by Tim Kniffin, Edge ADHD Site Coordinator
Hector’s teacher was more than a little frustrated “Hector, I see you all around campus. I see you in classrooms, I see you out in the quad, and I see you playing basketball in the gym. Where I never see you is at your desk, doing your work. Can you help me understand this?”
“I just need to try harder to do my work,” Hector replied.
Better strategies for ADHD students
It was the “try harder” part that caught my attention. Students with ADHD often think that their problem is they aren’t trying hard enough. They think everyone around them has vastly superior levels of self-control, and if they just had more self discipline, they’d be able to get the work done.
They don’t realize is their ADHD brain is wired differently. While effort is always necessary for every student, students with ADHD need better strategies — smart ways of dealing with difficulties.
That’s why I was glad Hector decided to join the Edge ADHD Coaching Program at Highline Big Picture High School in Burien, WA. In our first meeting we talked about how Hector is plenty smart and has plenty of energy. We also focused on a plan for what he needed to get done:
- I had him list three specific goals he wanted to get done by the end of the week. I made sure they were specific goals –– chapters read, people to talked to.
- We looked at his schedule for the week and found 3 different blocks of time in which he could get those things done.
- I texted him a few times during the week- “How is the reading coming along, Hector?” He would tell me about his progress.
By the time I saw him the next week, he had two of his goals completed and the third he had a good start on. He didn’t get everything done, but he got a lot more done than we would have without coaching. With progress like this, week by week, I’m confident Hector can make significant gains in his schoolwork.
Smart, energetic AND focused with ADHD
The thing is, Hector is still very social and energetic. He still talks to everyone on campus and still participates in multiple athletic activities. But with a clear idea of specific steps to get his work done, he can also focus his attention on making progress towards his goals.
Just about everyone wants to hear “good job!” and “you did it!” With an ADHD coach by his side to help him learn the strategies he needs to stay on top of his work, Hector is hearing those words more and more these days.
Tim Kniffin is an Edge ADHD site coordinator at Highline Big Picture High School in Burien, WA The Highline program provides ADHD coaching to previously underserved students within a school-based setting.