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A Mother shares their journey to success with ADHD and executive impairments

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, and 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, 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.

Free Consultation
Qualified therapists

Our dedicated team of speech-language pathologists are specially trained in speech therapy as it relates to cognitive-communication issues (how you listen, process, focus, remember, and communicate). We are also nationally certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, are nationally recognized by the Brain Injury Association of America and are Certified Brain Injury Specialists (CBIS). We are licensed to practice in both North Dakota and Minnesota. We believe every patient deserves the best treatment and support we can offer in every single contact and interaction with us.

Individual approach

We recognize that no two people have the same needs and that everyone has different learning styles. That’s why we like to call our approach “the Progressive way,” which means we will happily customize treatment plans to meet the unique needs of the individual and their family. We also believe in “the right fit” between patient and therapist, so will make every effort to match you with a clinician who connects with you, understands you, and utilizes a therapy style that is comfortable for you.

We are here to help

Depending on the goals you wish to accomplish and the learning pace that is most comfortable for you, we will arm you with the evidence-based strategies, proven skills and ample support you need to feel more organized, prepared and effective. Therapy strategies may range from recommendations for specific tools (such as timers or planners), one-on-one brainstorming and problem-solving to address concerns, therapeutic activities as well as computer trials or worksheets to help strengthen cognitive and executive functions like attention, memory, and planning.

Coaching with compassion

We know that working on cognitive-communication issues is hard work and that it can be easy to feel defeated or overwhelmed by the challenges of building a more efficient brain. However, you will not be in this alone. We are not just speech-language pathologists; we are fellow human beings who care about you, your journey, and your success. We don’t want an appointment to feel like you’ve been sent to the principal’s office. Instead, you’ll find a comfortable space where you’ll feel listened to and understood. And because humor makes everything more bearable, be prepared to laugh and joke a bit too!