with Elaine Taylor-Klaus
Coach and public speaker Elaine Taylor-Klaus of Impact ADHD joins us to discuss her work helping to train parents of children with ADHD. Elaine provides helpful and tips and perspectives on the role of parents in an ADHD household and what they can do to help their children succeed in both academics and life.
About Elaine Taylor-Klaus:
Co-founder and CEO of ImpactADHD.com, Taylor helps to train and coach parents of children with ADHD.
Elaine serves on the national Board of Directors of CHADD, presenting at national conferences on topics of parental management of children with ADHD.
Focusing on improving pediatric care around ADHD, Elaine has worked alongside the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Elaine has written for the Huffington Post.
She is a mother in a family of five, all of which have ADHD.
After the birth of her third child, Elaine recognized the signs of ADHD early on. She surmised that there was a good chance this “neurology cannot just be coming from my husband”, so she went to be evaluated and was diagnosed herself with ADHD.
Challenges of Entrepreneurship and ADHD:
Elaine feels most of her challenges came prior to her diagnosis, when she felt as if she wasn’t living up to her own expectations or “was successful on the surface but felt like a fraud on the inside”.
Once diagnosed, while initially she lamented at the lost potential of all the years past, she reasoned that now that she knew what she was dealing with, she could learn how to manage it.
She learned one of the foundational concepts of adult ADHD coaching: play to your strengths and outsource your challenges.
For instance, it would take Elaine about five times longer to finish her bookkeeping than the bookkeeper she eventually hired.
Initially she had been treated for anxiety for years. When she later began receiving coaching, started taking ADHD medication, and was able to focus more effectively, her anxiety lifted.
Meetings, Agendas, and Diversion:
Eric saw Elaine skillfully leading a CHADD town hall meeting and was beyond impressed with how well she was able to manage such an emotionally charged event while sticking to the planned agenda.
Elaine has taught, in one form or another, for most of her life. That teaching experience, combined with her training as a coach, helped inform her ability to hold on to an agenda and control or redirect potential diversions into useful pieces to aid the agenda.
Elaine: “Always acknowledge what someone is saying and where they’re coming from.” No matter how off-topic or divergent it may be, it’s important to respect each person’s participation and not to deride them for it. Acknowledge the person’s comments and then direct them back to the original topicality.
Ask permission to have a person hold off on what they’re saying until after you have finished addressing the agenda. In this way, they feel heard and respected.
Letting a person know that there is a possibility you may not be able to readdress their topic is important, but do so in a way they feel acknowledged and are willing to give permission and trust you with the direction of the meeting.
Clarity and transparency are skills Elaine feels are essential to coaching in order for people to trust the process.
Elaine: “I think parents that have the same issue their kids do have an advantage because they can relate.”
Acknowledgement and transparency play a large part in communicating with and building relationships with one’s child.
If parents acknowledge their child’s experience with compassion, such as in making comparisons between examples of what the child does and the parent does in their daily schedule, they feel less different from the parents.
Being able to say “it’s hard for me too” and that you struggle with the same issues, humanizes the parent and makes them more approachable when the child may want to discuss their issues.
Presenting a façade of perfection to a child can lead that child to feel as if they should also be perfect.
“Failing forward” is a tenant Elaine tries to teach to parents and children alike. In her house, right next to each other, Elaine has a “mistakes” jar and a “hugs and kisses” jar; “sometimes you may have to put some money in the mistakes jar, but you’re always going to match it with the hugs and kisses jar.”
“We don’t walk without crawling. We don’t talk without babbling. How do we expect to be able to learn without making mistakes?”
School and Failure:
Eric has brought up with teachers in the past the issue of children failing tests, for example, and then the class moving on. He thinks there should be an opportunity to work on correcting the mistakes on that test in pursuit of learning the subject.
It’s important to figure out where the failure is taking place: learning, retention, notation, etc.
Many children with ADHD will study and retain the information, but blank out specifically when prompted by a test.
Elaine sees how sometimes those with ADHD and learning disabilities are being missed because teachers and parents aren’t asking the right questions to find where the learning process is breaking down.
Eric: When toddlers are learning to walk, they fail forward many, many times but keep on trying nonetheless.
When the toddlers fall down, their parents usually motivate them and support them to keep going, but as they grow older, it seems that general permission to make mistakes goes away.
Some will compliment their children only on the result of their work rather than the process to reach that result – praising a 100% on a test but not checking to see what they learned or if it was too easy. Process is important.
Elaine: Parents of children in middle school or younger should focus more on their child’s learning process more so than what they’re retaining in terms of content. Half of school beyond that point is based on process, self-management, and organization.
Eric cites Sarah Ward who says thar “part of school success is the ability to master the boring”.
Back to School Survival and Coaching:
Usually, Elaine and Impact ADHD host a webinar for parents and professionals to help them prepare for the upcoming school year, but this year they’re streaming the two-hour event live.
The event is called Back to School Survival Live.
The webinar will cover important coaching strategies parents can use to set themselves up for a positive school year.
When parents take time to pay attention to themselves, their approach, and how they handle themselves with their children, they receive better results from their children.
It’s about understanding one’s children well enough and managing oneself well enough to then teach children to manage themselves.
Sometimes it’s the smallest bits of new information that make the largest difference with parents. Some parents have been attending seminars and reading material on these subjects for years, but if they are provided with just the right piece of advice, strategy, or perspective, they’ll be on a whole other, better track.
Eric: “Productivity for people with ADHD is so much more than about productivity.”
At the end of each of Elaine’s coaching calls she always asks four questions to help people capture their “a-ha” moments and leave with a commitment to action.
What did you focus on today and what was important for you?
What did you take away from today’s conversation?
What action do you want to commit to?
What do you want to do to set yourself up for success?
Random Question Round:
If you were to create an invention, or improve upon an existing invention, what would you create?
If you have three sticks, what are three things you can do with them?
How do you like your marshmallows cooked?
What is a random question you want to ask me?What is one book you read when you were younger that you would want your children to read?
Links, Products, and Services Mentioned:
ADHD in Reality: Practical Tips for Parents From Parents, an e-book published on the Impact ADHD website
Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goldman
Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach
The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
The Celestine Prophecy: An Adventure by James Redfield
Find and Contact Elaine Taylor-Klaus:
Eric has set September 14th as the start date of the Fall 2015 session of the ADHD reWired Coaching and Accountability Group. If you are interested in reserving a spot in the group, visit coachingrewired.com.
Eric is collecting videos describing people’s experiences with CHADD. If you are currently involved with CHADD, record a video however you wish (horizontally, please!) of you describing your relationship to ADHD and what CHADD does for you. Send it to Eric via Facebook, Twitter, or email here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help CHADD, an ADHD organization dedicated to improving the lives of those with ADHD through useful research and support, by donating to their fundraising campaign here: gofundme.com/oneof15m.
Visit erictivers.com/audible for Carolyn D’Argenio’s list of her top Audible.com audio-book picks, complete with preview links.
Connect with people virtually using Eric’s favorite video conferencing and connectivity platform, Zoom, by visiting erictivers.com/zoom – the basic service is totally free.
If you want you hear your question or comment on a future episode, go to erictivers.com/adhdrewired and look for the comment form, or click on the yellow button for either “Be a Guest” or “Record your question”.
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Third Monday of every month at 6:45 PM
(CHADD does not endorse this podcast)