Students with ADHD often struggle with executive functioning, meaning they can have difficulty starting and finishing tasks. However, executive functioning skills that these students need to succeed are teachable. Harvard University defines executive functions as learned skills that allow you to “plan ahead and meet goals, display self-control, follow multiple-step directions even when interrupted, and stay focused despite distractions.” Learning executive functioning strategies can make a difference for students K-12 in better academic performance and building life skills.
At Effective Students, we focus on teaching these skills. This includes helping students to learn to evaluate resources, complete tasks, and remain focused enough to follow through and complete those tasks. Because executive dysfunction can impact students emotionally and academically, our coaching includes both academic management skills and social-emotional skills. Through executive functioning coaching, we help students with ADHD get the support they need to succeed.
Because of that experience working with students, we wanted to make a guide on some of the critical benefits that ADHD academic coaching can provide. Read the complete guide to learn about some benefits of getting academic coaching for students with ADHD.
1. Builds Skills in Academic Management
For many students with ADHD, it can be challenging to keep up and manage all of the assignments and responsibilities of school. Whether that’s staying focused during lessons and taking good notes or doing homework and projects on time, without executive functioning skills— it’s challenging to keep up. That’s why building skills like time management, planning and prioritizing, and organization is a focus of our coaching so that students can better manage their academics.
Every student also learns differently, so learning academic management needs to be taught understanding different learning styles. At Effective Students, we use interactive lessons, instructional videos, exercises, quizzes, and online materials to give students ways to learn executive functioning skills in different and engaging ways. By learning executive functioning through these different lessons, students will walk away with a skillset to help them manage their academic and personal responsibilities more independently. This focus on academic management sets students up for success and self-direction through the end of high school that carries into college.
2. Helps Students Apply What They Learn
For students with ADHD dealing with executive dysfunction, starting and finishing tasks can be challenging. This experience can lead to frustration and parent-child conflict. Sometimes students even shut down, which may make it appear like they don’t care. However, frequently experiencing the disappointment of executive dysfunction does not mean students cannot learn academic management skills or will not be able to apply them in the future. Students have a better chance of succeeding academically with a program designed to help them become more independent in starting and finishing tasks.
At coaching sessions with Effective Students, we help them apply academic management steps that have an immediate positive impact in helping them to get started and following through. Learning how to use these skills independently is baked into our process, so as students continue through coaching, they become more independent with these skills and can carry them throughout their academic careers. Students can better apply what they learn by getting important input from coaches and the opportunity to practice. That’s why our coaching is collaborative, so students can learn by doing and using skills in the real world, not just in academic coaching sessions.
3. Fosters Social and Emotional Skills
When they have ADHD and have trouble focusing and starting tasks, students can feel overwhelmed or like they’re failing. This can lead to increased stress levels, which can impact academic performance. In fact, stress can make ADHD worse. According to ADDitude, “Stress-impaired executive function diminishes working memory and impulse control, as well as mental flexibility and coping skills. Stress also makes it hard for people with ADHD to focus and sustain their attention.” That’s why students with ADHD must be able to manage stress levels and learn coping methods in stressful situations. At Effective Students, we focus on building social and emotional skills to help them manage that stress. We also focus on helping students cope with feelings of guilt when they lose focus or have difficulty. Because students with ADHD also struggle with flexible thinking when they face difficulty with a task, we help them learn to adjust to the situation.
Beyond the impact of stress on ADHD, many students may have lost some of the social and emotional regulation skills they learned in the classroom during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to NCES, “Eighty-seven percent of public schools agreed or strongly agreed that the pandemic has negatively impacted student socio-emotional development. Similarly, 84 percent of public schools agreed or strongly agreed that students’ behavioral development has been negatively impacted.” Working with students during the pandemic and beyond, we’ve helped students deal with this gap in socio-emotional skills for better academic performance in the classroom. Our coaching focuses on response inhibition to help students build emotional and academic skills that might have been lost over the last few years.
4. Grows Ability to Maintain Focus
Many students with ADHD have difficulty dealing with distractions and maintaining focus. As a part of the social, emotional, and academic aspects of executive function, students must also learn to stay on task. While distractions at home and in the classroom are always a reality, there are key strategies students can learn to maintain focus.
At Effective Students, our ADHD academic coaching focuses on building skills in focusing and limiting distractions. Working closely with our students, we teach them strategies they can use daily to boost focus in the classroom and while working on schoolwork. When students can stay on task to accomplish more throughout the day and on their assignments, they have better learning outcomes and feel successful.
5. Allows the Successful Transition to a New Environment
All transitions can be difficult for students with ADHD. According to the CDC, “Transitions can be challenging for children with ADHD, and having to spend time doing schoolwork, homework, and family activities in the same space where parents may also have to do their work can create additional stress for students and parents.”
In particular, transitioning from middle school to high school or high school to college can be incredibly stressful. Without the right skills and strategies for self-management and self-direction, even the simplest things, like learning and completing assignments, can be difficult, and students can quickly fall behind. Being in these new environments can also be distracting and overwhelming for students. That’s why having academic, social, and emotional executive functioning skills is crucial to weather these transitions.
At Effective Students, our coaching helps students deal with these changes and has a toolkit for handling new situations and learning environments. We can ensure their transition goes smoothly by working closely with students on transitioning and dealing with an increased workload.
Ready to Begin ADHD Academic Coaching?
Of course, this is a broad overview of the value of academic coaching for students with ADHD. While it can be daunting to go through the process, choosing a partner like Effective Students makes the path toward well-developed executive functioning skills more straightforward. If you’re ready to start considering coaching for your student, we’d be happy to discuss this further.
At Effective Students, we’ve created engaging courses and insightful programs that help students develop a robust skill set of executive functions, leading to long-term success.
We offer Effective College Connection and Personalized ADHD Coaching for Students to help give students with ADHD the foundation for a brighter future. These programs enable students to learn executive functioning skills and teach some of the essential skills needed for significant transitions like college. If you’re ready to find the right option for you, contact our team to learn more.