Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, sometimes referred to as ADD or ADHD, is classed as neurodevelopmental disorder that is also considered a Learning Disability. It has what are knowns as “presentations” under the DSM V. These used to be called subcategories or poles. There are three: Hyperactivity, Inattention, or a combination of both. For years a true diagnosis was required to be done before the age of seven, but under the DSM V, this was changed and the diagnosis can be made during adolescence and even adulthood. Many people have multiple diagnoses and ADHD is simply one. When coupled with Executive functioning impairment, it can be very real challenge to keep organized and complete work in a timely manner. When such students are diagnosed as such at an early age, there are many support systems in place in schools to help give the students skills to manage education well.
This diagnosis is a good news/bad news scenario for many students. The good news is that there are many, many ways for a student to gain assistance through tools and medication or a combination of the two to create an individualized system to get work done. Learning Skills centers in schools help students to create study guides and tools. Many such students throughout the middle school years are given support in planning, time management, and strategies to best understand course material s. Some also take medication, which they find to be very useful during the school day. Others find the medications to have side effects that make life unpleasant and forego such treatment. Many adults admit to just using coffee as an effective aid. People find what works as they adapt. Knowing your own personal style, if you have this diagnosis, is important. Do you want to learn which colleges are the most supportive, contact me!
Another plus is that of all the learning challenges, colleges have no issues with admission and if any accommodations are granted, they are readily met by most schools. The downside is that most do not consider a diagnosis of ADHD to need supports such as extended time testing, note taking services or other such ADA accommodations offered. Most ADHD students do not get extended time granted or approved by the standardized test companies, either.
The diagnosis can be managed effectively, and unless it is couple with another diagnosis, there is no need for accommodations. During adolescence, parents of such students can get agitated with schools as they truly believe that the ADHD is not as manageable as health and education professionals believe. Well, sadly, adolescents are naturally distracted due to many biological changes in their bodies, and those changes cannot be medicated away or can granting accommodations change the situation. It might seem to be far worse, but it is actually a part of life that we all get through. How much is the ADHD and how much is hormones could be a lengthy discussion!
Most medium to large “mainstream” universities and colleges have tremendous academic services support open to all the students. Note taking or even access to technological assists is available to many depending on the professor. Many professors make use of software such as Blackboard™ and pre-load class or lecture notes to a forum for all students to utilize. Peer tutoring is available, which students will have to sign up for themselves, usually there is a Learning Center , Academic Support, or Student Services Office where students can find a whole host of options to help keep them on track and doing well.
Welcome to college because this is also where becoming an independent, self-advocating, accountable, responsible adult is part of the process. In life, you will have to find support for so much; we all do. Colleges give you clear road maps; you just have to use them! I am happy to support those with questions about how to get access and what tools are best for you or any other concern, just contact me!