Act 2: You're On!

Part 1: Helping Neuro-Divergent Kids Thrive…and their parents, too! with Courtney Edman

October 17, 2022 Kate & Rhonda Season 3 Episode 3
Act 2: You're On!
Part 1: Helping Neuro-Divergent Kids Thrive…and their parents, too! with Courtney Edman
Show Notes Transcript

Do you or someone you love struggle with learning differences, behavioral issues, or mental health challenges? We all know the modern world is a complex place societally, environmentally, and politically - so, how are we supposed to navigate this complexity without …say - executive function skills - or when our complex learning differences leave us with self-esteem so low we are tripping over it? Well, if you have ever wondered how to get the help you or a struggling loved one might need, you are tuning in to a fascinating conversation that might reignite a sense of hope.

In this episode, we talk to Courtney Edman because Courtney has been in your shoes. She is not only a coach but also the parent of a neurodivergent young adult son with ADHD anxiety and significant lagging executive function skills. She will explain what it takes to guide you and your child to a place of calm and connection while also giving your family the tools that will lead to understanding and success. She developed some of these skills during her years as a pediatric early intervention physical therapist, serving as the Executive Director of a home-based pulmonary physical therapy practice, and her over 22 years of parenting three young adult children. She is the coach and the solution you've been searching for. No matter your child's age, stage, or diagnosis, Courtney will help to unpack the knowledge and skills to help you, your child, and your family. Courtney believes that kids do well if they can, and so does Act 2 You're On!

Highlights Include:

“I've learned so much about what it takes to be a parent, and to have an incredible relationship with your child after having a very, very challenging relationship with my son that was filled with shame and filled with for me….”

“Mental health is at the forefront of conversations that we're having, and anxiety and learning disabilities aren't necessarily grouped within mental health, but they are invisible disabilities in the same way that mental health challenges are also invisible many times. And they are brain-based. And they are neuro biologically neuro chemically based, right? And it all has to do with the way that the brain is wired. And the way that the brain functions.”

“...the reason I brought up COVID…is because I think it just resulted in a heightened level of anxiety and depression, which then impacts the brain. And these ADHD and autism and dyslexia, dyspraxia, all of these neurodiverse diagnoses are brain-based. And I think that that is the piece that culture, in general, is missing. We know that they're brain-based, and yet we're taking a behavioral modification approach to change the manifestations of these disabilities, and that's not getting at the root of the skills that aren't there.

For more information about Courtney Edman:
Website: 2TametheShame
Linked in: 2TametheShame or Courtney Edman
Facebook: 2tametheshame

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Kate:

Greetings friends, Kate Leavey here ain the A2YO studio and happy to be joined by my dear friend and fabulous producer behind the scenes - the woman with a signature cackle - Cathy Carswell, Rhonda is on assignment. To our listeners, do you or someone you love struggle with learning differences, behavioral issues or mental health challenges? We all know the modern world is a complex place societally, environmentally, politically. So how are we supposed to navigate this complexity without say, executive function skills? When our complex learning differences leave us with self esteem so low we are tripping over it? Well, if you have ever wondered how to get the help you or a struggling loved one might need, then you are tuning in to a fascinating conversation that might just reignite a sense of hope. We will be talking today to Courtney Edman. Courtney has been in your shoes. She is not only a coach, but she's also the parent of a neurodivergent young adult son with ADHD anxiety and significant lagging executive function skills. She knows what it takes to guide you and your child to a place of calm and connection while also giving your family the tools that will lead to understanding and success through her years as a pediatric early intervention physical therapist, serving also as the Executive Director of a home-based pulmonary physical therapy practice, combined with her over 22 years of parenting three young adult children. She is the coach and the solution you've been searching for. No matter your child's age, stage, diagnoses - Courtney has the knowledge and the skills to help you, your child, and your family. Courtney believes that kids do well if they can, and so does Act 2 You're On! So welcome, Courtney.

Courtney Edman:

Thank you so much, Kate and Cathy. I'm so glad to be here to share all of this hope filled information with you and your listeners.

Kate:

Well, this is a conversation I have been dying to have with you. And we have tried several times with schedules colliding. And here we finally are, the timing could not be more perfect. I think this is what the world is searching for. A lot of people are struggling, whether it's themselves or it's their children or somebody they love. And I want folks to know this is going to be a very hopeful conversation and helpful conversation. I think we should just dive in. And I'm wondering if you can tell us, Courtney a little bit about your journey, from physical therapist, to coaching kids who are neurodiverse, who have complex learning profiles and coaching their parents.

Courtney Edman:

Absolutely. So as you mentioned, I am a trained and licensed physical therapist, I started my professional career as an early intervention physical therapist, which for people who may not know is for birth to three-year-olds in the homes, working with people that have all types of developmental disabilities, diagnoses or not yet diagnosed and just having some developmental delays, and coaching their parents, helping them to learn about what's going on with their bodies and their brains perhaps, and guiding them. And that led to - eventually led to another part of my journey as an Executive Director. And all the while, I'm doing these physical therapy things professionally, I am parenting children and trying to find a way to support my son who's in the middle of two highly regulated, highly driven young ladies - now young ladies, and the parenting skills that I'm using with them are just not working with him. And I sought help from teachers, principals, guidance counselors, social workers, I sought help from my pediatrician, I sought help from parents friends, and I'm a pretty resourceful, problem solving person. And yet I couldn't find the help or an ally that I needed. Ultimately, what ended up happening was when he was 17, we had a neuropsychological evaluation, which we previously had been advised by some of the people I had worked with, not to get for him because it wouldn't give us any more information. And in that neuropsychological report were the words twice exceptional, which I had never heard before. And for the listeners, what it means is your child has high cognitive ability or giftedness but also has a learning disability and or ADHD. So, when I read that there weren't recommendations in the neuro psych report related to that only to the ADHD, but I dove in. And when I dove in, and then got my son a coach, I was like, this is the answer that explains the journey. I started talking with the owner of the company who was providingthe coach for my son. And he sort of took me under his wings and said, I think you need to be a coach. And at the same time, I was hoping to be a coach. And off I went, and here I am. I've learned so much about what it takes to be a parent, and to have an incredible relationship with your child after having a very, very challenging relationship with my son that was filled with shame and filled with for me, and, also, as he articulated to me, at one point in time when he was in high school, you know, he'd rather lie about having done something, then face the reality that he was not yet done something, again, that he knew he was supposed to do. I knew he was struggling with shame, to support the kids who are not getting the support that they need to build the skills that are getting in the way of their success and sharing their gifts to the world is what I'm now called to do, I believe. And I think that my role as a PT, my role as a parent, my professional world and my personal world have blended together in a way that has prepared me for this role as coach, to meet people where they are see them for their strikes, and help them move forward in a life that they envision for themselves that they don't have to apologize for.

Kate:

Well, thank you for sharing your story and for embarking on this incredibly important work, I hear a little bit in your story shades of my own. And I feel like I did so much reading and searching and humbly asking for help - only at that juncture for there not to be a coach that was readily available, that people - to whom they could refer me. It's not only my story, it's not only your story, it's it's a very common story. And I love the compassion with which you approach your work. So I'm grateful to learn more. And I feel like I'm going to ask you this question that I personally know why this work is so relevant. But I'm wondering if you can talk a little bit why you feel that your work is so relevant right now in this world?

Courtney Edman:

Well, it's interesting, I wrote a blog about COVID and executive function skills. And because I feel like during the time of COVID, a lot of anxiety came out in, you know, a lot of things and that impacts the brain, right. And so actually, let me back up just a little bit. Mental health is at the forefront of conversations that we're having, and anxiety, learning disabilities aren't necessarily grouped within mental health, but they are invisible disabilities in the same way that mental health challenges are also invisible many times. And they are brain based. And they are neuro biologically neuro chemically based, right. And it all has to do with the way that the brain is wired. And the way that the brain functions. And the reason I brought up the COVID and the blog is because I think it just resulted in a heightened level of anxiety and depression, which then impacts the brain. And these ADHD and autism and dyslexia, dyspraxia, all of these neurodiverse diagnoses that are brain based. And I think that that is the piece that culture in general is missing. We know that they're brain based, and yet we're taking a behavioral modification approach to changing what the manifestations of these disabilities, that's not getting at the root of the skills that aren't there. And that's not getting at the root of how the brain is wired differently than for people who do not have those diagnoses. Yeah, so it's missing the mark. And a lot of times when people are told they should be doing something, they're lazy, they're not motivated because of that behavioral modification type approach. When that doesn't work. The invisibility of it all makes it seem like they're just lazy or they're unmotivated. But what's happening is we need to figure out what's going on with their brain, and how is their brain working? How are they perceiving the world and approach it in the same way as we do reading math writing? Because for kids who can't read in school, right, we don't just say we'll look harder at the words. We don't just say, well, you must not want to read. What we do is we take a step back and we peel the onion. Jill stole from Stole Learning Centers talks about peeling the onion. I think it's still Still I could be wrong, but it's about peeling the onion and figuring out what is it the root of what's getting in the way? What are the obstacles? If we assume that kids want to do well, which is a Ross, Dr. Ross green saying, we assume that kids want to do well. And generally most people want to do well, they don't want to be have a difficult life for themselves, we assume they want to do well, we need to peel the onion and figure out what's at the root of this. And take a lens that not that's not just behavioral, we can take the behavioral approach initially. But if that's not working, let's, let's take a step back and say, what's getting in the way, and what are the other things that might be getting in the way, in order to provide the support that the kids actually need, that will then result in their ability to do well. And a lot of times, it takes us as parents as teachers, it takes time, which is a precious resource, and particularly in the schools, it's really challenging to find that time and that one on one time to provide that explicit instruction. And yet, they do it for reading, they do it for math, they do it for writing. And those are academic skills, which without executive function skills, the academic skills are going to be harder to learn, because executive function skills are involved in reading are involved in that are involved in writing. And so if we can really support these executive function skills at a younger age, and be very explicit about it, and there are resources for that, I don't teach it, I don't coach that specifically. But there's some really, really great people out there that do if we could do that. And in the meantime, I can support your child outside of school, I think it would make a world of difference, especially for the e group of people, but it would benefit everybody, really.

Kate:

Well, and I love the name of your company: To Tame the Shame, because I do think that so much of this becomes - like we get shamed. And the earlier we can get intervention, when it comes to executive function, just as we would approach reading, then maybe we can prevent the shame, turning into more severe mental health issues and other challenges, where we get stuck at the back of our brain because we're embarrassed, and then we're ashamed. And then we can't move forward to the problem solving the executive function part of our brain, because we're already Laden by second or third grade with these labels that we can't get out from under. And it's heartbreaking to watch that happen, especially when you can tell that your kid is very intelligent, and then they get trapped. And then you know that it is a cycle that gets out of control. I'm wondering, can you can you talk a little bit more about this term neuro diversity, and also maybe about complex learning. So that's a double whammy of a question neuro diversity. And then we'll talk about complex learning profiles.

Courtney Edman:

Yes, so neuro the term neuro diversity was coined by a woman named Judy Singer. And it kind of jumps off of the concept of biodiversity, that in this world, our brains have brains, there's a whole host of ways in which it shows up and just like everybody's heart could be different. Everybody's, you know, different organs can be different. And there are different ways in which they are still strong, not strong, or in need of medication or not in need of medication, right, that we don't have control over how our brain is. And the way that people's brains are, are not bad, don't need to be fixed, right. So that's the concept, or diversity, it's not that they need to be fixed, it's just that we need to understand them. And we need to help people who are living with the brains that they have, understand the strengths that the their brains have, the way that they are perceiving the world, the way that it allows them to interact with the world, and meet them where they are, and then say, what's next? And how can we help you work with the brain you've been given? Understand it, follow your heart, I mean, we'll follow your brain. But follow the strengths that you have. And let's take a strength based approach, let's take a whole person approach to find out who you are what you love, and build from there, instead of going from a deficit focused approach of well, this is what your brain doesn't allow you to do. And until you can do what your brain doesn't allow you to do, you're not gonna be able to do the stuff that your brain wants you to do. And so it's really about that concept that there's a wide variety of ways in which the brain exists. And none of it is wrong. And this world needs all types of brains to approach the complex problems that we have. And let's celebrate those differences instead of dividing and, and saying, "Well, this is the way that it's supposed to be and this is the way that it's not supposed to be." So that's the concept of neuro diversity.

Kate:

I love that you've been able to explain that so succinctly. Boy, I experienced that a lot in my work. So I work with artists quite often. And I love to dive into their brains, and sometimes often their ADHD brains, but I'll tell you, their brains can go places that I can only hope to follow. And I'd love to dance around in there, because they'll think of things that I would never have conceived and, and how awesome to collaborate with a different brain type. And I see that when I've worked with athletes, and ADHD, there's quite a bit of literature out there about how athletes often have ADHD. And those were part of the warrior class that had to be able to kind of be scanning the horizon and being able to pick up on lots of different topics or different impulses. And when we try to squash that into a tiny little box that we say, oh, but this is the way this is the ideal squash yourself into this little box. It's very confining, and it's not respectful of the fact that we are we want diversity in every single way, including our brains.

Courtney Edman:

We're celebrating diversity, we're in an era of celebrating diversity. It's just neuro-diversity is not yet there. And so that's part of the conversation that we're having is to bring that to light and and share that with the world that lets it because it's invisible. All right, so how can we celebrate the the many ways in which people show up in this world, including neuro neuro diverse ways?

Kate:

Maybe if we stop thinking of this as being broken, this is our superpower. I think that that's actually what we hope in life, every single individual to bring out the best. And that's actually probably what the world needs is for us to all show up. best version of ourselves, and how boring it would be if we were all the same. But maybe that's what - when we get to that point - and maybe Courtney, we're here today, trying to do our part in bringing about this next evolution, this next understanding of the brilliance of diversity in society. I think it's such a compassionate understanding that you have, and I so appreciate it. I'm wondering,

Courtney Edman:

I'm not the only one out there.

Kate:

No, no, no, I think this is....

Courtney Edman:

When I dove into this of twice exceptionality, there's this whole world, this whole like the world of people who are just trying to get the words of neurodiversity, and trying to celebrate the strengths of people and to support people. So

Kate:

Yes, but I have to say I had to go looking and searching. Yes, it's not yet big enough. Right? And hopefully, loud enough. Yeah. So we're trying to be noisy here today. And I'm wondering if you can talk about executive functions. Now, what are those skills? And how does someone navigate life? Without executive function?

Courtney Edman:

It's very difficult. I also wanted to go back and just touch a little bit your question about complex learning profiles. So complex learning profiles simply mean, if you're thinking about the world of neurodiversity, that we use the terms neurotypical, we use the terms neurodivergent, right. And so if you think of someone who knows how to get up in the morning, make their breakfast, they've set their alarm, they've kind of put things in order for what they're gonna need, they can think about and see themselves walking through their day, they are to use the term d, they can manage their emotions, they have impulse control, and they can do things that they don't necessarily like to do. And think about it in terms of, well, if I get this done, at least I can go do what I want to do, right? So that's more of the neurotypical type of brain in which rewards and consequences and behavioral modification does work. Because they can think before they act over time, right? Like, I'm not talking toddlers. Right? You start to get the upper elementary, middle school and and they're the ones who are using the planners understanding how to approach their day and do their homework and you take their phones away, or say you're going to take their phones away or lose privileges. Those are neurotypical people because they respond to those types of incentives, consequences, etc. The neuro divergent brains do not. And those are people who have ADHD who have autism who have other learning disabilities that impact their ability to think in that logical way. And so rewards and consequences. I tried millions of them, it didn't work with my son just doesn't work. It makes it worse, in fact, and so and it damages the relationship, ultimately, which I think is there really important point, when you are when you have a child who is neurodivergent, and may or may not yet be diagnosed. And so you may or may not yet understand their, the way that their brain is working. But one of the most important things that people can take from this conversation is if rewards and consequences don't work with your child, they might be neurodivergent, they might have a neurodivergent brain that doesn't think logically. And it's not their fault, and it doesn't need to be fixed. And it's better to start to try to understand them and work on the connection, how can I help you and be as I like to say compassionately curious about what's going on and what's getting in the way and start peeling. And what you typically find with most people who have an neurodivergent brain is that they have impaired executive function skills. And their frontal lobes are not maturing at the same rate as other people's executive, frontal lobes, which is where the control for the executive functions is prefrontal lobe and frontal lobe. And that connection between as you refer to the back of the brain, but really, the back of the brain is the visual flow, right? It's really the inner brain, and kind of the lizard brain where all of our emotions are housed. The amygdala, the limbic system and such. And it's the connection between that and the frontal lobe that is also impacted, as well as dopamine, and cortisol all is impacted. That's why it's neuro biologically and neuro chemically based, right. And I learned all of this in PT school, which is why it's so cool. Like it's all coming full circle, right? When those connections are impaired, and when the frontal lobe is impaired, there's going to be difficulty with self regulation and difficulty with executive functions. And that's what decreases a person's ability to think logically, and to act logically, and to control impulses and to use those higher level thinking skills. Okay, so that was a mouthful, right?

Kate:

So easily, succinctly said,

Courtney Edman:

Okay, so what are executive function skills back to your question of a while ago, okay, so executive function skills, they are the brain's ability to use...and I'm going to read here from Russell Barkley, who is one of many people who have a definition of executive function skills. But Russell Barkley says, it's the use of self directed actions to choose goals and to select and act and sustain actions across time, toward those goals. So effectively, executive functions are the way that we go about goal directed behavior. Now, there's another person named Thomas Brown, who is a psychologist who has a slightly different definition. And then there's also the Harvard University Center on the Developing Child that provides another definition. And there are other people that provide other definitions, but I like those three of the rest of our colleague, Dr. Thomas Brown, and Harvard University Center on the Developing Child, because I find them all to be connected. And they're primarily connected through Harvard's three things that you can think about, which is the most, which is the simplest to remember, executive functions or self-control, working memory, and mental flexibility. And if you think about it, the goal-directed behavior, you can also think about it as the air traffic control system of life. Like you control what's coming in, you can control what's coming out. And so you're using all of your senses to bring information in the air traffic controller is figuring out which needs to go and creating an organized response in thought. And then your body in other ways Acts it out. And so it's controlling that inner part of your brain to create a goal-directed response, self-control, mental flexibility, those might be self-explanatory. Not everybody knows about the third one, which is working memory. So working memory, you might wonder, working memory is different than short-term memory and long -term memory. So it's the way that you hold information in your brain in order to then do something with it. If you lose your keys, you use your working memory to try to go back and figure out where they might be. And I don't know about you, but when I said when I lost my keys, what happens immediately so I'm neurotypical right? So when I lose my keys, I automatically have pictures in my mind thinking about where might I have left them? And then I can talk to myself and say, well, maybe I left them here and you automatically see my eyes go up, because I'm looking at the picture in my head. There are two parts to working memory. There's verbal working memory and nonverbal working memory. Those are Russell Barkley's definition. So nonverbal working memory, as you might imagine, is the picture in my head. It's when I'm not using words to remember and then take action for people who do not have nonverbal working memory. They can't create a picture in their head, where are my keys, I don't know. And they don't have pictures in their head of where they might have just been. They also don't have pictures in their head of where they might want to go. And people with verbal working memory challenges can't hold words in their head for where they might have been where they might want to go. It's a really critical part of executive function. Because if you want to have goal directed behavior, you have to be able to think back on your past to reflect on your past, see your past, talk about your past, as well as envision your future, create a picture for where you're going to go in your future and talk about how you're going to get there. Without those pieces, it's really hard. Without mental flexibility and adaptability, it's really hard to get through life. Without self control of emotions, emotional regulation, it's really hard to get through life with self control, working memory, both verbal and nonverbal. And mental flexibility, pretty much encapsulate all of the executive functions that Dr. Russell Barkley and Thomas Brown also reflect in there. They have like, a higher number of categories like seven or eight that are included, but it has to do with motivation, emotional regulation, inhibition, self awareness, the working memory, as I talked about planning and problem solving, so like organization, prioritization, planning, emotional regulation, your memory, task initiation, execution, all of those things that you the skills that we might take for granted, that to get through a day are executive functions.

Kate:

I have so many questions where to begin? The first thing that comes to mind is how can we emotionally caretake people who are, you know, have these challenges, and also are receiving lots of negative attention at school, or being punished or things are just lumped into this as a behavioral issue? When in fact, they just need to gain skills they need to come see Courtney Edman, and a slightly different approach than educationally they've typically received in the past. Yeah, how do we how do we emotionally caretake?

Courtney Edman:

I have created this three pronged and a three pronged I called it a bar stool originally, but because you know, why not have a bar stool as a model for Neuro diversity? So, anyway, and what I made sure of was, there were the three legs, right. But there are also the connections in the three legs, and that the top is growth and success, right. And the third legs are the skills and the seat are kind of the skills that people need to, to build. But in the bottom of it, is really trust, acceptance, and resilience. And so the place that we always have to start is connection, in order to build trust, acceptance, and resilience, because these kids have gone through life not trusting themselves, not feeling connected, not feeling validated. And so how do we go about that? So that's where we start is with connection, when that's why that compassionate curiosity is the hallmark of my coaching. Because number one, I want to offer them compassion that they may not have experienced before. And I know as a parent, I needed that compassion to I needed also to feel like I'm not alone in this. I've got allies. And then I'm going to have allies who are going to help me problem solve. And so it's compassionate curiosity, problem solving, is where we start. And we can't problem solve, unless we start to get in the right way unless we get curious. And we can't get curious with the people that we're working with the neurodivergent person that we're working with, unless we they have our trust, and unless they can be honest with us. And so it all gets back to that connection, acceptance, trust, resilience, right? There's several of the books that I've and resources that I've used to figure out how to do that. One is called the whole brainchild by Dan Dr. Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson. And another one is Dr. Ross Greene's explosive child. And then I also recommend read Debbie Labor's book, differently wired, because that is a book that helps you sort of look internally and realize that, you know, watch out for your triggers and how are you contributing to this, but, but I would start with connection and the whole brain child and Dr. Ross Greene's book The explosive child really helped to define how to do that. And it's part of what I coach is if a child is dysregulated if They're in there, as they refer to it, their downstairs brain, their lizard brain, there, you can't use logic with them. And so often as parents, we try to use logic with our kids when they're emotionally dysregulated. And it's just not going to work. So we have to start with getting connected with them first, and helping them get to a calm state, because when they're in a calm state, they can then at least access their frontal lobes, they can access their executive functions that they do have. And they can think logically. So if kids are in a dysregulated, state, we first just have to offer them compassion, and CO-regulate, and the CO-regulation requires us to be calm. And so in order to connect, we have to be calm, we have to be patient. And we have to be forgiving in the moment and understand that this is a brain based disability, this is a brain based moment in which they are dysregulated. And they can't control it. And they first and foremost need someone to just care enough to say, let's just breathe, let's stay calm. Let's connect. And we'll figure it out from there. And Dr. Ross, green talks about, you know, what's up? And getting curious, what's up what's going on, instead of going immediate to logic, and telling them and being directive. And that's where the curiosity comes in, give them a voice, help them tell us what's happening. Let's get into their world a little bit so we can understand their world and what's going on. And we can name expectations, of course, it's our job to help to help them learn, and it's our job to teach. But we have to make sure that they're in a state of readiness. And they have to feel heard, we need to give them a voice to help so that we can understand where they're coming from them, they can understand where we're coming from. And then we look for the win win. And we invite their ideas for solutions. And we keep having that back and forth conversation with compassionate curiosity. And we meet remaining calm, which helps them remain calm, and helps them feel validated, because we're naming back to them what we hear, instead of just being directive, we're getting curious and figuring out, because when their brains work differently than ours, our solutions may not work for them. And we may not have thought of solutions that they're going to think of that actually can work as a win win. Because their brain thinks differently than ours. And they might come up with a solution. And we need to honor and give it a chance to work and see what happens. Because magically, they might be able to actually do something that's a win win, that we hadn't thought of. That was their idea. And so that's sort of the concept. And then, you know, having ideas in your mind and getting creative so that you can have something to offer and say, Well, what do you think about this, but it's getting their permission? It's getting curious. It's inviting their voice. It's naming what your need is also like, okay, I get that you need that. But here's what I need to what are your ideas for how we can get both things accomplished. So I'm not somebody who says, Yeah, parents can't have a voice anymore. It's about inviting the child's voice into the conversation so that both voices can be heard, both needs can be met. Or helping the child gets to a point where they can hear logically why they can't have what they're asking for. And coming up with a solution for how to get around them.

Kate:

So you're working with students, but I wonder how much of your work is also with the family unit.

Courtney Edman:

That's actually, that's my sweet spot. Actually, Kate. And I think it's also a little bit what differentiates me from other coaches is I love working with the kids. But I also love working with the parents. And I wholeheartedly believe that everybody has to be on board, in order for there to be effective growth and number for it to be successful. Because if I'm building up the child from within and inviting their voice, but then they go back, and they spend the majority of their time with parents who are not inviting their voice, it's confusing to them. And it also is counter to the work that I'm doing with the child and then it makes that child maybe be more trusting and responsive to me, which is not what I want. I ultimately really want the family to have the skills to be successful together so that I'm not needed. Right now, during that adolescent phase, it's a little bit harder, but more important for the parent to be able to have this strong connection to their child. And sometimes a coach can allow that connection to be repaired if it's broken. And it's such a beautiful thing to witness and be a part of when that connection can be solidified or rejoined, and the parent can be the parent and not the Nag. And the coach can really support the child in developing the skills with the support. And it's just, it's, I don't know, it gives me goosebumps thinking about it. But I love being able to empower the parent, and help the parent really understand that it's not their fault, that they were parenting their child, the way they were, I did it. I pounded with the behavior mod for so many years and created a child who lives with shame, right. But he's coming out of that, because I learned how to do it differently. And there's never a wrong time to start, it's never too late, you can always repair the relationship, right? And, and your child wants to be close with you. Your child values that relationship. And I love being able to empower the kids with skills. And I love being able to empower the parents with skills to learn how to also support their child with whatever readiness each has. And to give the parent permission to be the parent and give the parent parent permission to say, your child doesn't have to be on the timeline that society says they have to be on. Let's follow their timeline, let's follow their readiness. And let's empower them to have their voice and figure out what the right next step is for them. So that's what sort of sets me apart is my love of being able to work with the whole family unit. At whatever step they're ready to hear how a lot of times the kids are really ready to hear it. And really, a lot of times parents will say my kid says they don't want to work with a coach. And I said give me just see if they're willing to listen to me. Because sometimes they are hungry for someone who'll just give them a voice. And sometimes it's harder for parents to get to that place of acceptance. Because there's so much shame that can be hurtled on parents, if their kids not following a timeline. Or if they're not meeting the expectations that the parents had for the kid that they would be parented. Yes.

Kate:

Oh, my gosh, so much there - I love, the way you've just spoken is so compassionate. And it's all about worth, it's all about healing. This whole person approach but whole system approach. And it feels a lot less overwhelming. I think when people find their way to you, they must just think, Ah, thank goodness, it's amazing work.

Courtney Edman:

Sometimes they do. And sometimes they're like, Yeah,

Kate:

fix it takes my kid. Yeah, yeah. Can you do it in three visits or less?

Courtney Edman:

That's exactly. and can insurance pay for it, please. That's a whole nother conversation about how it's not covered by insurance. Because, you know, it's biologically and chemically based, and yet all that they all that society sees it right now. Yes. Educationally related, but it's not even educationally related because the schools have a hard time providing executive function skills one on one sometimes for kids who aren't

Kate:

...and it's an increasing need. So we we're gonna see, we're gonna see some big shifts, I think educationally. But we're also going to maybe we'll see some progress with what insurance will cover. Courtney, I'm wondering if we can shift into the Golden Nugget segment of our interview, where we invite you to weigh in on you know, something that you think our listeners need to know, in their next great act or just where they are right now. Is there a golden nugget that you can I know you've already given us a bunch but is there another one you can farm in there?

Courtney Edman:

Well, I think the Golden Nugget as it relates to if you have a child that is neurodiverse, or you might think is their neuro divergent that you think might be neuro divergent. Focus on connection with them first, because that's the most powerful gift. And most important gift that you can give them more than anything, is just a strong connection and let them know that you're their biggest cheerleader and let go the expectations for a little bit and spend time just connecting and following their lead. For someone who has a second act like I am my you know, becoming a coach from physical therapist, I would just say, surround yourself with people who believe in you. If you believe in yourself, the call that you have or the vision that you have for where you're going in life. Surround yourself with people who believe in you as much as you until you can believe in yourself in the same way. And then every once in a while, you know, just kind of don't spend so much time focused on where you are, but really kind of zoom out See where you've come from. And I think the same can be said actually for parenting. If I zoom in on where I am right now with my son who's 20, right? He's taking a semester off. He's been at college, but we're not quite sure if that's right. But if I take and I'm, like, zoomed in on, what's he doing next? What's he doing that, right? But if I zoom out, and I see where he's come, like how far he's come, I just think that zooming in and zooming out is a really important golden nugget of understand where we've, where you're going, and where you've where you've come from, not just in the moment where you are in business, but also in parenting. Oh,

Kate:

I love that I like it's very easy to hyperfocus and to pull back up 1000 feet, to see where you've come from, but also to to know that there are other possibilities, especially when you as a parent, perhaps have to let go of a traditional path. That certainly maybe have been easier, but it's just not the path for your kid, that kid might find all sorts of exciting paths that you've never even thought of. But it is a journey to get there. And if we can all get out of it unscathed. And with a child who feels whole and happy and worthy,

Courtney Edman:

...and a part of a greater family, yes, they have, and what an inherent worth, but they also can find their own sense of worth in sharing their gifts with the world, which have been discovered through a different path. That wasn't your path. That wasn't my path. That wasn't their sister's path, or their brother's path or their grandparents path. But it's their path. And there's inherent worth in their path. It's not better, it's not worse, it doesn't need to be fixed. It's just allowing it to unfold and finding what the right next step is, until they can find it.

Kate:

Well, thank you for the work that you're doing and for sharing all of this really important, compassionate information with us today. But before we go, I want to ask you, what's next for you?

Courtney Edman:

I am, I am so excited to be able to coach I mean, we're entering into a better school year, just impacting as many families and people that I can and finding their worth. So coaching, and I share most every week, a newsletter anybody can have free access to, they subscribe to my newsletter, they can continue to hear my words, and my parents understand my own parenting journey through the words that I share. And I share little tidbits here and there too. So just trying to continue to educate the world and bring this knowledge to the world.

Kate:

You've said beautiful things. In fact, you have our cackling producer over there, Kathy in tears, because it's just so beautiful, the things that you've expressed and so hopeful in a time when so many kids are struggling to know that you're out there, and that you do belong to a greater community. And we're gonna get these words out there, I will say I've read your newsletters. And I feel like you give away all of this beautiful free information that just every everyone I've read, I thought, Oh, that's a new way of looking at it. And it's been super helpful to me as a parent of four children who every single one of them will gain more skill, if I can be more compassionate, if I can be calmer, and put away the shame and really keep kind of giving myself an opportunity to learn to better parent to better show up for them by kind of knowing you know, my own stuff and to gain new skill. This is really a wonderful conversation. So thank you so much. I know that folks are going to want to connect to you. And they're going to want to get your newsletter and learn more about you. And you can flip find more about coordinate admin E D, M A N, you can find her on LinkedIn, on Facebook, and also add to the number two to tame the shame.teachable.com. And we'll have that information available. Courtney, this, this was a long conversation that overdue, long overdue. And I could just keep you here for hours, because there's so many I have about, you know, 60 more questions that I personally want to ask. But we'll just have to have you back in a future segment. But thank you so much for sharing this time with us but also for all the good that you're offering the world. It's it's been an honor. So thank you so very much.

Courtney Edman:

Thank you so much for having me. I'm glad to have this platform to share this information with the world and I hope that it it helps kids it helps families and helps parents wherever it lands.

Kate:

I believe it will. Special thanks to our talented skilled production partner behind the scenes over their kids. epi curves well, and so there's just one thing left for me to say and that is go forth. Be brave, live well and do good because it's act two and you're on. Act Two you're on was brought to you by act 2 Share our stage, you can find us@hulu.com and also on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Rhonda:

Please download listen and subscribe - wherever you find your podcast. You can support us using Patreon or buy us a coffee mug.

Kate:

I do like coffee.

Rhonda:

No, no, you don't need any more caffeine Kate. Buy us a coffee is a platform that folks can use to support entrepreneurs and artists like us

Kate:

so we can keep providing resources for the doers and dreamers to find connection, purpose and the skills needed to create a sustainable, fulfilling life to better serve the world. And also so we can buy more coffee.

Rhonda:

Oh Kate, thanks for listening everyone.