Taking Your ADD To College

Most teens with AD/HD can remember

how they struggled to get along in school. You used tutoring, medication, tape

recorders, and plain hard work to get along in elementary school. But then came

middle school with class changes, different teachers and crowded halls. Your

grades and social life may have taken a nose dive. It seemed like you and your

parents had to learn about your AD/HD all over. Once again though, you got your

balance. Now you are a high school senior and it’s time to get ready for

college. You have probably known friends who went off to college with high

hopes, only to end up back home six months later. How do you know whether you

are ready to live in the dorms? What can you do to increase your chances of


Can You Take Care of Yourself? I

often ask seniors and their parents to make a list of the basic skills needed to

stay awake, clothed and fed. Many individuals with AD/HD have trouble keeping a

regular sleep schedule. Can you wake yourself up, fix breakfast and get to

classes on time? Do you still need parental reminders to bring your books home

and keep track of your long-term assignments? Do you have experience doing

laundry or balancing a checkbook?

Do you have a realistic view of your

strengths and weaknesses? This is the time to review your current and past

educational testing. Only if you acknowledge your areas of difficulty, can you

develop good coping strategies.

Do you use alcohol or illegal drugs?

If you have AD/HD, you are at greater risk for alcohol and drug problems. Drugs

and the “party lifestyle” often appeal to impulsive individuals. In the less

structured college setting, a minor problem with drugs can get out of hand.

Are there people on campus to help

you? Some colleges have programs to help students who need assistance with

organization and learning . In order to receive special services, you may need

psychological and educational testing to document your specific needs. You

should document your needs and contact the appropriate college offices before

you arrive on campus.

The initial adjustment to college

may be a challenge, but many individuals find that the new choices and

flexibility allow them to become passionate learners in their areas of strength.

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