What a fantastic start we have had to the Academy and GAP Year Programs at SOAR! We are thrilled to be programming in person and so excited for all of the adventures and memories to come! Both the Academy and GAP Year started the semester in early September and have completed their first rotation. Both programs have two phases, a campus or base phase and an expedition phase where participants get to travel out in the real world for two weeks!
In Waynesville, NC, the Academy at SOAR kicked off by welcoming students and their families with an in-person orientation and dinner. The Academy was able to get a few facelifts before the start of the school year bringing color and more fun into the halls! So far our teachers, Gene (humanities), Shelia (English/language arts), Blair (science), and Em (math), have had a great time with the students in class as well as on field trips. They have been to Western Carolina University, where they attended a Forensic Science lecture with Dr. Becca George, visited the rooftop of the new Apodaca science building with astrophysicist Dr. Gomez, met with author and bird behavior biologist Dr. Jeremy Hyman, and visited the Fine Arts Museum (that was the absolute favorite!). The students were also able to attend a live local theatre production of “The Diary of Anne Frank” at the Hart Theatre in Waynesville.
As for their first expedition of the year, the four houses completed their Triple Threat challenge! Staying close to home, they visited the beautiful backcountry of South Carolina where they went on a backpacking expedition, whitewater rafting on the Chattooga River, and canoeing across Fontana Lake. North house field instructors, Curtis and Tessa, shared, “After an immensely fortuitous and eventful two weeks, we find ourselves back at Folkmoot and getting into the swing of things on campus. Looking forward to our next expedition, where we will be heading towards the Tennessee and Georgia line to backpack the Cohutta Wilderness and do some climbing in Chattanooga, Tennessee!”
Meanwhile, in Dubois, WY, the GAP Year at SOAR welcomed gappers and their families to Eagle View Ranch for an in-person orientation and introduction! During their first base phase, gappers prepared for their expedition and got to experience their first (tiny) dusting of snow. The team woke up to a remarkable view of snow-capped mountains in the distance. They have been busy camping in Sinks Canyon, rock-climbing, playing on the Alpine Tower, starting Life Skills Lessons, and planning for future phases of GAP.
As for the gapper’s first expedition, the group successfully explored Yellowstone, backpacked in the Wind River Range at Green River Lakes, and rock climbed in City of Rocks in Idaho! The group will soon be starting their first college course at Central Wyoming College and will get a tour, be introduced to the class instructors of their Intro to College course. The team will be completing Life Skills Lessons, volunteering, expedition planning, and adventuring this weekend in Jackson, WY.
It is going to be an amazing year! Stay tuned for more updates! Stay connected with SOAR on social media so that you never miss out on the Academy and GAP Year updates!
A quick caveat on finding an ADHD coach by searching on Google: there is no formal licensing process required to become an ADHD coach, so it is up to you to make sure that the person you work with has the training and expertise to meet your or your child’s needs.
When vetting coaches, we recommend:
Starting by asking about their coach training and credentials, including whether they’ve been vetted by an organization like the ADHD Coaches Organization (ACO) or any of the others listed above
Asking to connect with one or two of the coach’s clients
Interviewing the coach to see what their impressions are (if the coach is for them, of course)
What Certifications Should I Look For When Vetting Coaches?
Unfortunately, there is not a single universally recognized certification for ADHD coaching.
And because of that, for the purposes of this article we have chosen to refrain from listing certifications to look for when vetting coaches. Any list would inevitably leave out valid certifications, while also potentially running the risk of lending authority to certifications that may be incomplete for ADHD-specific coaching.
For example, the International Coach Federation (ICF) provides excellent training for life coaches but does not currently have a specific ADHD coaching certification. So, while ICF certification is a great indication of quality when vetting ADHD coaches, it would be misleading to say that an ICF-certified coach is specifically trained to handle clients with ADHD (though an ICF certification coupled with ADHD training/certification could make for a great combination).
To be clear, we are not trying to say that you should ignore certifications or credentials when vetting coaches—you absolutely should consider certifications and trainings when vetting a potential coach—but rather to say that the certification landscape for ADHD coaches is complicated.
An ADHD coach is someone specially trained to help people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) to manage their daily lives.
What does that mean, exactly? Let’s take a look.
ADHD Coaching for Teens
An ADHD coach can help students by proposing frameworks for organizing their daily tasks, managing their time, making decisions, and finding the motivation and drive to move forward with tasks in their lives. ADHD coaches can also be helpful when it comes to helping teens with how they see themselves—that is, with their self-esteem.
If your child seems to struggle with being late and managing his or her time, or always has a stack of overdue homework, an ADHD coach could be the solution.
ADHD Coaching for Parents of ADHD Kids and Adults with ADHD
For adults, ADHD coaches can help with many of the same kinds of issues, such as organization, time management, decision-making, motivation, and self-esteem. However, the emphasis in adult coaching will be on adult issues and scenarios.
But ADHD coaches don’t just work with people who have ADHD. If your child has ADHD, you may want coaching for yourself to help develop strategies for supporting them, and that’s one aspect of the work that an ADHD coach can do for parents. (Of course, ADHD coaches can also support parents with ADHD, too.)
How Can You Get the Most Out of ADHD Coaching?
If you’re looking for an ADHD coach for your child, the clearer you and your child are about your goals for coaching, the more likely it is that the effort will be a success.
And the same goes for your own personal goals with coaching, whether you’re seeking coaching for your own goals or to work on aspects of parenting a child with ADHD.
When considering your goals for coaching, it’s important to keep in mind that an ADHD coach isn’t a therapist or a medical expert, but someone trained to help people with ADHD and ADD to live better lives through taking proactive steps to address specific issues.
If you can help your teen identify the issues they want to work on and arrive in your prospective coach’s office ready to discuss action plans for tackling each one, they will already be ahead of the game. You may have issues that you think your teen should tackle through coaching, but remember that your teen is the client, not you, and it’s important that they have an active role in shaping their coaching goals.
Also, keep in mind is that ADHD coaching is very personal.
If you or your child doesn’t click with the coach you’re considering, then the relationship may not be successful. So pay attention to the chemistry between you and your potential coach or your child and the potential coach. If it’s not working, don’t feel bad about walking away and trying someone else.
Just because a coach is a graduate of a top program—or has multiple certifications—doesn’t guarantee that he can help you. Experience and innate ability are more important than formal training and diplomas.
“Your life story is within your control. Sometimes it just takes a little perspective to see what is most true for you.”
Physical location: Charlottesville, VA Works with: Adults, Parents, Teens, College Students, Children & Family Vetted by: ADHD Coaches Organization—view ACO profile Follow Coaching Cville: Blog | Twitter
“Unfortunately, there is still a tremendous amount of stigma, judgment and lack of education on the part of parents, teachers, bosses and others when it comes to understanding ADHD. Seeing how this . . . impacts those with ADHD led to my decision to become an ADHD Coach.”
Physical location: Raleigh-Durham, NC Works with: Adults, Teens, College Students, Children & Family Vetted by: ADHD Coaches Organization—view ACO profile Follow Positive Focus: Blog | Facebook
“I am excited to accompany others in their own search for happiness, focus, achievement and fulfillment in their professional and personal lives, and to carry a message of hope and acceptance of each other’s needs and differences.”
Physical location: San Diego, CA Works with: Adults, Parents, Students, College Students Vetted by: ADHD Coaches Organization—view ACO profile Follow Isabelle: Facebook | Blog
“The reality is that love and logic are not sufficient when you are dealing with inconsistencies, challenges, and frustrations in raising your child who has ADHD.”
Physical location: Boulder, CO Works with: Adults, Parents, Teens, Students, Children & Family, College Students Vetted by: ADHD Coaches Organization—view ACO profile Follow PTS Coaching: Blog | Facebook
“Through ADHD coaching, individuals impacted by ADHD develop new skills and strategies to better manage their lives; identify and work toward their life goals; and become more educated about how their ADHD affects their life.”
Physical location: Park Ridge, IL Works with: Adults, Parents, Teens, Students, Children & Family, College Students Vetted by: ADHD Coaches Organization—view ACO profile Follow ADDVisor: Website
“My coaching style honors the client as the expert in his or her life and work or school, and believes that every client is creative, resourceful, and whole. The vision for my practice is that clients find their unique path to a purposeful and fulfilling life.”
Physical location: Burke, VA Works with: Parents, Teens, Children & Family Vetted by: SOAR—direct relationship with SOAR Follow PathFinder Coaching: Facebook | Pinterest
“Understanding the differences and complexities of ADHD is key to receiving quality ADHD coaching. As a coach, I am committed to continual education and research while applying the principles of neuroplasticity. This is one reason I subscribe to the saying one size does not fit all.’ The same tools, methods and trends are not always transferable from one client to another. As I work with each client, we identify short and long term goals, individual strengths, and develop personalized techniques that demonstrate value.”
Physical location: Burlingame, CA Works with: Adults, Parents, Students, Children & Family, College Students Vetted by: ADHD Coaches Organization—view ACO profile Follow Elizabeth: Website
“Christine works with frustrated individuals of all ages who want to dig into why they do the things they do and then leverage that knowledge into strategies and new skills that provides the structure they need to move forward.”
Physical location: Columbus, OH Works with: Adults, Teens, Students, Children & Family, College Students Vetted by: ADHD Coaches Organization—view ACO profile Follow CK ADHD Coaching:Facebook | LinkedIn
“I have helped more than one thousand people with ADHD turn their greatest deficit into their greatest asset.”
Physical location: Westerville, OH Works with: Adults, Students, Children & Family, Seniors, College Students Vetted by: ADHD Coaches Organization—view ACO profile Follow Bridge to Success Skills Training: Blog
“I have found that struggling students are overwhelmed by so much more than academics. My goal is help them get on track both personally and academically as they recognize their abilities and start to gain confidence in themselves.”
Physical location: Petaluma, CA Works with: Adults, Parents, Teens, Students, Children & Family, College Students Vetted by: ADHD Coaches Organization—view ACO profile Follow Attention Focus Coaching: Blog
“Through my own work, I have witnessed first hand the tremendous benefit that comes from working with a trained and certified coach. With the support of coaching, my clients live with greater intention, increased productivity, more satisfying relationships, and higher self-esteem.”
Physical location: Cincinnati, OH Works with: Adults, Parents, College Students Vetted by: ADHD Coaches Organization—view ACO profile Follow ADHD Life Skills: Website
“Together we are going to look at your life from a new perspective. We’ll uncover your individual strengths and talents. We’ll focus on the gifts that ADHD brings. We’ll work hard to ensure that you know how to use them. And we’ll see you becoming increasingly successful at overcoming your personal challenges.”
Physical location: Dillsburg, PA Works with: Adults, Parents, Teens, Students Vetted by: ADD Association—view ADDA profile Follow A.D.D.: Website
“This is a ‘whole child’ approach. Whether it’s a coach, a parent, or a professional, there is a growing desire for people to learn the techniques that work. Coaching is the missing piece of the ADHD intervention enigma.”
Physical location: Alexandria, VA Works with: Adults, Parents, Teens, Students, College Students Vetted by: ADHD Coaches Organization—view ACO profile Follow JST Coaching: Blog | Facebook
“I believe education in the modern understanding of ADHD and Executive Functioning Skills is the key to correctly interpreting their behavior and thus, finding successful ways to modify that behavior to achieve success.”
Physical location: Corinth, TX Works with: Parents, Teens, Students, Children & Family Vetted by: ADHD Coaches Organization—view ACO profile Follow Encouraging Development: Blog | Facebook
“Parent Coaching helps you stop worrying and start managing. You develop personalized strategies and tools to manage the ADHD in your family . . . You reconnect with what’s important to you and stop putting yourself last.”
Physical location: Chicago, IL Works with: Adults, Parents, College Students Vetted by: ADHD Coaches Organization—view ACO profile Follow Cheryl:Blog | Facebook
“It takes more than special programs, IEPs, social skills groups and occupational therapy to raise complex children in this modern world. It takes parents, committed to helping their children reach their potential, open to a new way to tackle old problems!”
“Being affected by ADHD often causes us to struggle to get stuff done in a timely manner. Unfortunately there are no easy answers. If we remember that we often tell ourselves stories to avoid doing things we can sometimes stop the storytelling and look at the facts. Then take action.”
Physical location: Washington, D.C. Works with: Adults, Teens, Seniors, College Students Vetted by: ADHD Coaches Organization—view ACO profile Follow Abigail: Blog | Podcast
ALEKS is a ground-breaking technology developed from research at New York University and the University of California, Irvine, by a team of software engineers, mathematicians, and cognitive scientists with the support of a multi-million-dollar grant from the National Science Foundation. ALEKS is fundamentally different from previous educational software. At the heart of ALEKS is an artificial intelligence engine that assesses each student individually and continuously.
ALEKS is based upon original theoretical work in a field of study called “Knowledge Space Theory.” Work in Knowledge Space Theory was begun in the early 1980s by Dr. Jean-Claude Falmagne, an internationally renowned mathematician and Professor of Cognitive Sciences who is the Chairman and founder of ALEKS Corporation.
HOW DOES ALEKS WORK?
ALEKS avoids multiple-choice questions and instead uses flexible and easy to use answer input tools that mimic what would be done with paper and pencil. When a student first logs on to ALEKS, a brief tutorial shows him how to use these ALEKS answer input tools. The student then begins the ALEKS Assessment. In a short period of time (about 45 minutes for most courses), ALEKS assesses the student’s current course knowledge by asking him a small number of questions (usually 20-30). ALEKS chooses each question on the basis of his answers to all the previous questions. Each student, and therefore each set of assessment questions, is unique. It is impossible to predict the questions that will be asked.
By the time the student has completed the assessment, ALEKS has developed a precise picture of her knowledge of the course, knowing which topics she has mastered and which topics she hasn’t. The student’s knowledge is represented by a multi-color pie chart.
The pie chart is also the student’s entry into the Learning Mode. In the Learning Mode, she is offered a choice of topics that she is ready to learn (she has the prerequisite knowledge to successfully learn these topics). When she chooses a topic to learn,
ALEKS offers her practice problems that teach the topic. These problems have enough variability that a student can only get them consistently correct on understanding the core principle defining the topic. If a student doesn’t understand a particular problem, she can always access a complete explanation. Once she can consistently get the problems for a given topic correct, ALEKS considers that the student has learned the topic and the student chooses another topic to learn. As the student learns new topics, ALEKS updates its map of the student’s knowledge. The student can observe the most current summary of what she knows and what she is ready to learn.
To ensure that topics learned are retained in long term memory, ALEKS periodically reassesses the student, using the results to adjust the student’s knowledge of the course. Because students are forced to show mastery through mixed-question assessments that cannot be predicted, mastery of the ALEKS course means true mastery of the course.
WHAT ARE ALEKS LEARNING RATES?
ALEKS keeps server statistics that measure learning success of all students, namely how often they succeed at learning a concept that ALEKS offers them as “ready to learn.” When ALEKS determines that a student is ready to learn an item, the student is able to learn it a very high percentage of the time. In the small percentage of cases where the student is initially unsuccessful, the topic is presented again to the student later on. Because of the artificial intelligence in ALEKS, students are almost always successful at learning the material ALEKS offers them. (The level of instructor involvement doesn’t affect this.)
The Average Historical Student Learning Rates with ALEKS is ~90%
WHAT ARE SOME OTHER FEATURES OF ALEKS?
Many topics are available in both English and Spanish. Simply click next to “English” in the main menu and pull down to “Espanol.”
ALEKS avoids multiple-choice questions. All questions are algorithmically generated and require a “free response.”
Whenever the student reenters the system after a break, she automatically returns to the place she was last working. This is true even if the departure was caused by unexpected loss of connectivity on the Internet or a PC crash.
If you have any questions about the Academy at SOAR and how we work with our students on academics please call the Admissions Office at 828-456-3435!
SOAR is an authorized permittee of the National Park Service and the National Forest Service. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in its programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.