Frequently Asked Questions
Cheryl Susman ADHD Coaching offers services in the Chicagoland area, Northern Suburbs, and all over the US and internationally by phone and virtually.
I help parents and adults living with ADHD and related neurodivergent challenges stay on track, create calm and bring out the best in their kids and themselves so they can move from surviving to thriving and reconnect to the joys of family life.
As a mom of three grown kids who have ADHD, learning disabilities and anxiety, I understand the emotional roller coaster that goes with our efforts to shoulder the burdens to support our kids. I'm committed to helping other parents and adults who are going through what I've seen my kids go through and what I've lived through with them myself.
Coaching is the facilitation of growth and change.
Our coaching partnership helps you close the gap between who you are, what's important to you, and what you're doing, so that you can lead a more satisfying and effective life. We support you to understand the ADHD brain and its related challenges, and how it impacts you and your child, so that you can get practical, realistic strategies to shift you and your family from chaos to calm.
ADHD coaching is an ongoing partnership, that helps clients live more effective and satisfying lives, by deepening their learning, improving their performance, and enhancing their quality of life.
Clients living with ADHD and other neurodivergent conditions have the same human needs as any coaching client. They also face unique challenges, which can interfere with their quality of life. These challenges might include hyperactivity, impulsivity, inattention, maintaining social relationships, and emotional regulation, as well as the belief that they or their loved ones can't or won't reach their goals because they have ADHD or live with a neurodivergent condition.
ADHD Coaches support their clients in developing a comprehensive understanding of both the nature of ADHD and the impact of ADHD/neurodivergent condition on their client's quality of life. In addition, ADHD coaches work with clients to create structures, support, skills and strategies to help them move forward with fuller and more satisfying lives.
*Adapted from The Guiding Principals For Coaching Individuals With Attention Deficit Disorder, presented by The National Attention Deficit Disorder Association Subcommittee on ADHD Coaching
Neurodiversity is a broad concept that recognizes and embraces the natural variation in neurological functioning among individuals. Living with neurodiversity encompasses the broader spectrum of neurological differences, while living with ADHD specifically pertains to the experiences of individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Neurodiversity encompasses various neurodivergent conditions, including but not limited to ADHD. Living with neurodiversity, refers to navigating and implementing the unique strengths and challenges associated with different neurodivergent conditions.
On the other hand, living with ADHD specifically pertains to the experiences of individuals diagnosed with ADHD. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by persistent patterns of inattention, and/or hyperactivity, distraction, and impulsivity. People living with ADHD and neurodiversity may also face challenges in areas such as focus, organization, time management, emotional dysregulation, working memory, communication, relationships, and executive functioning.
While ADHD is a form of neurodiversity, living with neurodiversity more broadly acknowledges and includes various other conditions such as autism, mental health conditions, sensory processing disorders, giftedness and twice exceptionality, aphantasia (difficulty visualizing images in the mind), dyslexia, dyspraxia (difficulty with coordination), dyscalculia (difficulty with math), dysgraphia (difficulty with writing) , as well as other conditions too numerous to mention. Each neurodivergent condition has its own set of characteristics and challenges, and individuals may navigate their lives with specific considerations related to their neurodivergent condition.
An ADHD Coach Can Help You…
- Understand the source of many of your challenges is not the result of personal shortcomings
- Safely examine areas of where you feel stuck
- Identify positive ADHD characteristics and appreciate strengths
- Create and maintain a well-balanced lifestyle
- Learn strategies for creating a supportive environment
- Receive ongoing support and encouragement
- Build self-confidence, self-esteem and self-regulation
- Learn self-advocacy skills for needs and boundaries
- Set achievable goals while minimizing stress
- Maximize productivity at home, school and in the workplace
- Develop techniques for prioritizing, focusing and staying on task
- Be master of your own time, plans and schedule
- Reach your goals
Coaching is most effective when there is a strong desire for change.
Parents hold the key to effective management of raising kids with ADHD and are generally motivated for things to change. I work with parents in an effort to help you empower you children and teens to seek help and support.
Kids with ADHD have challenges with self-management, self-esteem and accountability. For parents raising these unique and fascinating individuals, it's important to assist your child to recognize his strengths, identify what motivates her, ask for help and believe in himself. Parents need to hold the vision for our children that they are capable until they can hold that vision for themselves. This is tough to do when you are out of ideas and nothing seems to work.
Parent coaching is a combination of training and coaching that helps you make decisions and create personalized strategies that work best in your unique family circumstances. You get clarity you can apply to your life right away, create the change you want, and rediscover the joy of family life.
At the same time, you discover strategies you can apply to many facets of your life. You find you improve your other relationships too, and your life is more satisfying and effective overall.
If you are neurodivergent, you have a brain that works differently from the average or “neurotypical” person. There may be differences in social preferences, ways of learning, ways of communicating and/or ways of perceiving your environment.
You may be comfortable with rules and guidelines. At the same time, you are looking for more structure in your routines so you can manage your tasks across multiple settings.
Challenges with social cues, non-verbal communication, and maintaining social relationships can feel isolating, exhausting, and depleting. You may feel isolated and vulnerable, or exposed and stigmatized, in a society typically designed for neurotypical people.
Neurodivergent-affirming Coaching is a partnership that helps you live a more effective and satisfying life by deepening your learning and improving your performance.
We recognize and celebrate your unique strengths, abilities, and perspectives with the assertion that difference is not less than. We aim to empower you to navigate the challenges you face in a world that often expects conformity. While acknowledging the difficulties that may accompany being neurodivergent, we recognize and celebrate your unique talents and capabilities.
You gain a clear understanding to make informed decisions for cultivating self-discovery and establishing enduring, constructive habits.
You or your partner may have been diagnosed with ADHD, or perhaps you recognize some of your child's characteristics in yourself. You may wonder, and sometimes judge yourself, asking how you can help your child when you're struggling with managing yourself.
ADHD Coaching is a partnership where you learn as much as you can about your unique relationship with ADHD, without it being overwhelming. ADHD Coaching supports you in improving your performance based on who you are and what's important to you. As a result, you live a more effective and fulfilling life with less stress.
When you are a parent of an adult child who has challenges achieving the tasks of life needed to move towards independence, and you can feel frustrated, lost and confused.
You may question your adult child's choices and doubt your parenting. You may be puzzled by your adult child's difficulties with solving problems and being flexible.
You want to be affirming to your adult child. At the same time, it's rocky to navigate our adult child’s financially dependence. This is isolating, especially when family, friends, teachers or acquaintances do not understand your challenges.
Coaching to Launch Your Adult Child is a combination of training and coaching that helps you make personalized decisions that fit your unique situation in your family. You reconnect to your adult child so that decisions, boundaries, and expectations are communicated without judgment.
As an entrepreneur with ADHD, you mobilize your outside-the-box thinking into running your own business. You trust your gut, take needed risks, and seize opportunities. At the same time, even though you know what you need to do, you're having challenges doing what you know.
The multiple and simultaneous activities spawned by all your creative ideas are taxing in a demanding work environment. Planning, prioritizing, delegating, and decision-making are complex, as you are in charge not only of yourself but also your team.
Your natural ability for intensive concentration enables you to achieve great skill at your craft. Yet, you may have difficulty regulating your attention and focus so that you don't let go of other parts of your business or your life.
Coaching for Entrepreneurs with ADHD is a partnership that assists you in honing your strengths so you can be more effective and productive. By deepening your learning and improving your performance, we work together at fine-tuning your purpose and direction, so your work and life are more satisfying overall. You learn as much as you can about your unique relationship with ADHD without it being overwhelming.
Brain Health Coaching
You may be having lingering health problems long after you’ve recovered from an illness or injury and feeling lasting and persistent effects that are causing you to experience life very differently now.
Perhaps you are struggling with holding onto important details in conversations, remembering mental lists for the grocery store, or walking into a room and forgetting why you're there.
Neurological problems can have you experiencing headaches, difficulty concentrating, unabating fatigue, insomnia, loss of memory, and brain fog.
Long periods of isolation after an illness, injury, grief, stress from job loss, and financial difficulties can leave you with the haunting experience that your life has been turned upside down.
Brain Health Coaching is a partnership that helps you live a more effective and satisfying life, through attention training, memory training, and executive functioning training, such as planning, organizing, initiating tasks, solving problems, anticipating consequences, and monitoring performance.
We work together so you can stick to healthy habits and keep your brain vital and active. You get clarity in choosing the next steps to boost memory, recall, and retrieval, while you consistently build new patterns and routines. You get the support that guides you in creating a more fulfilling life with less stress and more joy
I offer a variety of ways to work with me, by phone or videoconference. Here’s an overview of our programs:
- You need to pave the way to make the change you want
- You want to tap into what motivates you or your child to bring out the best in you
- You need personalized action steps to get there that reinforce your unique strengths
- You want to get started managing your busy life with less stress
- You want to build productive habits to shift from chaos to calm
- You want to stay accountable to yourself and your family with kindness and respect
- You need to simplify your life to get things done
- You want to problem-solve to have a peaceful home with less stress
- You need to establish and maintain new tools and systems that stick
- You need to get centered on tackling one task or project at a time and develop a better understanding of how your circumstances impact you or your child
- You want to learn from your mistakes and accomplishments without judgment, and give yourself permission to celebrate your successes
- You want to get clarity you can apply with consistency to have a life that’s compatible with what’s important to you
I offer an initial 30-minute ADHD Strategy Assessment Session to talk through what's weighing on your mind, your past experiences and your desires for how you would like things to be. I look for hidden obstacles and areas of opportunity and for our coaching.
Any fees for this session are applied in total to any coaching program, even if it's another one-time session.
Based on our conversation, we design a high-level plan for our coaching and decide on what Coaching Program is optimal for you.
I work with parents and adults who live with challenges with executive functions, which are responsible for activating, organizing, planning, communicating, emotionally regulating, and sustaining focus on a task.
This includes working with individuals who live with ADHD, autism, mental health conditions, sensory processing disorders, giftedness and twice exceptionality, aphantasia (difficulty visualizing images in the mind), dyslexia, dyspraxia (difficulty with coordination), dyscalculia (difficulty with math), dysgraphia (difficulty with writing), metabolic disorders, as well as other conditions too numerous to mention which can interfere with executive functioning.
Working with me could not be simpler. We work through my 3-Part Change, Learn, Succeed™ program:
- We Team up on your challenges: Your strengths and your possibilities.
- Identify where you are now: What do you want to be different?
- Clarify what you need and value: Until your Needs are handled, life doesn't work; Values are what you stand for.
- Envision your goals: What are your hopes and dreams? What do you want to make progress on? Together we design specific, measurable and attainable goals to help you achieve success.
- Understand Strengths: Using your innate abilities, your strengths and your strongest learning styles increases motivation and productivity.
- Understand Your Unique Brain: We look at how you or your child's unique brain is wired so we can activate the brain with strategies you can use right away.
- Communication Management: We create opportunities to focus on your relationships, meet you where you are, and manage your triggers, without judgment of yourself, your child and anyone important to you.
- Self-Care: Essential to your well being, we find ways to integrate what works best for you: sleep, exercise, meditation, taking breaks, ordering out, or whatever it takes to take care of yourself.
- Create Systems and Structures: We create systems and structures based on what fits with who you are.
- Choose Actions: Decide on your best actions to achieve your goals and aspirations.
- Accountability Steps: Without judgment, we look at the learning in the action taken or not taken. What's the opportunity in this? This is the essential component of real and effective change.
- Apply new learning to new challenges: As you increase your awareness for change and new learning, you use your new skills and apply them to new goals.
- Regulate your distractors: Make the most out of your creative energy and manage your time so that it works best for you.
- Build your List of Best Practices and Resources: Keep adding to your list of your key supports at work, home or school.
- Celebrate your learning and new opportunities: Have fun! Celebrate your wins and your learning. You deserve it! With increased self-awareness and mastery, move forward with confidence, transforming your life from surviving to thriving!
Coaching is for people who are ready for change and willing to take action. Individuals may seek the support of therapy when they may not yet be ready to make change because of major psychological underpinnings, and may seek the support of a coach when they are ready. It is common for a person to have a therapist and a coach to work in different areas.
An analogy that can be used for coaching vs. therapy is when you're building and designing a rec room in the basement of your house. First, the basement has to be repaired with any water damage and leaks to get it ready for the rec room restoration. Coaching comes into play when the last phases of the restoration work are behind you. The analogy to coaching would be when you are ready to move to the design of the rec room: What is the overall vision, what would be the goals for the use of space, what are the needs for the room for your life style, and more!
[Smith, Lee & Griffith-Hayne, Madelyn, (2015) Differences Between the Therapist and the Coach].
The majority of my coaching is done over the phone. I also coach virtually by video conference. These are efficient and productive methods that enable my clients to take advantage of coaching from the comfort of their home or office.
I work with clients anywhere from two to six months or more, depending on the best fit for you to achieve your goals. My coaching programs provide flexibility so that you may schedule sessions as frequently as you like, depending on your schedule and availability. In addition to our scheduled sessions, I provide unlimited email and voice-mail check-ins between sessions, and a wide variety of resources at no extra charge depending on the program you choose.
Coaching is not covered by health insurance. That said, some of my clients pay with flexible spending accounts or FSA's. This is a plan that lets you set aside pre-tax dollars for health care expenses not covered by your insurance co-pays. Estimate your spending carefully because with most plans you use it or lose it for the calendar year. Talk to your employer and/or your accountant about setting up an FSA.
You can also look into tax deductions. You may be able to deduct unreimbursed medical expenses, according to IRS Publication 502. Keep careful records for at least three years and obtain certification from your doctor that the expense has been made for diagnosis, cure, alleviation, prevention, treatment, or dysfunction of your/your child's condition.
If you have a disability, some of these medical deductions can be claimed as business expenses if they are related to your business occupation and are necessary for you to be able to work (See Tax Highlights for Persons with Disabilities). In this case, you can take a business deduction for expenses that are necessary for you to be able to work.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), you have a disability if you have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of your major life activities, such as performing manual tasks, walking, speaking, seeing, hearing, learning, or working. Therefore, having a "diagnosis" of ADHD does not necessarily mean that an individual has a "disability" within the meaning of the ADA and is not sufficient by itself to qualify for protection under ADA. (See How Does the Federal Government Define Disability).
Services and benefits under the Americans with disabilities Act (ADA) are not to be confused with entitlement for school services. The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) is a federal law that requires schools to serve the educational needs of eligible students with disabilities at no cost to the parent. A student with ADHD is eligible for special education services, where ADHD falls under the category "Other Health Impaired." Although many children with ADHD have learning disabilities, ADHD is not considered to be a specific learning disability.
Do any of these statements sound familiar?
- I've tried things before but nothing seems to stick.
- I'm constantly in crisis mode.
- Time doesn't exist until it gets away from me.
- I'm overwhelmed by the chaos in our lives. I feel out of control.
- I need to stop yelling and start managing.
- I'm struggling to keep up with the demands of my job, school and family.
- Even though I know what to do it's tough to do it all.
- I think I may have ADHD. How do I manage my family and myself?
- After working with me, my clients say they can manage their lives with more commitment and focus. They tell me they have less stress, more confidence and are more empowered to create the family life they really want.
- I'm a mother of three grown kids living with ADHD and related challenges and I have an acute understanding of the struggles and joys living with ADHD.
- Lastly, I'm a professional. Anyone can hang out a shingle and call themselves a coach, but they may not have been formally trained in specific coaching skills. I have taken the time to become qualified for coaching individuals, especially individuals with ADHD.
- I graduated from the Coach Approach for Organizers™ Training, one of the few accredited programs by the International Coach Federation (ICF), the governing body of the coaching profession. In addition to being a member of the ICF since 2014, I achieved the ICF Coach Credential of Associate Certified Coach (ACC).
- I am also a Professional Educational Therapist, hold an Illinois Educator's Certification, and an MA in Special Education, each specializing in learning disabilities and behavioral issues. You can learn more here.
I want you to feel comfortable with your decision to work with me, so I'm taking away all the risk. I don't want you to have to wonder if my systems, tools and resources I'll share really work.
Here's my No-risk 3-point Guarantee:
- I offer I offer articles and tools on my website, so you can sample my style, philosophies and approach.
- You get my "Pull the Ripcord Promise" on my programs. Depending on the program, after the first session (or hour), you can "pull the ripcord" and parachute out of our work together with no further obligation. A small administrative fee may apply in some cases.
- I will not accept you as a client unless I am convinced that I can help you and that my service is right for you.
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Thanks for checking the calendar first to find an appointment time that works for both of us. If you don’t see anything that works for you please join my wait list by indicating any time that’s convenient for you and I will get right back with you as soon as a time opens up. Thank you so much! ~ Cheryl