Diane Dempster and Elaine Taylor-Klaus are certified coaches, experts in parenting complex kids, and the founders of the highly acclaimed ImpactADHD – the first EVER virtual coaching and training resource designed specifically for parents of children with ADD/ADHD and related challenges.
They are also parents of a combined 6 children between their two families with ADD/ADHD, plus a number of other ‘complex’ issues.
Over the past few years they have become sought after as the “voice for parents” in the ADHD world.
They have also been approached for guidance or contributions by national resources such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, Attention and ADDitude magazines, and other national press. Elaine serves as a columnist for the Huffington Post, and on the National Board of Directors of CHADD (Children and Adults with ADD).
When my daughter was just two weeks old, she started to scream.
It didn’t stop.
As other kids passed childhood milestones, she struggled to master simple life skills.
The years to follow were filled with occupational therapy, vision therapy, everything therapy it often seemed. Instead of forming friendships, she changed schools again and again. She carried the heavy, lonely burden of not just one life-changing diagnosis, but three: ADHD, anxiety, and learning disabilities.
I was desperate for community, for help. My daughter, thankfully, had a great therapist who provided her with guidance and support. Honestly, I couldn’t help but think: “What about me?!” I knew I needed to do something. I just had no idea what.
So many parents of kids with ADHD seek help for their kids, but rarely for themselves. When I discovered coaching, I finally realized that all the negative emotions I had been experiencing were pointless.
My entire life changed completely when I sought help for me, and also got my own diagnosis of ADHD – which explained a lot!
Suddenly full of a new hope and purpose, I went back to school and earned my coaching certification. Why? Because that coach saved my life! I wanted to provide that same compassion, understanding, and light for all those other parents who were “off the radar” too. They would have a community; they would never have to feel as alone and desperate as I did.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my experience, it’s this: It’s hard to help your kid — or yourself — build a strong, healthy life if you start with a shaky foundation. I needed to strengthen mine and parent from a place of hope and optimism, not fear and anxiety. My life’s purpose is now to help other parents build a solid foundation for their families.
As a professional in my late-thirties, I was the “get-it-done-woman.” Known for my tenacity and achievements in the corporate world, I hit every pitch out of the park… until ADD came along!
As the reality of raising two complex children (and being married to a complex adult!) set in, I realized I needed to make some changes, for my family – and for me. It marked the start of a lifelong journey of growth, acceptance, and compassion.
Like any challenge I’d overcome in my professional life, I thought I could tackle ADD with sheer willpower and hard work. I became Super Mom, getting everyone up and moving in the morning, making sure homework was done at night – and managing everything else in between. A walking, talking Executive Function machine!
It worked, too. For a while. As I poured more and more of myself into my family, I had less for work, less for my relationship with my spouse, less for myself. Super Mom became Short-Tempered, Stressed, Resentful Mom. I felt like I was losing myself. Nothing worked, from yoga to anti-depressants. I realized I needed to make some major changes.
Through coaching, I was able to regain confidence in myself. With a strong spiritual connection and the tenacity I thought I’d lost, I redefined “Super Mom.” Now, I know that it means honoring my own needs and taking care of myself with as much compassion as I do my family (and as much patience!).
When I’m coaching clients, I use an “inside-out” approach. When they connect to a positive vision, and identify roadblocks that are impeding their journey, they can overcome and thrive. First inside, then outside, as that energy and awareness impacts every aspect of their lives.