Struggling with ADHD: ‘I Almost Didn’t Make It Through High School’

Posted by | Oct 10, 2013

Help arrived in the form of a ADHD coach. But was Rob really ready to make life changes?

“I Almost Didn’t Make It Through High School”

A lot of our focus was on trying to improve his organizational skills and time management. So when it came to long-term projects, we'd talk about ways he was going to break things down to get the work done in time. It's professional nagging, but done in a way that is a partnership. The child benefits because he feels he has to be accountable to a third party, and the parents no longer have to be the naggers, so the relationships improve.

When Rob finally disclosed his drug and alcohol problem, we had been working together for six months. He apologized for keeping it from me. I simply said, "Thanks for sharing and are you ready to continue?"

Sometimes I can tell when someone is using, but with Rob I couldn't. Although, once I found out, it made a lot of sense, since we had really struggled to get on track for six months. When he stopped using drugs and alcohol, there was a significant shift in the effectiveness of the sessions, and his schoolwork improved too. He was already in a program for his drug use, so I could continue to focus on school issues.

What a coach does is to put structure in place for someone whose brain doesn't do it naturally. Being accountable to someone else is the key to the client's success. Great, supportive parents are also important. A coach must never be judgmental. You might be questioned, but the client never sees you as a threat. It's a true partnership - I'm not a parental figure, not a therapist, not a teacher.

Rob: Jodi showed me little ways to cope. She recommended I listen to classical music and Gregorian chants when I study. All of my friends are like, dude, you're weird, you listen to Bach to do your homework? But I know it stimulates something in my mind that puts me into school mode.

Jodi also taught me how to use ADHD as an advantage. She encouraged me to use spontaneity - an ADHD trait - to find things I'm passionate about. I'm creative, but I always got C's and D's in English. For me, writing was hard until my senior year, when I wrote a paper about my grandfather. He was running a gun on a destroyer, and the gun got jammed and killed his friend. I wrote about what the experience must have been like from his point of view. I got an A. I wasn't smoking anymore and I was taking my medicine. I was able to write the paper in an hour. It was unbelievable that I could focus so well.

Writing that paper helped things click for me. By eleventh grade, I wanted to change, but I didn't know how. By twelfth grade, thanks to Jodi, I had the tools to know how to change. I feel so blessed to have all these people who care about me - people who I had turned my back on in anger. I became a Christian and I'm active in church now. I work with inner-city kids as part of a church program. I tell them where it's at and that there's a lot more to life than dealing or doing drugs.

For kids out there like me, there are so many ways to take that first step. A coach definitely helps, and so do supportive parents. But the question you have to ask is 'Do you want to change?' Just because you have ADHD doesn't mean that you can't succeed. People with ADHD are people who take risks.

After three-and-a-half years of coaching, Rob no longer self-medicates with marijuana, and he's closer than ever with his parents. He's gained 40 pounds in muscle, thanks to daily weight-training workouts, and believes that regular exercise is a must for anyone with ADHD. Rob also improved his grades in his senior year, and maintained a B average at a community college he attended for two years. Always ready for a challenge, he applied to the University of Hawaii - and was accepted. He'll begin this fall as a second-semester sophomore studying marketing. He says that the next time you're in Hawaii, look him up... if he's not in class, he'll probably be surfing. The tide has definitely turned for Rob.



Evoke has been absolutely essential to the academic success of all three of our children. Evoke’s skilled staff and tutors were able to assess and remediate gaps and challenges that... read more

Laura Harvey Avatar Laura Harvey
November 17, 2023

Vic has been an amazing support for our teen. I catch bits of their sessions together and Vic is so compassionate, engaging, practical and intentional. Our teen truly... read more

Bruce Sellery Avatar Bruce Sellery
October 22, 2023

This tutoring has been a game changer for my son. The staff are fabulous; kind and patient with him and his learning needs. Highly recommend! And we love Lea!

Amanda Tulk-O'Reilly Avatar Amanda Tulk-O'Reilly
October 6, 2022

My son was diagnosed with ADHD-Combined, and we were very fortunate to discover Evoke Learning. Over the past 1.5 years, Evoke Learning has been instrumental in helping my... read more

JT Avatar JT
April 6, 2022

I worked with Richard at Evoke over several months and he was immensely helpful. Besides being professional and effective, Richard was very compassionate and empathetic. During my time working with... read more

Bree Avatar Bree
April 6, 2022

My son was diagnosed with ADHD plus an LD and he was having difficulty with his high school classes. After searching for tutors for my son and coming up... read more

Trecia Downes Avatar Trecia Downes
April 6, 2022

Our experience with Evoke has been fantastic. Everyone from the administrative staff, to the assessment staff to the tutors are incredible professional, and knowledgeable. The virtual experience was great, my... read more

Anne-Marie Gabrini Avatar Anne-Marie Gabrini
April 6, 2022

My name is Jessica and I’ve had Richard as my academic coach for the last 1.5 years. I am completing my Master’s and as someone with ADHD, I was very... read more

Kimberley Gemmell Avatar Kimberley Gemmell
April 6, 2022

I went to Evoke for several months for ADHD counselling. I had Richard Comeau, who was unbelievably helpful with improving my work ethic, organizational skills, motivation, and note taking/studying strategies.... read more

Evan Applebaum Avatar Evan Applebaum
April 6, 2022

The reading program at Evoke helped me feel empowered and strengthen my reading. This program truly has impacted my life in such a positive way. This program not only helped... read more

Vanessa Garritano Avatar Vanessa Garritano
April 6, 2022

I had the chance to work with Richard this year on improving my learning skills and over that time I've become a different person with a completely different mindset on... read more

Naomi Tomeo Avatar Naomi Tomeo
April 6, 2022

My 14 year old son has been working with Andrew for a couple of years to get help with math and science and he loves it so much my 16... read more

Dorothy Steel Avatar Dorothy Steel
April 6, 2022

I worked with Richard at Evoke over several months and he was immensely helpful. Besides being professional and effective, Richard was very compassionate and empathetic. During my time working with... read more

Bree Lawrence Avatar Bree Lawrence
November 22, 2021

I feel so much gratitude for the services of Evoke Learning. Our child developed reading skills during our time with Evoke which was a huge milestone. Dollar for... read more

Lee May Nikoletos Avatar Lee May Nikoletos
April 6, 2021

A friend recommended Evoke after I shared concerns with my daughter’s reading development. She had used Evoke more than five years ago and still raves about the positive impact for... read more

Shalini Mitchell Avatar Shalini Mitchell
April 6, 2021

I have nothing but positive things to say about our Evoke Learning experience. From the initial phone call, to the intake meeting to, in our instance, the weekly sessions, there... read more

Mike Dietrich Avatar Mike Dietrich
April 6, 2021

Kate is quite possibly the most helpful person I have worked with in the 20+ years of managing my ADHD. She is down to earth, intelligent, compassionate and truly incredible... read more

Emmett Johnston Avatar Emmett Johnston
April 6, 2021

I had the pleasure of being mentored by Richard. He taught me how to maximize my school performance, and to learn how to work with my ADHD and learning... read more

Cameron Oland Avatar Cameron Oland
April 6, 2021

I’ve had nothing but positive experiences at Evoke, having worked with two of their coaches (Aaron and Richard). With their professionalism, kindness, and expertise, I’ve been making real progress on... read more

C. James Avatar C. James
April 6, 2021

Our daughter has learning disabilities and ADHD. When she began having difficulties during university, Kate Lloyd was recommended. Kate’s counselling was excellent and enabled our daughter to graduate... read more

Marilyn Gillespie Avatar Marilyn Gillespie
April 6, 2020

I have been working with Evoke Learning for my ADHD for about five years. Before I started working with my tutor I was having a lot of difficulties at school... read more

Keegan Gardner-Elmer Avatar Keegan Gardner-Elmer
April 6, 2020

As a Mom of a student with learning disabilities, I highly recommend the coaching and tutoring services of Denise Harding and the staff at both the Evoke Learning Aurora and... read more

Glenna Davis Avatar Glenna Davis
April 6, 2020

****5 STARS HANDS DOWN!!!!**** Kate Lloyd, the owner of Evoke Learning- is one of the most amazing and outstanding human beings that I have ever met in my life.... read more

Malaika Jackson Avatar Malaika Jackson
April 6, 2020

It is difficult to sum up how much Evoke’s services have helped me to reach my goals and realize my full potential at university and beyond. From my in-person coaching... read more

Carli G Avatar Carli G
April 6, 2020

I have been using Evoke's services for the past two years while being in university. I have to say, Kate (the owner) has gone ABOVE and BEYOND for me! She... read more

Hailey Merten Avatar Hailey Merten
April 6, 2020

I worked with Evoke's learning for helping my niece. She wanted to be in the baseball team and we weren't ready to allow her as she is an ADHD kid.... read more

Linda Wells Avatar Linda Wells
April 6, 2020

We have made Evoke our go-to resource for several years. One of our children had been diagnosed with a learning difference and ADHD, in grade three, and needed a support... read more

Anouchka Freybe Avatar Anouchka Freybe
April 6, 2020

I had the pleasure of working as a coach and mentor at Evoke Learning. I was very impressed with the quality of training I received by Kate Lloyd, and have... read more

Uzma Abdullah Avatar Uzma Abdullah
April 6, 2020

I would give 10 stars if I could! Kate Lloyd is amazing at what she does. I had always struggled to take tests through University and Graduate school so... read more

Jaclyn Clarkson Avatar Jaclyn Clarkson
April 6, 2020

I hired Evoke Learning to help coach and organize my child when he went off to university. They did an excellent job and were very professional with their services, invoicing,... read more

Diana Lawrence Avatar Diana Lawrence
April 6, 2020

We have had the greatest pleasure of Learning about Evoke. They have been phenomenal working along with my daughter. Denise was a great mentor for my daughter... read more

Daniela Saker Avatar Daniela Saker
April 6, 2020

My daughter has been with Evoke Learning and with the academic coaching program for two years. In that time, I can say that she’s really become much stronger in her... read more

Lily McClelland Avatar Lily McClelland
April 6, 2020

Great coaching services for students with ADHD and/or executive function deficits. Denise is organized, structured and holds her clients accountable for their 'homework'. I highly recommend Evoke to parents who... read more

B “onekgirl” K Avatar B “onekgirl” K
April 6, 2020

I can say both my boys used Evoke Learning to sharpen their study skills and benefitted from the coaching they received. I would recommend Evoke Learning when a child needs... read more

Lily Polemidiotis Avatar Lily Polemidiotis
April 6, 2020

My Son Marco has been going to Evoke for English and Math, and we are so happy with his progress. He has worked with Bridgitt and Mohammed and they... read more

Amy Gesualdo Avatar Amy Gesualdo
April 6, 2020