“Q: Is 11 Too Young for an ADHD Coach?”
Coaching a child with ADHD is different from coaching a teenager or an adult. A child requires a more hands-on approach, while older groups rely on guidance.
Q: “What would you suggest for coaching an 11-year-old? Do you think that children this age are developmentally ready for coaching?”
I work with ages 13 and up, as I feel that this is when individuals are ready to begin making decisions for themselves about managing their time and prioritizing their needs, both academic and personal.
Up until that age, they have needed to rely on parents and teachers to provide external structure for them to manage. With the onset of puberty and the natural desire to become more independent, it is the perfect age to begin focusing on life skills that will make them more self-reliant and better able to create their own systems for becoming structured.
To be clear, not every teen may benefit from an ADHD coach at the outset. If the problem is disorganization, say, hiring a hands-on professional organize may help before a coach can.
That said, younger children certainly need to begin developing life skills, too. I believe that coaching can help them to accomplish this, yet I think the way in which it is done compared to teens is somewhat different.
My approach when working with a teenager is of course somewhat different than working with an adult. The same is true for coaching children. I believe the main difference to be a much more directive approach, which is contrary to the nature of coaching in general. As a coach, I facilitate my clients in making choices, yet I never choose for them. I only make suggestions when they are stuck.
Obviously with children you would be mostly making suggestions and directing them in their choices. Whether or not younger children are ready for coaching may be debatable, but they are ready for learning time management and organizational skills.
I also believe that it is important for children to learn how to set goals at a very young age. The experience and satisfaction of accomplishing a goal is beneficial for all ages, both young and old.
Even if the child’s goal is something as simple as making their bed each day, a great amount of satisfaction can be gained from achieving that goal, especially when it is recognized and appreciated by those they love and look up to.
Consider these resources to learn more about how coaching works for these age groups:
- Coaching Students with Executive Skills Deficits by Peg Dawson, Ed. M, and Richard Guare
- Study Power: Study Skills to Improve Your Learning and Your Grades by William Luckie and Wood Smethurst
- Cognitive Strategy Instruction for Middle and High School Students by Eileen Wood, Vera E. Woloshyn and Teena Willoughby
Updated on December 27, 2019