Elaine Taylor-Klaus, PCC, CPCC
My first ten years as a parent, I was miserable. Let me be clear: I love my kids. More than anything. But there was always a “but.” But it was hard. But it was frustrating. But it was lonely and isolating and terrifying.
When my daughter was just two weeks old, she started to scream. It didn’t stop. As other kids passed childhood milestones, she struggled to master simple life skills. Instead of sleepovers and summer camp, she went to vision therapy and occupational therapy. Instead of forming friendships, she changed schools again and again. My daughter carried the heavy, lonely burden of not just one life-changing diagnosis, but many: ADHD, anxiety, and learning disabilities on the one hand, and severe allergies with additional medical concerns on the other.
As parents, we want to carry it for them. I wanted to pick her up and make everything better. Knowing that I couldn’t – that was one of the most painful, difficult learning experiences of my first decade as a parent of a “complex” kid.
Equally challenging was the incredible isolation. It seemed like parents of other complex kids found each other. It was as if they had radar and could seek out others who struggled, just as they did. Sharing the load – talking about challenges and solutions and just making contact – makes it that much lighter. I felt like I was completely off the radar, that even among the complex kids, mine was more complicated.
I was desperate for community, for help. My daughter, thankfully, had a great therapist who provided her with guidance and support. Honestly, I couldn’t help but think: “What about me?!” I knew something needed to change. I just had no idea what.
Something Had to Change – And It was Me
You can’t help your kid – or yourself – build a strong, healthy life if you start with a shaky foundation. I needed to strengthen mine and parent from a place of hope and optimism, not fear and anxiety. When I began to realize that my child could have a fulfilling life, that she could thrive, I saw a way out of my panic.
Elaine’s Expert Guidance
will help you turn the chaos into calm
What prompted this change? For one, I was diagnosed with attention and learning issues at age 40. Suddenly, my whole life made sense! At the same time, I had two powerful allies on my side: a nutritionist who taught me that small changes could make a big impact, and a coach who – finally! – offered me the support and connection I so desperately craved.
Full of hope and purpose, I went back to school and earned my coaching certification. Why? Because coaching permanently improved my life and the dynamic in my family! I wanted to provide that same compassion, understanding, and light for all those other parents who were “off the radar” too. I often refer to is as my Scarlet O’Hara moment, when I raised my hands to the sky (yes, literally — a little drama keeps things interesting, right?) and declared, “As God is my witness, no parent shall ever have to go through what I went through those first ten years.” Parents would have a community; they would never have to feel as alone and desperate as I did.
Is parenting still difficult? At times, sure. Do I still worry from time to time? You bet. Are there days when I’m exhausted? Yes. But there’s always a “but.” But I know it’s manageable. But I know I can handle it. But my family is thriving. But I can make the difference.
And you can, too.
A Wesleyan University graduate (Connecticut) and CORO Fellow (New York), my passion for community, coaching, parenting, and politics has led to a number of initiatives:
- Co-founding ImpactADHD®, the first virtual coaching and training resource designed specifically for parents raising children in complex circumstances
- Launching Touchstone Coaching, a leadership, executive, and personal coaching practice, and pioneering the Touchstone Method to help clients overcome obstacles and develop strategies for change and growth
- Founding one of the largest political action committees in Georgia
- Founding a “Breakfast Club” for mothers and daughters, designed to facilitate effective communication between generations
- Curating a Speakers Series to support service providers and caregivers of kids with a wide range of complex needs
- Working with the NYC Commission on the Status of Women, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and on the Governor’s Council for Maternal and Infant Health (Georgia)
- Teaching couples labor and delivery classes, as well as pregnancy and postpartum yoga classes
- Completing CTI’s Co-Active Leadership Program, a leader in coach training
- Certification by Coach Training Institute and the International Coach Federation, earning the credential of Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
- Sharing expertise about parenting as a contributing author for The Huffington Post, Kids in the House, ADDitude magazine, Attention magazine, and many other publications and anthologies.
- Speaking and exhibiting at the international conferences on issues such as ADHD, Learning Disabilities, PKU, Tourette's, and more.
- Serving on the Chapter Quality Network ADHD Executive Review Committee for the American Academy of Pediatrics
- Writing for, presenting and advising organizations internationally, such as Additude Magazine and Kids in the House video warehouse.