Assets & ADHD

By Asset Champion Janice Sawinski

As a member of The Children First Asset Champion Network and a Certified Life Coach working with teens that live with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), I was searching for a way to combine the asset training I’d received and my life coaching. I contacted Asset Champion Barb Nelson, the ninth grade counselor at St. Louis Park High School. Barb was willing to partner with me as a co-facilitator of an ADHD group for ninth grade students.

Throughout the eight-week group many of the developmental assets were incorporated into our meetings. Along with the developmental assets, the students learned about ADHD, discussed what was important to them and shared ideas that were helpful in living with ADHD.

Assets addressed:

Caring school climate – having the opportunity to attend the support group, knowing that school personnel cared, encouraged the students to be open about living with ADHD.

Achievement Motivation – discovering what intrinsically motivates them allowed the students to connect with their learning environment.

School Engagement – understanding one’s learning style is an important element in being engaged in one’s education and school environment. Learning how to advocate for yourself also promotes school engagement.

Homework – discovering how, where and when you work best gives students the chance to be successful. For example, knowing that you need to listen to music to stay focused and complete your homework or using a fidget strategy in order to concentrate; will help students be successful.

Planning and decision-making – this asset directly correlates with coaching which involves decision-making and goal setting, the development and implementation of actions, and also provides a source of accountability.

Interpersonal competence – understanding social cues may play a part in the life of an individual living with ADHD. Role-playing social situations gave the students a place to practice their social skills in order to help them be successful in their everyday experiences.

Personal power – Knowing what their personal strengths are and being able to use them to be successful as well as to using them in areas that are challenging, empowers students. This allows them to connect with their world and to have control over things that happen to them.

Self-esteem – Discovering strategies that will help a student to work on areas that are challenging empowers them and builds self-esteem.

Sense of purpose – knowing what your reasons and intentions are in life is awe-inspiring. Having the opportunity and an environment in which to determine your sense of purpose is an important part of life coaching. Throughout the group, we discussed what the students’ reasons are for wanting to improve grades, be successful, etc. This is a step in the direction of discovering what your sense of purpose is, your intention, what’s important to you.

Positive view of personal future – experiencing success either in school, at home or socially, enabled the students to see that their positive actions have an impact on their present and future.