An attention deficit disorder (ADD) coach is a person who provides assistance to people with ADD and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who need assistance with life tasks from doing homework to applying for jobs. ADD coaches provide their clients with skills they may find useful, and they may work in concert with other service providers such as occupational therapists, social workers, and mental health professionals, depending on the needs of the client. Special training and certification is usually not required to become an ADD coach, but can help for people who want to build coaching careers.
ADD coaches can meet with people of all ages, although they commonly work with adults and teenagers. Like other life coaches, they start professional relationships with their clients by sitting down with the client to talk about goals and identify specific problems. Some clients just want general help organizing their lives, while some may have a specific goal like getting into college, applying for a desired job, or addressing a workplace problem.
The ADD coach may run some tests to learn more about the specific impairments and obstacles a client experiences. This information is used together with data collected in the interview to develop an approach appropriate to the client's needs. An ADD coach may help people with tasks like learning to process and complete applications, selecting appropriate clothing for interviews, or learning how to minimize nervous tics or avoid fidgeting when talking with people.
People with ADD and ADHD can experience a variety of focus issues that often lead to problems with completing tasks. An ADD coach works with a client to develop focusing skills and to help clients channel excess energy into productive uses. They may provide their clients with exercises to do at home, as well as workbooks for processing their experiences, and clients can be encouraged to journal or otherwise document their days to collect information the coach may find useful in helping them address specific concerns. The ADD coach may note, for example, that the client works better in specific conditions, and can work with the client on creating a more effective workspace.
Clients may meet with an ADD coach for a single session to work on a simple issue, or plan on several sessions to go over various life skills. Other people work on and off with a coach for an extended period of time, relying on the assistance of the coach to help them address and adapt to life changes.
Some coaches work independently, while others are attached to clinical practices or social service organizations. People interested in working with an ADD coach can usually get referrals from doctors or ADD forums, where people with ADD meet up to exchange information and advice.