INTEGRATION OF AN ADHD/EXECUTIVE FUNCTION COACHING MODEL TO SUPPORT STUDENTS WHO LEARN DIFFERENTLY
Commonwealth Academy is a college preparatory day school for average to gifted students who benefit from small classes and instruction designed to address various learning styles, including those students who have organizational, attention, or learning differences. As a leading institution educating students who learn differently and whose curriculum is embedded with strategies to prepare them to excel in higher education and life, we are continually engaged in forward thinking and determining what skills will be required for this population to succeed in the next chapter of their life.
Our experience has shown that students who have finely tuned their executive functioning skills are most successful in their post-secondary lives. Without executive functioning skills students struggle with the ability to plan for the future, follow routines, shift between daily demands, and appropriately respond in stressful situations. Through the formal integration of an ADHD/Executive Function Coaching Model, Commonwealth Academy’s teachers are implementing in their student support the skills and abilities students require to meet the demands encountered in life after high school. Students are able to engage the future with resiliency, compensatory strategies, and the intrinsic motivation that will allow them to succeed.
ADHD/EF coaching uses the same mind-set and techniques as life coaching. It also draws on current knowledge of the deficits associated with the disability to increase the structure of the coaching relationship that is co-developed by each client and coach (Sleeper-Triplett, 2010). Clients agree to be accountable to their coach by providing frequent updates about their goal-directed efforts in between actual sessions. These exchanges are believed to help clients to maintain focus on their goals and motivation for working on them (Parker & Boutelle, 2009; Quinn et al., 2000). Research on EF skills coaching in clients with ADHD in postsecondary settings has found that coaching has a positive impact on participants’ self-regulation through improved use of their executive functioning skills. (Hoffman, Parker, Sawilowsky & Rolands, 2013).
This paper explores the steps Commonwealth Academy took to implement an ADHD/Executive Function Coaching Model and the forecasted outcomes.
Keywords: Coaching, ADHD, Curriculum, Motivation, Disability