A Mother shares their journey to success with ADHD and executive impairments
I am a speech pathologist working for the schools.
My name is Tracy and I am a speech pathologist working for the schools. I had a daughter who came to Progressive Therapy Associates.
She was a pretty typical child. She wasn't an overactive little person in any way. When she moved to junior high it was like the balloon popped. We tried to figure out, for years actually what it was that wasn't fitting together for her. It didn't take long to figure out that the support that elementary school had given her with teachers reminding her to hand something in, baskets out on the desk, showing where to put stuff, it was fine to go get something out of your locker, at that point, “sure, go grab it”. Oh, I left that at home. “Okay bring it tomorrow”. Those things gave her success.
When she was in middle school there were several roadblocks to her being successful. One of those was that things left in your locker stay in your locker and now it's incomplete or incorrect. I was shocked when people told me the number of things that were incomplete, not turned in. It was like 20 papers, 20 assignments. I was like, "Wow, what has happened to this kid?" Of course, like all really good parents, I was so mad. I thought, "I should give her the business when I get home."
It didn't take me long to think something is not falling into place. She didn't go from a caring student, excited about having perfect scores in science to, "Wow, I don't care anymore and I'm just not turning anything in." It didn't take me long to think something wasn't right.
I was dangling because you want her to be successful. You're looking at this best gift you could've been given wrapped in a fabulous package, smart, creative, wonderful, and you thought, "Use it." You know what I mean? “Tap it”. “Do something and find it!”, but she just couldn't. She couldn't.
College was a challenge. A couple of things happened with her at Progressive. Number one, I was delighted with the assessment that she had. At first I thought, "Oh okay. Well if these girls are speech people, so am I. What can you bring?" Her assessment was amazing. I came when the results were shared and I remember thinking, "Yeah, that's her. ADHD is not all of her. This is her.” This inability to plan at where I'm starting and where I need to get, how long I should take on this so I can get to the end, how I set my calendar up so that I have little steps to get some, to get a project done, even as far as how to manage her own life, which sounds weird, but it did impact that. She definitely could not have laundry done, take care of an apartment, and do a project. That was impossible.
With Progressive Therapy they worked on strategies and skills for figuring out how to do life, multi-step things and how to work a calendar like that. I just think one thing that helped Haley was just knowing that, "Oh, it's not that I'm a lot of other things like that I'm just forgetful, I'm just, you know ..." I don't think she ever thought she was lazy, because that's not a characteristic that would describe her. It effects how someone feels about themselves.
Your person is sort of what you put out there. If what you put out there is, “I almost had it done” and “I almost got there on time” ... You don't feel good about what you're giving. I think her learning a lot about herself at Progressive and about her working memory and ways that she learns better. We all sort of know that, but this was a very in depth analysis of how she manages things. Having that in itself helped her look at what she could do to improve that. Today, she's successfully working as an interior designer and that takes a lot of planning and thinking, and meetings and she handles it beautifully.
We see individuals with ADHD, traumatic brain injury, and concussion as well as stroke.
When people think about speech language pathology, they typically think about speech disorders or language challenges, which speech therapists can do, but here, we've just chosen to focus more on the cognitive aspect and when I say that, I mean things to do with focus and memory, speed of processing, planning, problem solving, organization, all those daily skills that help you to really function and organize your life.
If you're someone who's struggling with attention or memory or planning for instance, for a variety of reasons, you can self-refer. You can pick up the phone and call us at 701-356-7766. You can find us on our website and submit your information and come for a free consultation or your primary care doctor can also refer you for treatment at Progressive Therapy Associates.