ADHD is officially called Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. It is a neurologically-based, developmental disability characterized by deficits in inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity, or a combination of the two factors.
ADHD is very heterogeneous and it is important to remember that students with the disorder may have very different experiences. ADHD is most frequently diagnosed during childhood, but may not be identified until college or adulthood if the individual has successfully compensated for the symptoms and/or did not have access to or awareness of this possible diagnosis. Individuals with ADHD often have the most difficulty in the academic environment because of the increased demands for organization and structure. The greater demand for these skills in the college setting often exacerbates the barriers students face when they enter college.
Some individuals with ADHD may be prescribed medication to alleviate symptoms. While pharmacological treatment may ameliorate the symptoms for some students, for others it is less effective. In addition, some side effects related to the medication may cause additional challenges and may necessitate certain accommodations (e.g., priority registration because of a disrupted sleep schedule).
Barriers to access for students with ADHD:
- Distractions in environment
- Expectation to multitask (write and listen simultaneously)
- Time management
- Reading speed and reading comprehension
- Motor restlessness
- Low frustration tolerance
For more information, see Working with Students with ADHD.
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