It's a difficult attempt to understand a disability when you don't have it.
As a coach and parent of children with ADHD, I sometimes struggle with understanding how they really feel.Using supportive measures to help the client with stated goals is part of what we do as ADHD coaches. But let’s face it, when you as the coach do not have ADHD, it’s so hard to really understand where the client is coming from as far as how he is directly affected.
I think that when you can do what someone else can’t do, it can become frustrating; when it seems basic to you, but an uphill climb to the client.
Well, I found a way to understand at least some of the frustration. One day as I drove to a destination never having been before, I got lost. This happens a lot to me, since when the sense of direction was passed out, I may have been absent that day! Without a GPS, I am like an animal running a maze that is never-ending, with no way out.
I felt that incredible sense of frustration and confusion.
I felt incompetent, incapable, and just plain stupid. Wow, that is what I have heard from my clients when they speak about sitting in class and trying to fulfill teacher expectations. Because of these frustrations, their level of self-esteem plummets. Just like me as an adult, the expectation is that I can find my way to my desired destination. My clients are trying to achieve the expectations in the academic setting. After all, if the teacher expects it, then of course the assumption is that the student should be able to produce. If not, then there is something wrong with him.
I excitedly told my client of my revelation! I can feel the frustration of having struggles that impact me and how I achieve my goals. That is, just getting to a destination that is foreign!
My client was stunned.
He knew where I was going and could not believe that I had that much trouble getting there. He rattled off the directions with finesse and accuracy. He could not understand why I found it to be so difficult. I quickly told him I know now how he feels when sitting in a classroom: bored, unfocused, unable to transition, unable to organize, unable to use yesterday’s lesson in math to complete the classwork that day!
He was silent. Yes, you have everyday struggles despite the fact that you are brilliant! And the tough part is that this impacts you everyday! My struggle is limited to small scenarios of driving. I imagine what it would be like feeling that way without support, every day! We can work on these areas to figure out how to overcome them.
Unfortunately, I will continue to depend on my GPS…