CHADD. It is the oldest, largest, and arguably the best known of the organizations supporting families living with ADHD (sorry, ADDA). It was also an acronym for Children with Attention Deficit Disorder.

Since CHADD was founded in 1987, a lot has been learned about the disorder. With the growth of understanding, primarily from scientific research, the name of the organization was eventually changed to Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

CHADD has been successful, in part, because in its mission, it has taken a stand “to be a community resource and disseminate accurate, evidence-based information about AD/HD to parents, educators, adults, professionals, and the media; to promote ongoing research; and to be an advocate on behalf of the AD/HD community.”

And this is where the conflict been CHADD and ADHD coaching has always been. Although ADHD coaching as been a specialty since the mid 1990s, it was not until 2005 that any research documenting its effects on people with ADHD was published. Thanks to public pressure and the extraordinary efforts of ACO members Nancy Ratey, Jodi Sleeper-Triplett, and Sandy Maynard, CHADD had started having some information on its website and some coaching presentations at its conference before then, but coaching was clearly not yet embraced because it was not yet “evidence-based”.

Well, this year clearly changed all that. The coaching track at CHADD’s 21st Annual International Conference on ADHD held in Cleveland, OH earlier this month, was the largest ever. Not only were there more coaching track sessions, but the diversity of topics and presenters (almost all of them ACO members) was particularly notable in contrast to previous years. There were presentations on intermediate and advanced coaching skills, presentations on what coaching is and why you should choose coaching, and, notably, two research presentations on the effects of coaching on college students with ADHD.

I think this is key to why CHADD is opening its arms wider to coaching. I think CHADD’s attitude change is also another indication of a sea change for our profession: it is getting recognition as a serious and legitimate part of multi-modal interventions for living well with ADHD.

All I can say is, “it’s about time!”

Check out the list of  all the ACO members who presented at this conference here.

Sarah WrightAll my best,
Sarah Wright
President, ADHD Coaches Organization, Inc.