Lynn Shumaker is an ADD/ADHD Life Coach Who Gets It
Feb 02, 2017 03:53PM
By Kate Morgan
Lynn Shumaker, MS, ED, AAC, knows what attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can do to a family, whether it’s been diagnosed or not. Long before she became a life coach with a focus on ADHD, she witnessed it firsthand. “I grew up in a family where my brother was severely disabled and had ADHD,” Shumaker says. “I know ADHD affects the whole family. A personal understanding of inattentive ADHD came in my 50s. I was a teacher; I was very successful, but it explained some of the challenges life presented. This is proof that it doesn’t stop you, but it does mean you have some challenges and some struggles. You’re working harder than others.”
Shumaker, the owner of Attention Desires Direction, in Dillsburg, trained in an ADD Coach Academy accredited program and has established herself as a go-to resource for children and adults working toward strategies for living with ADHD, “People who have ADHD are not broken,” she says. “They’re wired differently. People used to think this was a childhood disorder. Well, it’s not, and we don’t even like the word ‘disorder’. We like to refer to it as unique brain wiring. Some of the struggles of ADD/ADHD can be organizing, prioritizing, transitioning, high sensitivity and memory.”
This unique brain circuitry, Shumaker says, can be in many ways a positive benefit. “People with ADHD are often very creative. They’re your entrepreneurs, the ones out there thinking outside the box, starting businesses and doing those types of things that require a certain kind of thinking.”
Although Shumaker is based in Central Pennsylvania, she holds sessions via phone and Skype with clients all over the world. She often works with children on developing strategies for planning and goal mapping that combat the frantic, last-minute nature of ADHD.
“Children will bring a project home and forget about it until the night before,” Shumaker says. “Then they’re frantic, and Mom and Dad are, too. Instead, we work on mapping it out, asking questions that lead them to come up with their own plan. I create a future image that they don’t see in their head. Coaching doesn’t replace medicine, but provides the education and forms the skills through a partnership with the person or family.”
Shumaker says older people with ADHD often have similar issues when it comes to planning and executing a to-do list. “For older people, there’s a whole other set of issues,” she says. “There’s the racing thoughts; ‘I’m going to do this, this and this,’ when there just aren’t enough hours in a day. I say, ‘Okay, first let’s just breathe and feel the calm.’ I teach people how to create that pause. That’s a big thing. It calms the emotional component because that will shut the other executive functions down.”
Because ADHD is often misconstrued as something that only affects children, Shumaker says older people that have been diagnosed can feel isolated. She currently runs a bi-weekly phone support group for women over 50.
“There are people all over the U.S., Canada and Australia on the call,” she says. “They’re always amazed that this type of support is out there. Coaching provides the answer to what’s missing after being diagnosed with ADHD. A coach is that person who understands you. Through my own experiences and my extensive education as a coach, I get it!”
Attention Desires Direction is located at 18 Northern Dancer Dr., in Dillsburg, PA. For more information or to schedule a complementary initial session, call 717-991-9797 or visit AddGiftsCoaching.com.
Kate Morgan is a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.