Please enjoy this guest article, written by Sandy Maynard, MS, a pioneer in the field of ADHD coaching and a friend for many years.
Many of us have a really tough time standing up for ourselves and making sure our ADD needs are met. Sandy gives us some insight into how she manages her self-advocacy skills. Enjoy!
Yes, You CAN Advocate for Yourself: Here are Some Tips
In general, I believe that women have a harder time than men when advocating for themselves. As someone who helps others speak up for themselves, I have to ‘walk the talk’ myself and often it’s not that easy. I worry about sounding ‘bossy’ or ‘controlling’, but find that if I am gentle and kind when doing so, it is well received. One of the biggest challenges for me is my own processing speed when calling technical support for help. I often have to interrupt the technician giving me directions and request that they slow down and repeat instructions. Frequently I need to take notes, so I say, “I’m taking notes for future reference. Would you repeat what you just said a little slower?” Each time I interrupt, I make sure I thank them for their patience.
It’s embarrassing to admit, but I also can’t pay attention to my GPS, read road signs, and change lanes while others are talking to me when driving on unfamiliar roads. I say to others before heading out on a trip, “I’m not familiar with the route we are taking today, so my full attention is going to be on the road. And when the GPS is telling me there is a turn coming up, I’m afraid that I wont be much of a conversationalist, especially if I have to merge into a different lane.”
We live in a busy world where it seems like everyone is rushing and wants you to hurry and get out of their way, especially in a grocery store check-out line. Over the years I can’t tell you how many credit cards I’ve lost because I felt rushed by the cashier who has starting ringing up the next order before I’ve put my credit card back in my wallet where it belongs. I no longer scurry just because someone else is in a hurry. I stand my ground firmly and take as much time as I need to put my card away, make sure I have my phone if I laid it on the counter, and that my backpack is zipped so nothing falls out.
Self-advocacy skills are something that we all need to manage our ADHD well. I have found that I don’t need to be bossy or loud to advocate well for what I need in order to manage my own ADHD; I just need to identify what my needs are and ask for what I need.
Sandy Maynard, MS is a pioneer in the field of ADHD coaching and has established herself as one of the country’s preeminent coaches. She specializes in time management and organization and is a regular contributor to ADDitude magazine. Sandy recently moved to Chelsea, MA and now provides coaching and organizing services in the Greater Boston area.
Sandy Maynard, MS
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