Although psychology junior Cody Thomas had not dealt with his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, since he was 9 years old, the symptoms began to resurface recently, forcing him to take action and go back on medication.
“I just noticed how difficult it was to focus in a college class,” Thomas said. “I knew that if it was an issue before, it could be recurring.”
On campus, students diagnosed with ADHD or experience symptoms of the disorder have tools available to help get the most out of school.
ADHD affects 30 – 50 percent of adults who had ADHD during childhood, according to AdhdNews.com.
For some students, the pressures of college life brings down more than just their grades — their inability to concentrate might resurface, something that was not present since childhood, said Darryl Steele, learning disabilities specialist at the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities, or RCPD.
There are three types of ADHD: predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, predominantly inattentive and combined.
Common symptoms of ADHD include an inability to focus for long periods of time, being easily distracted, showing impulsive behaviors and physical restlessness, according to RCPD’s website.
Steele said some students with ADHD might appear no different on the surface and even receive excellent grades, but this might be because they have developed the ability to deal with their ADHD.
“When (they) come to college, they have the same abilities, (but) some of the other things they had at home may no longer be present,” Steele said. “They now have to plan for meals. They have to do things on their own.”
The Counseling Center offers ADHD testing and consultation services for students, according to the center’s website.
After a student is diagnosed with ADHD, Steele and the other specialists at RCPD work with the student on methods to compensate for the disability, including alternative testing and assistive technology.
Some tips for staying focused include making a schedule, listening and following along in a book, and studying for a set period of time and then taking a break, Steele said.
Meghan Mitchum, a political theory and constitutional democracy sophomore, said the university should provide resources for students with ADHD in the same way it does for those with other handicaps. Mitchum said she thinks of ADHD as a minor disorder compared to other problems students might face.
“I don’t think it’s something that could prevent someone from doing what they want to do,” Mitchum said.