An ADHD coach in Los Angeles?
February 15, 2011 6:17 AM   Subscribe

Looking for an ADHD coach based in Los Angeles.

My 25-year-old son is studying photography at Santa Monica College and he lives in West Hollywood. I live in Toronto. He has been trying to pass the compulsory algebra (or whatever) math course for three semesters now, but he keeps failing the test. He won't get a diploma without it.

In high school he was diagnosed with ADHD, and I am thinking of suggesting he get an ADHD coach. At first, I thought of a subject-specific math tutor, but I suspect that by now he has probably grasped at least some of the basics and needs help with organization, study strategies, test-taking skills, etc. I also suspect that this math is so (relatively) basic that the average college-educated person probably knows it and could help with some of the content. The focus would be very narrow and short-term: pass the test.

What might be a fairly simple process if I were on the ground there seems more than a little daunting from Toronto.

Ideally, I would like to find one based on personal recommendations. I am aware of the ADHD Coaches Organization. Their web search turns up only one coach in LA. The ADD Coach Academy seems to be a private company brokering coaches. There is also something called The Institute for the Advancement of AD/HD coaching. Are there other similar organizations I should be checking out? How can I assess their reputation? Even if I get some names, out do I check individuals out?

Could any MeFite recommend a coach?

As a sidebar, (and I think this is typical of certain ADHD people) he is reluctant/unable to find out what services SMC offers to ADHD students (if any). I wonder if the college itself might be able to help. His experience is that their guidance services and their help for international students is woefully inadequate in this regard, although I have no way of independently checking this out.
posted by feelinggood to Education (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
He has been trying to pass the compulsory algebra (or whatever) math course for three semesters now, but he keeps failing the test.

Why would he need a coach and not a math tutor?
posted by anniecat at 6:32 AM on February 15, 2011

A coach is expensive and may or may not help.

I'd start with SMC's disability services -- at least to chat with them. They are there to help. They are free.
posted by k8t at 6:51 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I went to SMC. The disability services office is where you want to start-- Sharon Teruya over there is one of the learning disability department leads and has a PhD in this sort of thing, and is also in private practice as a therapist for folks with LD. If you can get assistance on that level without paying private-practice money, do it.

(Is there any chance this is a comorbid LD issue like dyscalculia?)

Also, yeah, SMC regular course counseling was always hit or miss; if Oscar Galindo's still in academic advising, I found him pretty reasonable to deal with. Those guys are not set up to handle accommodation without the disability office's involvement.

After, three shots at the math req, you will need some proof of an underlying serious concern to get a fourth one, if I recall correctly. Bring his records, any IEPs he had in the past, etc., to the disability guys and let them help.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 8:07 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

(Also, you say "the course or whatever" and then "failing the test." Please get very clear on what exactly he's trying to do and update us-- has he failed a particular math *class* three times, or is he not getting the score he needs on the Accuplacer math test to get into the class he needs?)
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 8:10 AM on February 15, 2011

Yeah, I read this and also thought dyscalculia. Please get him checked for that. It's REALLY hard to do algebra if you have it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:39 AM on February 15, 2011

From OP: I think the course is algebra but I'm not sure (hence the "whatever": it's not "course or whatever" it's "algebra or whatever"). I don't think the actual branch of mathematics is material here. He takes the course, he attends the classes, he tries to do the assignments, and he fails the examination at the end of the semester. He's already been placed, so I don't think it's the Accuplacer test.

I think ADHD coach rather than tutor because in my conversations with him he suggests that it's the (what I would call) "word problems" that stump him. He can do the calculations (I and he think) if he could figure out which calculations to do.

From my reading of the Wikipedia entry on discalculia, I would say that is not his problem -- but I'm going on 2nd-hand information here. I have only his reports about himself (not always reliable, I know).

Thank you for the names at SMC. I will encourage him to follow up with these people.
posted by feelinggood at 3:04 PM on February 15, 2011

Your concern and your desire to help your son is very evident and your frustration is very common for parents of college students with ADHD. The problems with organization, studies strategies, test taking skills, etc. stem from the loss of structure he enjoyed at home and in high school however the University system demands that the student advocate for themselves.You said "The focus would be very narrow and short-term: pass the test". I would contend that learning how to be organized and accountable are the goals that are appropriate for a professional ADHD coach specializing in college students. Jodi Sleeper Triplet has just written a book called Empowering Youth with ADHD where she describes the methods that coaches and parents can use to draw young people forward. Her website is

You are correct, the University can offer significant assistance and having a coach would empower your son to take advantage of the accommodations, and to tailor those, to him as an individual.

I understand your desire for a personal recommendation but keep in mind that finding the right fit revolves around the rapport between the coach and your son. If you hire a coach it will require that your son completely trust this person and that means the relationship is privileged and confidential. It will be up to your son to communicate the goals and accomplishments that he is working on with his coach. From a practical standpoint most coaching is done over the phone, e-mail, and text, so you can look for the best fit without worrying about location. For example I live in South Carolina and I have a client in Hollywood. I could share her testimonial if you wrote to me at
posted by Bob Hathcock at 7:03 AM on February 16, 2011

Hello! I am an AD/HD Coach based right here in Santa Monica, quite close to the college, actually. In addition to my career as a Special Education Teacher and Administrator, I have particular training as an AD/HD Coach and, interestingly enough, studied with jstcoaching (as noted above). I work with kids and adults and much of my private practice is comprised of high school, college and graduate students with AD/HD. Here is my website if you would like further information about the services I offer. Sincerely, Barbara.
posted by Barbara Lipscomb at 11:11 AM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

« Older What should I explore in New England?   |   Smartphone + app to use with the autofocus/GTD... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.