ADHD children and adults need others to understand their struggles and challenges they face. They also need relationships in their lives that are supportive, nurturing and nonjudgmental.
Michael has a mother and two sisters who are there for him since he was diagnosed with having ADHD. Michael’s family not only seek help for Michael, they also continue learning about the conditions of ADHD to equip themselves to understand his struggles and to be his support when he needs it.
Families where there is a child or adult with ADHD, they often are advised to participate in psycho-educational sessions to help them with understanding and differentiating between facts from myths about ADHD.
There are clinical and research findings, including the one I completed two years ago, indicated that parents and teachers who are well-informed with evidence-based knowledge through psycho-education will feel more positive and hopeful in working with an ADHD-child.
Psycho-education also has a positive effect on improving ADHD children’s behaviours, as well as parent and ADHD children’s understanding of each other in dealing with symptoms and behavioural issues, and it also has a positive effect on ADHD children’s opinion of the use of medication and adherence to medical recommendations.
It appeared that psychoeducational information Debbie Phelps and her daughters received have helped them work with Michael more effectively.
ADHD children and adults require a stable structure for daily functions and for personal development. Guidance and coaching will help them manage their thoughts and emotions which is essential to minimize their deficits in cognitive functioning and affect (emotion) regulation.
Michael’s Life Coach – Debbie Phelps
Debbie Phelps shared that she and her two daughters would work as a team to teach Michael time management, so that he could learn to allocate his time wisely between school-related tasks and sports events. They also paid close attention to Michael’s diet to make sure that he ate healthily. To make sure that Michael took his medication before going to school, Debbie Phelps would ask her daughters to take their vitamins in the morning at that time.
Michael’s mother spent time during school breaks to work with his son on developing strategies by which Michael could use to understand the impact of his behaviours, and to appreciate the positive effects of prosocial behaviours.
Everything Debbie Phelps did was to help Michael to learn about delaying gratification by which his symptoms of being impulsive and hyperactive could be minimized.
Everything she did helped Michael learn to wait and to follow rules imposed on him before diving off the platform during a swimming meet or a competition. The structure and the guidance she provided for Michael enabled her to coach her son to learn to wait finishing his homework properly before going for his swimming lessons or training.
** In fact, this is not just what can happen in Michael Phelps’ family. It needs to be a part of the therapeutic component to be offered to families with ADHD children and adults.**