The Edge Foundation. For more information, visit www.edgefoundation.org.
Contact: Neil Peterson, 206.910.7515, npeterson @ edgefoundation.org