We Get By With A Little Help From Our Friends

Interview by Annette Tabor

If you’ve had an ADHD diagnosis, you remember it. We all have our story about when, where, what and how we received our diagnosis. These stories help define who we are and what things are important to us.

Like many ADDA members, Diane Johnson McLean, learned of her ADHD later in life. She had already graduated from college. The ADHD diagnosis came after her marriage and the birth of her two children. She was well into her career as a teacher and school counselor. In fact, many of Diane’s students were diagnosed with ADHD or other learning disabilities while she was their teacher.

Diane’s son also struggled in school. His Autism was discovered at an early age. With the help and support of Diane, her husband, daughter and other family members and friends, Daniel has achieved many goals.

Diane returned to school to get a Master degree in Counseling and Student Services. Then while attending a CHADD Conference, Diane met a master life coach and enjoyed learning about coaching from his sessions. Diane decided she wanted to incorporate coaching in her career, so she left her 15-year teaching and counseling career in 2014, though she continued to teach preschool while attending graduate school.

Around this time, Diane began attending the ADHD Coach Academy. As Diane learned more about ADHD, she decided, “I would love to become an ADHD coach” It was only then that she began thinking she might have ADHD! She thought it might explain why she has trouble organizing her work or completing projects! It might also have something to do with her forgetfulness. As she thought about it, she realized these things had been happening to her all her life!

At the age of 53 Diane was diagnosed with ADHD. She also experienced some anxiety, and just to make things more complicated, she was also diagnosed with diabetes. Worried about her forgetfulness and increasingly anxious, she decided to explore the possibility of obtaining a Certified Therapy Service dog. Shortly afterward, she found Digby, one of the “friends” she really relies on.

Diane’s service dog, Digby, goes everywhere with her. (If you attended this year’s ADHD Conference in St. Louis, you probably saw Diane there with Digby.) Digby helps Diane keep track of her blood sugar levels and reminds her to take her medication.

Diane graduated from the ADHD Coach Academy in 2015 as a Certified ADHD and Life Coach. She opened her own practice with a friend. Diane works with students and adults ages 5 thru 62! She feels that by sharing her own challenges and experiences with her clients, she inspires her clients to help themselves. Then she helps her clients to see their own strengths.

Diane says “We can do whatever we want to do when we are armed with the knowledge of how ADHD affects our brain!”

Diane told me she could not do what she does without the love and support of her family. Besides Digby, who helps Diane keep to her schedule. She works with a Virtual Assistant who helps her schedule appointments, manage phone calls and helps with the bookkeeping.

Diane Johnson McLean serves as an example to all when she says, “We can succeed and carry out our goals using our ADHD traits to guide us along the way.”

Diane is a co-facilitator of ADDA’s Easy Wellness Club. She brings her coaching skills, her knowledge and her love of sharing ideas to our Easy Wellness Club support group meetings!

With over 25 years experience in education, Diane McLean, MEd, PCC provides life coaching and executive functions training by phone, through online video chat, or in person for those in the Kansas City area. Diane is committed to helping children and adults realize their potential and experience success.


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