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Attention Deficit Disorder Association

ADDA Loves Advances in ADHD Coaching

By Duane Gordon

ADDA loves to see advances in the ADHD coaching profession, really, in any area that could benefit you, our members living with ADHD. Coaching in general, and ADHD coaching in particular, has come a long way, but it's always reassuring to see the science behind any ADHD treatment.

Quantifying any adult ADHD treatment is challenging because ADHD manifests so differently from one person to the next, and providing meaningful measure of the effectiveness of treatments is particularly difficult, as it requires randomized assignment for treatment and the use of control groups.

As adults, we've chosen different careers and lifestyles, we live in a variety of environments, we face different challenges and we have developed our own unique coping mechanisms. We're certainly not white mice! Furthermore, coaching varies from coach to coach, depending on the training, experience and skill of the coach.

Scientific research also demands a statistically significant sample size to produce relevant results. We need many "test subjects" all willing to be treated the same way to ensure that any benefits (or harmful effects!) are not coincidence or luck (good or bad). After all, evidence that shows the effectiveness of any treatment is only useful if it's repeatable. You don't want to know if it will work for them, you want to know if it'll work for you!

That's why it's exciting when we do see quantitative results from scientific studies on the benefits of coaching. Recently, the Edge Foundation released the results of a study, Quantifying the Effectiveness of Coaching for College Students with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. The study looked at the effectiveness of the Edge coaching model on the academic success of students with ADHD in college and university.

Why is this important for ADDA members, even the non-students among us? Several things are interesting about this study:

  • While the study focuses on the Edge coaching model, when I spoke to Jodi Sleeper-Triplett, the creator of the Edge coaching model, she explained that researchers chose this model primarily to provide a consistent coaching experience across all subjects and not as a judgment against the many other recognized or accredited coaching models.
  • The study's subjects are all students, but they ARE adult students, so they face the same challenges other ADHD adults face: paying the bills, submitting taxes on time, getting along with your family, boss and co-workers and so on. And though this student did not participate in the study, Jodi Sleeper-Triplett described one contented coaching client who was returning to university at the tender age of 78. After all, we all have a few things still to learn.
  • And though they studied "academic success," the focus wasn't on grades but rather, the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI), which measures how Executive Functioning Skills apply in academic environments. Academic success is "a good thing" but certainly many less than stellar students have gone on to lead successful lives, and an improved executive function will come in handy regardless of your chosen endeavors.

We'll let you read the report on your own, but this quote from the conclusion of the Executive Summary highlights exactly why our members should be excited about this news, "...it is anticipated that these findings will be of high importance to those concerned with factors that contribute to success for persons with ADHD." And that describes you and me pretty well!

Duane Gordon is a Canadian artist celebrating the urban landscape. Each city is a collective artwork created by its inhabitants, and Duane paints to claim his place in this collective creation. He is an explorer, and the urban skyline is his pristine wilderness. Visit his online gallery at http://www.duanegordon.com/

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