When Jennifer Zick’s first child was diagnosed with ADHD in first grade, Jennifer was scared. “As first-time parents, the diagnosis was overwhelming. We didn’t want her labeled or limited, but we realized some things would be harder for her.” Over the years, it became clear that a standard classroom environment wouldn’t perfectly accommodate Evelyn’s learning style, and the Zick family turned to supplementary approaches like vision therapy and organizational coaching. But Evelyn’s excellence in, and preference for, literature and language arts made it harder for her to tackle subjects that came less easily—namely math.
“Last year, at the end of her freshman year of high school, we realized that she would have to ace her math final to pass algebra. And I thought, ‘I did well in algebra, I can teach her myself.’ We spent a whole weekend working through one worksheet and we both ended up in tears. That’s when I sent the SOS email to Yellow Parachute.”
After a year of frustrating math classes, constant pressure from her parents and teachers to complete her homework, and with finals fast-approaching, Evelyn was burned out. YP coach Gabriela Grosshans came to the rescue with a sunny attitude and flexible teaching approach. It wasn’t long before Evelyn started looking forward to her tutoring sessions and began to feel that she could master—and was mastering—math skills that had long felt out-of-reach. Evelyn’s test scores improved dramatically and, perhaps more importantly, she began to understand how testing environments affect her performance. Consequently, Evelyn is learning to advocate for herself to ensure that her learning and testing environments don’t feature ADHD-pitfalls like unnecessary stimuli, distractions, or stress.
Evelyn also worked with YP coach Kirsten Anderson who helped Evelyn hone Executive Function skills, so she could create and maintain her own routines and accountability systems. Jennifer expects that Evelyn’s work with YP will continue to pay dividends: “Even though a lot of these things have been harder for her, the fact that we’ve invested to build such a strong foundation in skill-building and coaching, training her brain how to make those choices—I think she may be even better equipped for the real world than a lot of kids who haven’t had those struggles at young ages.”
Evelyn herself is learning the long-term payoff of short-term effort and discomfort, comparing her approach to her studies to running track and cross country: “It’s hard work and it doesn’t always feel good, but when you get it done you feel this sense of accomplishment and peace.”
With YP coaches helping Evelyn academically, Jennifer was able to let go of tutoring Evelyn and return to the role of parent, providing care and support as Evelyn worked towards her own goals. And while Jennifer is glad that Evelyn has a deeper understanding of her ADHD and a blossoming work ethic, she’s most happy with YP’s influence on Evelyn’s sense of self: “Speaking from my parent’s heart, the most important part of this journey is that it’s been a real shot of confidence for Evelyn and an important affirmation of her learning ability at a time when she was feeling very discouraged.”
“We’re a huge advocate for Yellow Parachute. They have provided one-of-a-kind, customized learning support for our daughter that we haven’t been able to find with other programs or services. I would recommend their approach to any family who wants their child to have an academic edge, but more importantly, to learn their own style and really become their best self. Because that’s what Yellow Parachute does: They’re not just about grades, they’re about helping students reach their full potential in learning and life.”
Want to help your student cultivate lifelong learning habits? Yellow Parachute’s Student Connector will match you with the perfect coach for your family’s needs.