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Frequently Asked Questions

When someone contacts me to discuss the possibility of purchasing my services, they typically ask a lot of questions about what they can expect. Let me share with you some of the questions I receive, along with the answers I typically provide:

  1. What are learning disabilities?
  2. What is ADHD/ADD?
  3. What is ADHD/LD Coaching?
  4. What is the difference between a tutor and a coach?
  5. How is your service different from all of the others?
  6. How can your services help my student?
  7. How does ADHD/LD coaching work?
  8. How long does it take before I get results?
  9. What are coaching sessions like?
  10. Can you assist my child as he transitions to college or university?
  11. Would my student benefit from coaching at university even if they don’t have ADHD or Learning disabilities?
  12. Am I /Is my child ready for coaching?


 

Q. What are learning disabilities?

A. The Ontario Ministry of Education defines “Learning Disabilities” (LD) as a variety of disorders that affect the acquisition, retention, understanding, organization or use of verbal and/or non-verbal information. Learning Disabilities are distinct from intellectual disabilities and range in severity. Learning Disabilities interfere with the acquisition and use of one or more of the following important academic skills:

  • Oral language (e.g., listening, speaking, understanding)
  • Reading (e.g., decoding, comprehension)
  • Written language (e.g., spelling, written expression)
  • Mathematics (e.g., computation, problem solving)

Learning Disabilities may also cause difficulties with organizational skills, social perception and social interaction. Often learning disabilities associated with oral language and readings are identified in the early school years while those associated with mathematics and written language don’t become evident until middle school or beyond.


 

Q. What is ADHD/ADD?

A. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a diagnosis classified according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – 4th Edition (DSM-IV). To diagnose ADHD professionals look at three symptoms: inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. These symptoms must be at a level that causes significant impairment and the occurrence of these three symptoms determines the type of ADHD diagnosed.

Children and adults who have hyperactive and impulsive symptoms are referred to as ADHD, primarily hyperactive-impulsive subtype; those who exhibit mainly inattention are referred to as ADHD, primarily inattentive subtype (often still referred to as ADD); and those who have all three symptoms are referred to as ADHD, combined subtype. This is the type diagnosed most often.


 

Q. What is ADHD/LD Coaching?

A. Coaching is a partnership that we agree to form in order to help the student identify how their ADHD or LD is getting in the way of what matters most. As a trained ADHD coach I ask the powerful questions that help get to the bottom of what is really creating difficulties for the student. Once these areas are identified, I help develop strategies to effectively overcome or compensate for them.


 

Q. What is the difference between a tutor and a coach?

A. I find this metaphor the best way to describe the difference…
Imagine you are learning to drive a car…
….your tutor will instruct you directly on the mechanics of driving
…your mentor will empathize with you and share their driving experiences with you
…your therapist will explore what is stopping you from driving your car
…your coach will sit beside you as you turn the keys and encourage and support you in driving the car to the destination you choose.


 

Q. How is your service different from all of the others?

A. Clients tell me I have no competition as my service is unique. I believe that every student is an individual with unique learning needs and I do not teach in a “cookie cutter fashion.” The focus is on developing a connection with the student that puts his or her needs and challenges at the centre of the equation so all sessions are customized for each student.

Furthermore, I am an Ontario Certified Teacher with an extensive background in teaching special education students, so I understand how students learn. I am constantly assessing student progress and adjusting strategies as needed. My thorough knowledge of the current curriculum and teacher expectations surrounding it allow me to work within the system to benefit the student.

I view our arrangement as a four-way partnership between me, the student, the student’s parents and the student’s teachers. We each carry some responsibility for student success and I promote a collaborative environment.


 

Q. How can your services help my student?

A. I work largely to support the structures that affect ADHD / LD students as they strive to become successful learners from grade 6 all the way through University or College.

I focus on the major areas that affect academic success by supporting students in:

  1. Planning and organization, which involves
    a. Systems to organize binders, lockers, loose pages, desk tops
    b. Realistic SMART goal setting for both short and long term goals

  2. Time management skills, which involves
    a. Keeping a calendar, agenda and To Do List
    b. Scheduling all activities
    c. Prioritizing assignments

  3. Study skills which involves
    a. Making effective study notes that work for the individual ( I know many different methods of doing this)
    b. Test taking skills
    c. Managing anxiety
    d. Learning active reading strategies
    e. Study strategies (utilizing active memory and questioning techniques)
    f. Understanding instructors’ cues

  4. Effective written language
    a. Use of assistive technology such as Dragon, Naturally Speaking, Inspiration software, Live Scribe Pulse pen)
    b. Mind mapping techniques
    c. Thesis development
    d. Organization of ideas
    e. Editing skills

 

Q. How does ADHD/LD coaching work?

A. Once we agree that your son/daughter and I have a good match and will be able to work together, I do an intake session that takes approximately two hours. It is comprised of questionnaires, learning style assessments and conversation that allows me to get to know them better. Once this is complete, goals are established and appointments set for weekly conversations.

The conversations can happen in several ways: face-to-face, over the phone, by SKYPE or instant messaging, or by any combination of the above. Each arrangement is individually tailored to ensure it best meets the specific needs of each client. Coaching typically involves one hour of support per week, in the format that best suits their style – talk time, texts, BBM’s or tweets as they request. I hold my clients accountable to their goals.


 

Q. How long does it take before I get results?

A. Most students experience small, incremental improvements almost immediately. But making permanent, long-term changes will take some time. The longer you engage with me, the more you will get from the experience. I request the commitment of at least one school semester.


 

Q. What are coaching sessions like?

A. A typical session begins with a check-in around current feelings and issues. I then check on progress made on commitments between sessions. The conversation then explores how the success was achieved (what was done differently) or how achievement was blocked. Then we recap the session, summarize, and establish new action steps.


 

Q. Can you assist my child as he transitions to college or university?

A. Absolutely, ADHD /LD students have difficulty with change. Once they move into University residence they lose the supports and reminders that their parents and school had been providing. Many of them flounder and become overwhelmed with too many conflicting assignments. Through the coaching relationship, I am able to support these young people with their life skills, time management, prioritizing and self-care (sleep and nutrition), and I help them manage anxiety. I become the empathic adult in their life who champions their needs and is able to guide them to their successful destination.


 

Q. Would my student benefit from coaching at university even if they don’t have ADHD or Learning disabilities?

A. Most assuredly. Many students struggle without structure; I support and help as they build the structures they need for success at school and in their life later on. Everyone can benefit by having an accepting, non-judgemental guide by their side who is completely dedicated to championing their causes!




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To find out how I can help your child unlock their potential to create a productive future, please contact me today at ann@studentsfirstcoaching.com or call me at 416-434-8726.