ADHD can have a profound impact on a student’s academic, social, and daily life. At Evoke, we are dedicated to providing students with the tools they need to achieve their academic and personal goals. Individuals with ADHD often experience difficulty with self-regulation that may surface differently for each individual learner. ADHD and impaired executive function go hand in hand, and most symptoms of ADHD are fundamentally just challenges with executive function. In academic terminology, ADHD is an official diagnosis and executive function impairment is not. This weakness in the brain’s self-management system is instead referred to as executive function dysfunction.
ADHD can impact a student’s learning in one or more of the following ways:
As a result, students often experience gaps in their learning that affect their academic performance. Some students with ADHD process information very slowly, while others may have trouble slowing down enough to process it accurately.
An ADHD coach is a “life coach” specifically trained to help students better manage their academic and personal lives. Evoke’s approach to coaching and tutoring is collaborative, supportive, and goal orientated. In close partnership with their student, an ADHD coach helps students to learn practical, research-informed skills and strategies, and to address their specific, personal needs and goals. Our coaches understand the biological underpinnings of the disorder, the core symptoms, and their comorbidity (or co-occurrence) with executive function. ADHD coaching addresses the academic, emotional, and interpersonal difficulties that are a result of these symptoms, and helps students find ways to overcome these challenges. Through individualized support, coaches help students concentrate on where they are now, where they want to be, and how they can get there.
Central to the coaching effort is regular contact. This facilitates weekly goal-setting, helping students identify the obstacles preventing them from achieving those goals, and creating a concrete plan of action to that end. We look to three categories to find solutions: executive functions, learning strategies, and supporting the student to be at their personal best. Ultimately, ADHD coaching increases self-awareness, allowing students to dig deeper and identify obstacles. Students themselves determine what it is they want, what they could improve on, and what they are willing to change in order to achieve that. To further these goals, our coaches also encourage their students to complete tasks between tutoring sessions. With a strong plan and regular check-ins to extend accountability, students are better able to realize their identified aims.
ADHD coaching is a practical intervention that specifically targets the core impairments of ADHD, such as planning, time management, goal setting, organization, and problem solving. Coaching is an inquiry-based approach, grounded in facilitating the achievement of a student’s stated goals, in a self-determined and self-directed manner. Coaches employ open-ended questions to elicit unique, individual patterns of responses, and through this process, engage students in self-regulatory behaviour and better equip them to initiate change in their own lives. Evoke coaches students with ADHD to help them understand the opportunities and challenges of their neurodiversity. Coaching helps to establish habits that lead to accomplishing goals, teach executive function skills, and manage any obstacles they might encounter along the way.
Students who engage in coaching:
Students who are ready for coaching are curious and open to learning new approaches and strategies. They must also want and be ready to make changes. As such, students must also be willing to spend the time necessary to co-create strategies for improving their habits and be willing to adhere to them to the best of their ability.