Ideas Young Adults with ADHD for College
As most who deal with ADHD are all too aware, maintaining a medication regiment isn’t the only answer to dealing with the complex issues of ADHD. There is no pill on earth that will help you to want to clean your room, stay organized or remember important appointments and tasks. The harsh reality is that especially when young adults are on their own for the first time, usually while in college, their issues with ADHD are far from over just because they take their medication as prescribed. A whole new set of obstacles are in place in a new and unfamiliar environment that can trigger new symptoms, rehash old ones and even can regress work previously achieved. There’s good news about all of this, though-it’s perfectly normal, and it’s okay to ask for help.
Living in a dorm, for instance, is far different from living in your childhood bedroom at home. You don’t have the benefit of familiar surroundings that can help remind you of routines and schedules such as hearing your family get ready for work and school in the morning, knowing where your dirty laundry goes, where you lay out your clothes and school papers at night preparing for the next day, and parental reminders of tasks that every adolescent uses as natural cues to complete daily living tasks but few like to admit. However, for a young adult dealing with ADHD, the absence of these routine cues can be disorienting and can even trigger panic or at least confusion and increased forgetfulness as they navigate a new environment.
One simple thing that a young adult can do even before they move away from home to help prepare them for increased independence is to work with their parents to have them begin withdrawing common support such as reminders to complete tasks or assistance in getting and keeping organized. In fact, while still living at home, begin shaking things up a bit by disrupting known routines and develop new ones. Wake up at a different time-perhaps earlier and add an extra exercise routine to your schedule. Rearrange your room so that things aren’t in the exact same place, and develop new organizational systems for yourself. In doing this, it will help reinforce the importance of staying organized and scheduled while also reducing dependency on exactness and familiarity. It will help build confidence for success in a new place with different surroundings and newly-imposed schedules.
Parents can still help to support their young adult students by checking in routinely and asking questions while providing gentle polite reminders of things that many college students tend to neglect such as dental and routine doctor appointments, encouraging involvement in extracurricular activities while still setting routine study and classroom time. While students may seem annoyed by the intrusion, the gentle reminders are still helpful, and they keep doors of opportunity open for students to discuss any difficulties or ask for advice when they feel they need it.
Also, most colleges offer resources for students who may want additional help with things like study skills, tutoring on writing, math and other subjects, etc. Depending on the diagnosis of ADHD, there may even be options available through the disabilities department that could provide students additional time to take tests, modified academic environments, etc. If deemed helpful, parents can help link students to local support groups and therapy opportunities in close proximity to the college allowing the student to further develop their individual coping skills so that they can function with full success in college and beyond. While these milestone challenges do come with some difficulties they can also prove to students that despite having some obstacles to overcome, the fact that they can overcome the obstacles can help set them on a course of achieving positive success throughout their lives.