Alexis was 12 years old when she first came to Navigating ADHD for coaching and art therapy. She wasn’t exactly sure why her mom was bringing her to see us-just that she got in trouble a lot in school for talking or blurting out answers and that she wasn’t very good at school. The reality is that Alexis was a very smart young girl whose self esteem had suffered as a result of undiagnosed ADHD. Many times her teacher would call her out at school for forgetting to turn in her homework, not paying attention or turning around to speak to the student behind her. Some of the other students in her class had begun to distance themselves from her because they didn’t want to get in trouble for talking. Alexis began to retreat into herself and focus only on activities that she enjoyed–music, art, and reading countless books. The first order of business at Navigating ADHD was for Alexis to develop some self awareness so she understood how her brain works and when to use strategies. It was extremely important that she learn the “why” behind some of her unintentional behaviors because she was beginning to feel like she was different or “less than” her peers. After several sessions, Alexis began to understand ADHD and that it was a diagnosis that is part of who she is, but not the whole picture. If she could learn to work with her brain and understand how it learns best, all of her many talents would begin to shine through. Fast forward to her final session with ADHD and her life looked very different. She began to acknowledge her educational needs and advocate for herself with her teachers. She asked to wear earbuds or leave the room during tests so she could drown out distracting noises, such as the clicking on the keyboard or the ticking clock. If she found herself needing to refocus her attention, she would go get a drink of water or move to the standing desk in the classroom. She had color coded folders for each of her classes and used 1 sparkly silver folder for all of the homework that needed to be turned in. She had a sticky note on her chromebook that reminded her to “turn in” her google doc. As far as talking to her peers when she wasn’t supposed to be, she made light of the situation and asked her friend to give her a cue to save the conversation for later. By understanding more about her ADHD, Alexis began to approach everything as a “solveable problem.” If there was something she needed to work on, she developed a strategy and then achieved her goal. She didn’t get stuck on the fact that there was a problem to solve. She simply solved it and then was able to move on to friendships, music, art, and her beloved books.
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