Coaches for Organizational Skills

Parent Q&A

  • Need help for 9th grade boy with organizational, executive function challenges

    (2 replies)

    Hi all,

    My family just moved from NY a couple of months ago.  I have a son with mild ADHD who is very inquiring and engaged with subjects in his 9th grade class (small private school in Berkeley), but is having trouble organizing his homework, working with the tech platforms the school uses, and making sure things like notes and notebooks are organized, so he can keep track of things and turn them in.  We may also need some help with subject matter tutoring, but I'm really first looking for someone who has dealt with kids like my son who need help with organizational tasks and executive functioning.  Any recommendations?  Many thanks, Eileen

    We go to Orinda Academy and the school is designed to help kids like yours. My son has flourished there. Learning differences and executive function challenges are supported in the classrooms regularly. There is an open house this Sunday with the program starting at 1pm followed by a tour. I’ll be there or if you have questions you could pm me. We get a lot of Berkeley and Oakland families.

    Two of my kids have worked with Kevin Arnold, a tutor in Berkeley who specializes in organizational skills. His info on BPN is here: https://www.berkeleyparentsnetwork.org/recommend/org/kevin-arnold  Kevin helped my kids stay organized in middle school and high school and was especially helpful teaching my younger son, who has ADD, how to get an essay or long-term project started and then completed. My son has continued to use the skills he learned from Kevin for writing assignments even after tutoring ended.  Kevin is an easy-going, affable guy that my kids really clicked with and enjoyed going to see. He meets his students at local cafes for one-on-one.

  • Recommendations for learning/organizational/life coach for teen

    (2 replies)

    My son is a senior in high school who has some learning differences and needs help. He is a very nice, sensitive and intelligent boy who has been diagnosed with auditory processing issues. He also has problems with timeliness and lacks executive function/organizing skills - he has difficulty following directions in class and struggles with homework, which often takes him much longer to complete than expected. As a result he also often lacks sleep (despite some 504 accommodations which allow him extra time to complete assignments). A number of tests have confirmed that he has auditory processing issues, but also found that he was a very gifted visual learner.

    If you can recommend someone with experience who might be able to help counsel/support/coach him (and us parents?) towards developing his learning/organizing/executive function skills for college and beyond, and to help motivate and teach him some life skills in general, we would love to hear from you.

    Call Classroom Matters in Berkeley!  We have worked with tutors at Classroom Matters for 5 years for all the same reasons you described.  Working with a tutor helped my son navigate many academic challenges and gave him skills and confidence.  Slowly, but surely, my son learned the organization and executive functioning skills to navigate school on his own.  Your son will get there too! 

    I would recommend contacting Nancy Chin. She worked with my son when he was in middle school.  Her work took the pressure off of me and empowered him to take responsibility.  

    Here is the link to her website-  http://www.stepbystep4success.com/

  • Looking for tutor/coach in Executive Functioning for teen

    (3 replies)

    I have a 16 year old (sophmore) son who's had an IEP since preschool. He's been in general ed with some pull out/push in support. He's a great reader (decoder), pretty good with comprehension, strong in math but can be very unfocused (ADD) and disorganized when it comes to things he's not interested in.  

    My son keeps his grades up (mostly Bs and Cs) by turning in homework and completing shorter assignments effectively but when it comes to end of chapter tests/finals in subjects with lots of facts and nonfiction reading material (e.g science, history), he has a hard time preparing a comprehensive study guide (looking through the textbook and finding the main idea) and then effectively studying the material, usually  scoring Ds on these kinds of exams, even though he "studied". He also struggles with writing.   

    We are looking for an educational therapist who can help him with executive functioning (working memory, time management, planning/prioritizing etc.) and  study/test taking skills.  He gets supports at school through his IEP but it's not enough. We live in Lafayette and traveling to the Berkeley/Oakland area is too far on weekdays unless we find a therapist who can work on this side of the tunnel.

    I would love some feedback from anyone who's used Strategies for Learning, SOS (Student Organizational Services), Bella Menti (Danville) or any other coach/tutor/ed therapist who you can recommend.

    Thank you so much!

    You might want to consider virtual Academic Coaching as well, which increases your options. 

    We love Sydney Metrick! She is an experienced coach who works with teens and adults helping them develop structures and strategies that address their specific executive function challenges. My son worked with her. Sydney not only helped him create and implement habits and routines that help him with time prioritizing, setting boundaries, and managing time effectively, but also helped him discover and utilize more of his unique strengths. It was such an empowering process! My son enjoyed working with Sydney. She made him feel special and confident about himself. Sydney's email: sydney [at] artfulcoaching.com. Or phone: (510) 223-3882. 

    A happy mom 

    Try Nancy Chin nancy [at] stepbystep4success.com (510) 384-1909 or SOS 4 Students (510) 531-4767

    I work at Orinda Academy and we have SOS on campus to work with students with executive functioning weaknesses--they come to our school and I've heard positive things about Beth Samuelson.  Nancy Chin has come by and left materials as well. She does 9 week-12 week programs in Oakland and Walnut Creek.

    Here's the link to SOS summer programs (being held at Orinda Academy)-you can contact Beth at (beth [at] sos4students.com)

    http://www.sos4students.com/summer-workshops

  • Organizational Coach for 15 year old

    (8 replies)

    My 15 year old needs an "organizational coach" throughout the 2016-17 academic year for weekly or bi-weekly meetings. Enormous challenge for my teen to keep track of assignments, exam dates, projects, etc. Plenty smart, just baffled by lack of planning skills.  I would appreciate appropriate referrals/recommendations.  Thank you so much!

     

    Attn:  Ben's mom!  How do I contact "Nancy" the executive functioning coach?

    Thanks to each of you who responded to my inquiry--very, very helpful; your recommendations really cut the stress and the time looking for the correct individual.  Warm regards to you!

    You might want to contact Leda Schulak at lschulak [at] hotmail.com. She raised a daughter with learning disabilities and has developed excellent coaching skills. She helped a friend's son who also had organizational challenges. She also has her own business as a college consultant specializing in helping kids find schools that best meet their needs.

    We used Nancy, an executive functioning coach.  It wasn't cheap.  She has an office in Berkeley and one in Walnut Creek.  She is a super nice person and admittedly has no formal training and worked to send her 2 sons to great colleges.  She basically helped our son draft a plan and to stick to it, and also calls him several times in the evening to check in with him so that you don't have to ask your child questions and create a power struggle.  He went from a 2.9 GPA entering Junior year in high school (very competitive) to a 3.8 GPA by end of Junior year while taking on AP classes at the same time.  Now his cumulative is 3.4 or 3.5 I believe, so eligible to apply to decent B-rated colleges next year.  We paid about $1,000 for 11 sessions where she met my son weekly.  Then there is a final parent conference at the end.  We had her work 2x w/ my son, and paid $2,000 total.  After the first time, I refused to take him there so my husband took him. I didn't see what she was doing was worth all this money, but my husband felt that taking away the nagging about getting the grades up, if homework was done, etc.. decreased stress in the family.  I am grateful for whatever reason his grades went up although he didn't improve much the first semester she worked with him, His 2nd semester improved a lot.  Not sure if it's Nancy, but we'll never know.   She does not coach on anything else but executive functioning so be forewarned... she knows nothing about coursework, strategies to get into college, etc... only is a warm and encouraging person that knows how to get a kid to set up his own plan and encourages him to stick w/ it.  But the plan is the child's, so if he/she aims low, that's the plan, e.g. his goal was straight B's except for on 2 classes, and he achieved that.   If your child doesn't want calls after school however, she won't call him/her! and then your fees do much less.  Those calls were great. Her questions would be like, "So what does your evening look like?"  Tell her Ben's mom referred you.  She will probably be shocked :  ) knowing that I thought it was a waste of money at first.

    Hello,  I can personally recommend Pat LaDoucer in Albany.  Here is a link to one of her many ways to support teens.

     Take the Stress Out of School

    Check out my new, completely updated Skills for Academic Success coaching program for students in middle school, high school, and college. I help students rock their grades, and create more time for friends and fun.

    I highly recommend Linda Lawton, who runs The Center of Attention and Learning in Albany (near El Cerrito Plaza) -- she provided exactly this sort of help for our family several years ago. I don't know what we would have done without her actually!  Our child has since gone on to thrive at a selective college far from home, and just successfully finished junior year, still using strategies learned from Linda.  Linda is very warm and supportive, and she has a bunch of different tools to try, because everybody's issues tend to be a little different!  You can reach her at info [at] centerofattentionandlearning.org or (510) 559-3110.

    Grateful Mom

    I would recommend Lesley Martin. She worked with my teenager during her Freshman year at Berkeley High. She checked in with her on her assignments, helped her prioritize them, and also helped her figure out just what the teacher was asking for. She was really a godsend in being a constant supportive presence. She did a lot to help her understand time management, and also helped me know when and how to ask for help from my daughter's teacher. She helped me be a good advocate. 

    Lesley is based in San Francisco. My daughter met up with her a few times there near a BART station, but they mostly had their sessions via Facetime or Google Hangout.

    She can be reached at lesley.martin2010 [at] gmail.com.

    Mimi

    I cannot recommend Paul Gabriel strongly enough. My daughter, who is starting at Oberlin in a few weeks, worked with Paul for her Junior and Senior years of high school. I had spent countless, frustrating hours trying to work with her, and it was becoming an issue in our mother-daughter relationship because she felt she could never live up to my expectations and I felt she just needed to try harder. Enter Paul: Identifier of problems, implementer of solutions, and explainer to parents of what is going on with their kid. He got all three of us through these past two years and our daughter is leaving for college with a set of skills she can apply to a lifetime of organizational demands.

    Paul Gabriel: paul [at] sfspark.com

     

    While I don't have anyone to recommend -- I am eagerly watching/waiting responses to your question.  We are looking for the same thing for our 7th grader!

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Questions

Coach to address Adult ADD

Sept 2011

Looking for therapist/behavior and organization coach who specializes in treating adults with ADD. We've got the meds but need advice/guidance in developing behaviors and systems for functioning more smoothly. Prefer East Bay or San Francisco. Thanks! Tired of lost keys and one-sided conversations...


I originally had my 3rd grade son see Nancy to help him cope with school, he was doing terribily. In the process of working with Nancy I realized that I had to provide my son with the structure he needed to do well in school, along with rules, expectations, support, consequences/rewards, etc. I was doing none of this. I too have ADD and was terribly disorganized both physically and mentally. Nancy helped me get organized physically by eliminating the excess (I'm a pack rat) and creating habits that would work for me. Then we put together a weekly routine, Mon - Fri (plus Sat & Sun) of all the things I had to do during the day so that I would have the time to do the things I needed to do with my son. We also put together an after school schedule for him. As it turned out, I ended seeing Nancy and not my son. She really helped me get organized and my relationship is much better with my son and husband, and I feel more in control and less stressed. Nancy's contact number is 510-384-1909, website www.stepbystep4success.com. anon


I highly recommend Linda Lawton, who works with adults and teens with A.D.H.D. She has an office near El Cerrito Plaza where I have gone for exactly the kind of help you are seeking. I also take my teenaged daughter for a twice-weekly supervised study hall, where she is magically able to focus and get her homework done. Linda is compassionate, smart, and funny, and very aware of the complex and wide-ranging effects of A.D.H.D. Maybe the most important thing is the way she creates an atmosphere of such good-humored and shame-free acceptance that i was able to confess all my most humiliating chaotic messes, and one by one, she's helping me manage them. her website is www.centerofattentionandlearning.org, her phone is 559-3110, and her email is lindaclowlawton [at] gmail.com. anon


As an adult living with the blessing/ curse of ADD, I highly recommend Linda Lawton (See her other postings here) Through making the transition from a professional employee to a new business owner, difficult personal and family relationships and most of all the tools to manage a hectic Bay Area existence, Linda has proved to be a invaluable resource to me. Good luck to you. - Jerry


Teen Desperately Nees Organizational Skills!

June 2011

My almost 17 year old has one more year of high school before he goes off ot college, and if he goes without acquiring some skills for organizing and managing and locating his stuff, I fear for him (and his roomates!) He is very smart, organized and mostly punctual with his school work, but his 'stuff' is everywhere, his desk is 5- 6 inches deep in papers and stuff, and he can't find anything without my help (it's usually on the floor). But, he doesn't see this as a problem (!) Can anyone recommend a professional who can understand the teen mindset, get into that part of his brain that might be receptive to re- organizing his life, and then help him accomplish it? Thanks in Advance! desperate mom


I'd like to recommend Kathleen Crombie of In Order to Organize. She's easy to work with, non-judgmental, has great organizing ideas and is a great listener. She was wonderful with my 12-year-old, who becomes attached to every piece of paper her hand touches. Kathleen helped her put simple systems in place for managing all her art and school papers, and taught her a thought process to go through when bringing in new stuff. www.facebook.com/InOrdertoOrganize or www.inorderto-organize.com. (She also has 2 boys of her own, so she'll know where you're coming from!) Jennifer


Teaching Organizational Skills to 15 yo boy

April 2011

Before we go the ADD route, I understand that there are specialists who assist kids in organizing their life and lifestyle. I would like to interview such a person/people who have experience in assisting teens to think proactively in planning activities and school requirements. My 15 yo son can not perform a 3 item sequence of directions, is perenially late to school because he keeps changing his clothes, and does not know how to study for tests. We live in Alameda and would prefer someone who could come to our home. Hopeful Mom


We have been sending our 14 year old to Matt Foley through S0S4STUDENTS. They are great - not cheap, and it is taking more sessions than we had hoped, but progress is coming! Eden


Adult student w/ADD needs a good coach

August 2010

My husband is an adult with ADD who is also a full-time student. He wasn't diagnosed until his late 20s and we are trying to find a good study/life skills coach to help him navigate the stresses of school and work and life with a new baby. The academic coach that he had before, recommended by his doctor, focuses her practice on kids and it wasn't a good match, and it was too pricey for us to continue without results. We'd love to be able to find someone before the semester starts August 24.


The local group of Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder is active and will have referrals for you. I attended to get help with my son. Their is a specific group for adults; I think they meet at Le Coquelet (sp?). Good Luck


ADD Coach for Adult

August 2008

I am an adult with Attention Deficit Disorder. I have a demanding job and am not forced to face my disorganiztion, missed deadlines and loss of focus. Does anyone know an ADD coach for adults? Ready to Make Changes


The best of the best is right here-- Linda Lawton . I am a PhD with a similar job to what you describe, and I needed to get my act together desperately. Linda worked with me from an entirely non-judgemental place (essential for my success) and I made real change. Her office is in Albany, and she is the most flexible and understanding coach I could hope for. Linda's email is easy4you [at] sbcglobal.net. Much Happier Now


I always encourage my clients to check out my credentials. I advise the person looking for a ADD coach to do the same. Check out therapy licenses, certifications etc. before starting with a new coach. Anon


Educational Therapist or ''coach'' for middle schooler

Feb 2008

Hi: My 13 year daughter is a very bright but unmotivated and disorganized student. Over the years, her grades have steadily dropped from A's to B's and now, I fear, C's. She's not there yet but I see it coming. She has a mild case of ADD. It has not affected her grades in her earlier years but seems to be taking its course now.

She's had tutors which is OK during the time they are together. The rest of the time she procrasatinates and the work just doesn't get done. She is resistant to any help from my husband and me.

A friend recommended Nancy Chin at Step By Step in Oakland. Has anyone heard of her? She is an academic coach who helps students get organized and stay focused. THANKS Katrina


I also have a 13 year-old girl with organization and focus problems. I estimate I have spent almost $10,000 in the last three years on tutoring, an educational therapist, study skills, and testing. She is a well-behaved, well- intentioned kid who enjoys pleasing people. And it has never made sense that she would have such a poor attitude about school, lie about having tests, etc.

A few months ago, her tutor and I realized that if I didn't explore ADHD medication I might always wonder. I read up. I downloaded the standard ADHD assessment tools. The tutor, my child and I all took the assessments and my child ended up amazed at how many ADHD symptoms she has! I have had this suggested to me by others over the years but the situtation has seemed so mild....

Long story short, my kid has been on ADHD meds for about 6 weeks now. She aced her final exams on the medications, her grades popped up, and she feels very good about herself.

I think the medications are real different for a 13 year- old because she can be part of the solution. She is in charge of telling me whether the meds work, at what dosage. She remembers to take her pill each day. She will be the one that decides when it will be time to quit (Kaiser has suggested she will find this useful for 2-3 years).

I know meds seem drastic. I never thought I'd do it. But I can't believe the difference it has made for her at school, and for our relationship! n in oakland


Hi, My son has been seeing Ms. Linda Lawton on San Pablo Ave. in Albany for some time. She does great work with my son, who is also 15. She is especially well-equipped to handle kids/adults with ADD/ADHD. I have also seen a number of recommendations for her on BPN. Her email address is: easy4you at sbcglobal.net. Good Luck, Peggy


Nancy Chin of Step By Step is absolutely the answer to your prayers. My third-grader has tested as gifted but also has some serious problems with organization, efficiency, time-management, effectiveness, and it goes on and on. He doesn't let me help him at all with his homework (''It's none of your business, Mommy''). And, let's just say that he has inherited his ''issues'' from his father from whom he does accept help. He had never finished a homework assignment on his own, ever, until he began with Nancy just five weeks ago. Nancy knew immediately how to motivate him; connected with him on a personal level; moved slowly; and has already achieved amazing results. By the third session (once a week for an hour), he was completing his homework assignments on his own, and they were almost perfect when his father checked them over for correctness and completeness. She also has a beautiful office above Market Hall in Rockridge; only charges $70 an hour (a total bargain for what she has achieved in such a short time) and calls my son during the middle of every week to check in with him. She is the sweetest, nicest, and MOST EFFECTIVE academic coach for the issues your 13-year-old is having. I am sure you won\x92t be anything but 100% happy with the results she can achieve with your daughter. Sharon


ADHD coach for 21 year old

Sept 2007

My 21 year old Berkeley High graduate daughter has ADHD and other learning issues, and has made several false starts at community college. To break this cycle I would like to find a coach for her who can give her feedback and point the way for her to be successful. If you know of such a person please let me know. anon


I'm not sure what you're looking for in saying coach but if you want someone who is experienced working with kids with ADHD and with people with learning differences you might want to have your daughter see Phyllis Koppelman who is a educational therapist and has loads of experience with learning differences. She can help your daughter get organized, learn how to get started on assignments, how to schedule her work, and can help with writing skills. She is very kind and accessible. I know both boys and girls who have worked with her, with many different things they wanted to develop. She isn't cheap but even a few sessions can make a difference. You can check out her website at www.strategiesforlearning.com. Her office is on Grand Ave. in Oakland. She has a pretty full schedule. another mom of teens


ADD coach for 8-year-old girl

July 2003

I am seeking a coach or tutor for an eight yearold girl with mild attaention difficulties. Am looking for someone that has worked with kids with attention problems and know how to help them with academics but also knows toold to asist with attention problems.

Recommendations received: Linda Lawton

you could also contact the ability resource center, which works with children (& their families) w/ learning & attentional differences. ask for glenn gelfenbein @ 510-528-6095 or glenn AT abilityresourcecenter.com good luck! lisa


Need a coach for ADD Teen

May 2003

I have a bright but poorly focused son who is going into 9th grade at Berkeley HS. Although he's been shown on evaluations to have attentional problems, he did not respond well to medication and we'd like to provide him with a personal coach instead to help him transition to the world of HS.

We're having a hard time even figuring out what sort of professional we need since we're looking for somebody who understands learning styles and can help him develop organizational skills (i.e., an educational therapist) but also can deal with all the emotional issues that relate to motivation, behavior and self-esteem (more of a psychologist) and knows how to negotiate the high school world (add school counselor to the mix).

On top of that, as a bright 14-yr-old, our son is pretty resistant to working with anybody who seems to be babying him or underestimating his abilities. The metaphor of a COACH (he's very into sports) fits what we need --- somebody ''cool,'' with high expectations and lots of knowledge who can help him in a fun, respectful, no-nonsense and suportive way. How's that for a tall order? Any suggestions?
frustrated Berkeley mom

Recommendations received: