The story behind ADHD youth coaching

Edge is pleased to present this guest post from Jodi Sleeper-Triplett.  Jodi has been a key partner in developing the founding principles of the Edge Foundation. She has trained all of our coaches in a method that has been proven to positively impact student  We thought you might like to hear how she got involved with ADHD coaching and what inspires her to keep spreading the news that ADHD coaching makes positive changes in the lives of young people with ADHD.

My inspiration:

When my son was in elementary school, I set aside one day a week to volunteer in his classroom.

In the third and fourth grades, children are told that they need to learn to pay attention, stay in their seats, behave appropriately, and follow instructions. It is considered grade appropriate and age appropriate to do so. Well, anyone who understands ADHD in children knows that this is not easily accomplished and that grade and age don’t equate to capability.

Many times, when I arrived at my son’s school to help out, certain students were identified for me to work with one-on-one outside the confines of the classroom. In effect, I was coaching the students with ADHD, learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and the like, while supporting their learning. I found myself making a connection with those students who did not get the attention needed in the classroom to achieve at the level of their peers.

JST Coaching beginnings:

When I opened my coaching business in 1996, ADHD coaching for adults was still a new concept. In conversations with adult clients with ADHD, I repeatedly heard “I wish I had a coach in high school,” or “Where were you when I was in college?” That’s why I decided to focus my coaching on children, adolescents, and young adults with ADHD to help young people reach their potential with fewer struggles than the previous generations.

Within a few years, business was booming and I was receiving coaching requests from around the globe (no kidding)!  A few local coaches and educators asked me to train them in my coaching methodology for youth with ADHD; and JST Coaching coach training programs were born.

Creating the flagship course, Coaching Teens & College Students with ADHD, was a labor of love. I had learned so much about ADHD and related difficulties from my young clients and their families and had the privilege of watching my clients learn, grow and succeed after protestations of “I can’t do that!”

When it came time to create an official course manual (followed by my first book, Empowering Youth with ADHD) I had a huge amount of information at my fingertips:  ADHD, executive dysfunction, family dynamics, teen angst, college transition, life coaching, ADHD specific coaching skills, organizational tools, student and parent feedback and more.

Unique approach:

Coaching Teens & College Students with ADHD is a one-of-a-kind training program focusing on the intricacies of ADHD youth coaching. What makes it unique is that the coaching model is designed to coach the young person in all life areas, not just around academic issues. This is a critical distinction in this coach training program, in addition to the in-depth training around ADHD, EF and LD to help coaches understand how their clients learn most effectively and tailor the coaching to meet the needs of each client.

How it works:

JST trained youth coaches, including all Edge Foundation coaches, look to the young person to provide insight on what is and is not working for them in all life areas, including academics. In addition, they gather information from the parents and from the client’s professional team (with permission), before guiding the young person to set goals and create an individualized coaching plan, called a PCA (Personal Coaching Agreement).  By taking this global approach to youth coaching, we are able to help our clients see how their day-to-day life choices impact their ability to succeed in life.

One student may need to create a routine for taking his medication on a regular basis, while another may want to block out time for sports, friends and schoolwork each week.  Coaches trained in the JST coaching model have the tools and knowledge to effect positive change in the lives of young people with ADHD.  When you hire an Edge Foundation coach, you can rest assured that you are getting a well-trained coach for youth with ADHD.

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2 Responses

  1. educator

    I am a tutor, and I find that many of the children that are diagnosed with ADHD are hands on learners or very active children. When our society was mostly ranchers and farmers, these children were highly valued. But now that we are mostly sedimentary, these children are treated like something is wrong with them…It is not the child that is lacking, it is the way they are taught that is lacking.

    I fit the teaching to the child, and these children learn very well under my care…no drugs needed.

    • Peggy -- Edge blogger

      Those children are lucky to have you in their court!

      While there has been some research that indicates our move away from an agrarian society contributes to ADHD in our culture, it’s more complicated than that. There is still a lot of controversy and stigma associated with having ADHD and deciding whether or not to take medication. If you are interested in learning more on the topic, I’d recommend reading Dr. Hallowell’s response to NYT Ritalin Gone Wrong/.

      From the article:
      “It is a statement cited so endlessly as to become an accepted truth that we live in a society that believes all of life’s problems can be solved with a pill. But have you ever met anyone who actually does believe that? I haven’t. Furthermore, 19 out of 20 people who come to me for help for themselves or their child adamantly oppose the use of medication. Only when they fully understand the medical facts do many of them change their minds. Far being predisposed to the use of medication, the people who come to see me are predisposed in precisely the opposite direction.

      “Furthermore, no enlightened clinician prescribes the medication and leaves it at that, allowing the parent and child to imagine they have “something inherently defective in them.” I go to great lengths not only to present the medical facts but also to create a framework of understanding that describes ADHD in strength-based terms. I tell the child that he is lucky in that he has a race car for a brain, a Ferrari engine. I tell him he has the potential to grow into a champion. I tell him (assuming it is a he, but he could just as easily be a she) that with effort he can achieve greatness in his life, and then I tell him about the billionaires, CEO’s, Pulitzer Prize winners and professional athletes with ADHD I’ve treated over the years. But I also tell him he does face one major problem. While he has a race car for a brain, he has bicycle brakes. I tell him I am a brake specialist, and one of the many tools I can use to strengthen his brakes is medication. I remind him he will have to do much more than take the medication to strengthen his brakes, but, if we’re lucky, the medication will help him in that effort.”