DeShawn Wert learned that ADHD can affect adults as well as children when she was diagnosed with the disorder late in life. “It allowed me to recognize and develop my own action plan and leverage my strengths,” she says. It also inspired her to become an expert, book contributor, and presenter in this field. DeShawn earned her Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood education from Purdue University, her Master of Education degree in curriculum design and her administrative certification from Indiana Wesleyan University, and completed her ADHD coach training through JST Coaching & Training for children, teens and young adults. A resident of Indiana, she works with clients all over the globe using her guiding principles of it’s “Your brain. Your terms. Your life.
- I’ve completed all the hours and training to reach the first level of coaching certification, Board Certified Coach. This included taking online courses for 16 weeks.
- I started Karate classes with my son to have fun and support my healthy life choices. I’m now getting ready to test for my orange tip belt.
- I dropped several organizations freeing up time which are no longer fulfilling my shifting personal goals.
- My new website has been launched and contains the content needed for me to truly express my goals as a coach, helping me to have a larger impact supporting those with ADHD.
- My work with colleagues from across the states (from Oregon to Maine) is allowing me to impact the larger ADHD coaching community by planning the International’s ADHD Professional Conference.
- My personal health goals are on target as I have lost weight and have learned to make healthy meals form myself and family.
- My goal to help others understand how their ADHD brain works grows with being asked to present to Lynn University and National Association Professional Organizers (NAPO) this spring.
- I’ve been able to keep our family calendar synchronized without too much havoc.
- Consistently finding time to be with my friends (see the Q & A at the bottom of the newsletters) by having lunch with friends monthly.
You know…as I look backward with the gaze that lingers on the things accomplished. Its fun to see what I DID get completed with my demanding family life and work in coaching business. So, now I challenge you to give yourself a ‘kick in the pants’ and STOP thinking about what you haven’t accomplished but share what has been put into motion and completed from last year. Let’s get out of the not ‘good enough’ funk and keep moving forward with our intentions and goals THIS year.
Our Easter bunny made his appearance this week…More signs of Spring include a clean fridge, my organized closet and the donations to be hauled away. My husband, Mike, cleared the patio of dead leaves, and my son, Riley, took care of the dreaded dog poop collection from Winter 2014, so we are well on our way to enjoying this season and that comes along with it. A season of celebration and expectation and one we look forward to…Spring.
But I’m talking about our personal lives, things are transitioning into another season and a major change in our family. My husband is retiring from a 35 year career in less than a week AND my son is going on a mission trip to Honduras. These are the types of events that change us as people, profoundly. They cause us to look at ourselves in a different light. They ask us to assess our past experience and predict into the future about our abilities. Can we manage the transition and change? Will I like the differences? Will the changes enhance my life for the better? My husband is concerned about ‘how’ he will use his time and it’s a little daunting, for him to think about having so much time to himself. I talk about his enjoyment and how much more of his life he gets to himself…but he worries about the change of not having a purpose and daily routine. Will he enjoy being home and not seeing those he interacts with regularly?
My conversations with him remind me of how hard it is to see ourselves differently sometimes. The ‘rut’ we fall into with our identities. It reminds me of my work with ADHD clients who are struggling and I see how they have ‘bought into’ the beliefs from other family, friends and teachers that they just aren’t capable to do things sometimes. It’s true that change is hard…but its about our mindsets and how we think of ourselves.
In my work, I see that it takes more than action plans to change…it takes a mindset and belief that you are not ‘stuck’, that you have strengths and capabilities that can be welded and used to accomplish your desires and intentions. A choice you decide for yourself to move forward and see another ‘season’ coming is one of the most powerful ways to start changing.
Coaching Parents with Students in Transition
Have you read every ADHD book out there and you still feel like you don’t know how to help your child, especially during times of transition?
Are you frustrated that no one seems to see your child the way you see them?
Are you tired of feeling judged, confused or paralyzed when it comes to making academic and medical decisions for your child with ADHD?
Transitions are tough for everyone.
It’s easy to feel confused, frustrated and unsure of the steps you need to take next so you can get from point A to point B.
When you have a child with ADHD, sometimes transitions feel like falling off a cliff, don’t they? It doesn’t have to feel that way though. Your child really can make academic, personal and social transitions with less strain, stress and doubt. It all comes down to being prepared and getting the support he or she needs to navigate these often tricky transitions. I’ve seen it time and again – when a student with ADHD is motivated and confident, their potential skyrockets.
As a mother and long-time public educator diagnosed with ADD, I can help. Working together, you’ll be able to help your child learn the life skills they need to successfully steer through transitions in school and beyond. You’ll empower them to recognize and leverage their strengths so they can work with their unique brain style. You, and ultimately your child, will be able to better advocate for their needs at home, at school and in the workplace.
Expecting different results from the same old methods that just don’t work is maddening.
When you’re car gets stuck in the mud, you might try stepping on the gas a few times. Do it too many times though and you’ll flood the engine (and now you’ve got two problems on your hands). When you’re stuck, would you rather tackle the problem alone or call for a tow?
Do you feel like you have your feet on the gas but you just can’t get any traction? I’m here to tell you, you have a choice (even if it appears otherwise). You can keep trying to dig yourself out on your own, or you can call in a little muscle.
OK, DeShawn, so what’s my next step?
If you’re committed to helping your child with ADHD (and I know you are), I invite you to schedule a free ADHD Strategy Session with me. It’s complimentary and only takes 30 minutes. This is your time to talk about your concerns, learn about resources and strategies available to you, and decide how best to help your child make progress with school-related transitions. I encourage all immediate family members to be part of this initial session whenever possible so I can hear each person’s concerns and address everyone’s questions.
We need individualized support! How can we work with you, DeShawn?
ADHD Quick-Relief Session
In this private 2-hour, laser-focused session, we address your most pressing ADHD concern. Whether it’s preparing for an IEP or 504 conference, developing “work-arounds” for successful daily routines, building up self-confidence or something else, you’ll leave with an action plan for success based on the goals and strategies that work for you and your child.
ADHD Momentum-Builder Package
With this 3-month plan, you and your child get private one-on-one weekly sessions. This is your time to get thoughtful answers to your questions, advice for your child’s and family’s challenges, strategies to help your child stay on track and build momentum, as well as an action plan and accountability partner (that’s me!) to ensure your child reaches his or her goals.
P.S. My strategy and coaching sessions are confidential and free of judgment. These sessions are designed to help students with ADHD understand their brain so they can live their life on their terms.
I was diagnosed at 48 with ADHD. My “go-to” strategies that had worked all my life failed me. The tools I developed in elementary school and were perfected into college failed, as my son says, “epic.” Those strategies that had served me so well were “work harder and stay longer”.
The fact was, I got all kinds of kudos and appreciation for my dedication and hard work. It was a source of pride and it made me feel good (accomplished even) when others noticed my tenacity and my can-do attitude. You want to know the irony? I was chosen for assignments based on that tenacity and hard work! Over and over again the work and effort I gave paid off in recognition and additional responsibilities. After all, I was the “Go-to Girl.”
But that all changed when I took on a new position at a new location, which required a whole new skill set, including understanding small town politics. It called for more than being willing to work hard, treating others fairly, and even understanding my role on the team. The long time “go-to” strategies no longer worked as I had to be efficient, automatic, systematic, and even play the hard ball political games. That kind of efficiency coupled with the lack of humanity made me feel robotic, inhuman and soulless. But I’m jumping ahead of myself.
I felt pretty prepared and confident. My work ethic was beyond compare and my reputation was second to none. I had actually prayed to my Maker for a good fit in my new position asking for the perfect place to showcase my skills and make a “real difference” in lives. My years of experience had given me tons of opportunities to work with some great leaders and other talented individuals and I was anxious to touch the lives of others in the same positive way. Little did I have any idea of the “difference” I’d be making would be in the quality of my own life!
So I entered this position during a time when the economy called for everyone to do “more with less” and multitasking was a badge of honor in the office. Sound familiar? It was then the feeling of overwhelm started to make it’s way in my life. With all my preparation and knowledge I felt like an impostor! It felt as if I couldn’t keep it all straight and it didn’t matter how hard I worked at staying on task or worried about the deadlines. This started a “hamster wheel” of judgement where I called myself names, told myself I should do better, and silently agreed with condemning eyes.
It felt like I had to be superhuman all the time. Super powers like being able to leap to my supervisor’s conclusions at the same time, magically see through colleagues hidden agendas and divining high priority items based on little to poor communication. I was miserable working with people I didn’t understand…and who didn’t understand me.
The lack of time and too much “stuff” to do started dominating my life both at work and at home. I couldn’t sleep and I was distracted by my own thoughts all the time. I started seeing a counselor but was told I was “too accomplished” to have ADHD. After all I did not meet any of the childhood criteria and I was college educated, professional, and so well “put together” on the outside. But no one ever knew the cost to keep that facade up! My two strategies of staying longer and working harder just were not cutting it anymore and it was compounded by the harsh, negative atmosphere only added more to my high stress level.
This inability to reel in my thoughts kick-started my “people-pleaser monster” into high gear. When I look back, it was when I had really lost perspective…my boundaries, my inner voice, and my confidence all left me. My compass was totally off kilter and my focus was on “winning the un-winnable game of pleasing the displeased.”
I had over used the strategies of working hard and staying longer and made myself sick. Between my illness and my emotional state, I stopped doing everything I enjoyed. My time at home was thinking about work and my screw-ups (both real and perceived) and it was more than frustrating because I knew I was talented and smart but it wasn’t coming through.
Have you seen Les Miserables the movie? Ann Hathaway plays Fantine the mother of Cosette who ends up selling everything of value she has (necklace, hair, teeth and even her body) to keep her precious daughter intact. It felt as if I was “Fantine” in Les Miserable …losing “bits and pieces” of myself and becoming unrecognizable to myself and those who loved me.
I had every sign of Adult ADHD for women listed in the ADDitude article linked here, only it didn’t connect until I had a family member diagnosed in college. I asked my doc again about ADHD and it took a computer test that certainly challenged me and made it perfectly clear I was ADHD. Man, was that day sweet!
Sweet… because I no longer felt crazy! I wasn’t the lazy or stupid person I had made myself out to be in the mirror each morning. I knew I had an invisible neuro-difference in my brain that had been exasperated by the stress of a high-anxiety, negative work environment, and thoughtless coworkers.
So how did I get my “Go-To” Strategies back? I didn’t. I developed a whole new set of skills that worked for me that includes using timers and alarms, task planning and management, and learning mindful activities that included prayer and quiet time rituals. I ditched the things (and people) that didn’t work for me. I made the adjustments to how I tackled my life and the projects in it.
I became VERY intentional… with my decisions, time, and those I loved. Which empowered me to do the things that I’m good at including… connecting with those I work in the ADHD community, providing timely resources to those desperate, and designing life strategies that work based on strengths and not weakness.
If you’ve seen the end of Les Miserables the movie, you know my ending, my friends! A beautiful and fully restored Fantine returns to Cosette’s wedding. She is happy, radiant, and joyful! Today, I feel like Fantine at the wedding day gazing on the beautiful life I’ve created, crafted and polished. I can’t tell you how full and satisfying my life since I chose to honor myself and my differences. It’s a life full of the things I choose, with the people I love, and it’s about things important to me.
So I don’t mourn my “Done, Gone” strategies. In fact, I want to urge you to start moving forward by getting a diagnosis or determining treatment or making a career move! I want you to be intentional with your precious resources so you get the life you want. I want you start making decisions about you and your life. I can say today that I’m glad my “Go-To” strategy left me and I could discover this whole new part of me that is so much more that I could ever imagine only a few years ago.