Miriam Unruh, MSPP
Parent Coach (she/her)
As a university educator and someone working with adults with ADHD since the late 80s, I am proof that all the education and experience don’t prepare you to raise kids.
Parenting with ADHD and significant anxiety was incredibly challenging for me. My oldest child, Ben, screamed for the first eight months of his life. And so did I (if not externally, definitely internally). He was a delightful toddler but didn’t talk until he was almost four years old. He received a diagnosis of ADHD and Dyslexia in 1st grade and struggled with dysfluency, social interactions (and bullying was an ongoing issue as a result), clothing, noise, and school-based learning, specifically reading. We learned later (thanks to a fabulous 9th grade teacher) that he was also autistic, which explained so much.
Our second child, Erin, started talking at ten months and was a sharp contrast to Ben. She is articulate and socially adept, but conversations with her teachers began immediately. We decided to hold off on a diagnosis, partly due to her reluctance and somewhat because I wondered if one was even going to make a difference. By 4th grade, it was clear that a diagnosis was essential. She was a brilliant example of hyperactivity and was the only child with unlimited access to the classroom rocking chair and fidgets. We considered it a good day if it didn’t involve a comedy routine on a desk. And most days ended with “negotiations” over homework and computer time and me pulling crumpled sheets of paper out of her backpack and strategizing (and restrategizing) ways to get her to hand in completed work.
As a parent, I yelled too much and worried and cried. Luckily, my husband and I were mainly on the same page, and my background in ADHD helped us, but we still often felt alone. We were told that we were overreacting, that labeling was terrible, and that our kids would grow out of their issues. This meant I was, more often than not, second-guessing my decisions. Thanks to a local ADHD/LD organization, we connected with some excellent professionals. An educational psychologist pointed out the development gap that ADHD kids experience and helped me reframe my responses. And a brilliant speech pathologist who worked with our oldest on reading for two hours every Saturday (he now reads voraciously, and we owe her so much).
We found our team.
While searching for ways to work with my kids, my own ADHD diagnosis, and a demanding job, I discovered coaching. Working with a coach changed how I approached my work, kids, and self-care. So when work demands lessened, I jumped on the opportunity to train as a coach myself.
This decision revolutionized the work I do at my university, how I teach, and how I interact with my kids.
From new students to seasoned ones, I get the opportunity to work with a wide variety of students as a university educator. I also coach students with ADHD, learning disabilities, and autism. This is very fulfilling work. And now, working as a coach for ImpactParents allows me to work with adults who, like me, are experiencing the joys and challenges of raising 2E kids while learning to tackle their own challenging issues, as well.
I want to provide the support I am so thankful to have received when seeking help.
- Masters of Education (with a focus on post-secondary education)
- 30 years of working with adults with ADHD/LD and autism
- Graduate of ADDCA (certification in process)
- Certified Sanity School® Trainer and Parent Coach
- Training in PQ (Positive Intelligence) and VIA strengths inventory
- Member of ICF
- Member of CADDAC, ADDA, and CHADD