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Challenges of ADHD and Being in College

Leslie Rouder, LCSW , for
I was recently asked by a college student how best to compensate for their lack of executive functioning skills around college assignments. She complained of not being able to organize her assignments, start them or stay on task and complete them. Here was the response that I provided to her.

If you have never been diagnosed with ADD, my suggestion would be to have a thorough evaluation with an individual qualified to diagnose ADD. That may be a school psychologist, psychiatrist, family doctor of social worker who is well versed and trained in diagnosing ADD. Knowing what is causing these symptoms, will provide you with many answers.

When working as a coach with my students at the university, I advise them to set up a regular study schedule. This helps them to stay on task in that they begin to develop regular study and school work time and habits. I also advise them to stay out of their dorm room (or home) and go to the library where there are many students studying and there are less distractions. The third thing I advise my students to do when feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work they have to do, is to take one small piece of the assignment at a time. Break each assignment down into smaller pieces. For example, if you have a large paper to write, the first action step you might take is to locate the research information to start the paper as the first step. Set up an amount of time that you can allocate to that task and set a timer. Next, write the first page only of the paper in an allocated amount of time. Set a timer for this as well. If you can only hold your attention for 30 minutes at a time, start by setting your timer for 30minutes.

As you develop the habit of working on a regular schedule you may find that you can go for longer periods of time without being distracted. Sometimes just starting the work provides you with the momentum to complete the task. You will need to experiment with what works best for you.

Leslie Rouder is the Director of Disability Services at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida where she has the opportunity to coach and assess many students with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) that are presently attending the university. She currently has a private practice in Boca Raton and Miami and is considered an established expert in the field of adult Attention Deficit Disorder, having studied and specialized in the area of ADD for the past 10 years. She has conducted and hosted numerous workshops, trainings, and as well as radio shows related to this subject.
You can find out more about Ms. Rouder at her web site: or by contacting her at: .

Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.
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