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Out of Focus

College students continue to fight the growing battle with ADHD

Published: Monday, February 10, 2014

Updated: Monday, February 10, 2014 17:02

ADHD

Photo Illustration by Emily Alexander

While ADHD is usually diagnosed most in children, some people don’t get diagnosed until they enter adulthood.

It can be hard for any student to sit patiently through a long school day, but others have to fight an unseen obstacle in order to pay attention.

While many who suffer from ADHD are diagnosed at a young age, some make it to college before receiving an explanation for their behavior.

Jason Davis, a senior public relations major of Jonesboro, said he noticed something was wrong when he realized he had trouble passing a math course. He visited Disability Services, was then referred to Arkansas Rehab in Jonesboro and then to Little Rock.

“I spent two days in testing and came back with a diagnosis of ADHD,” Davis said.

Davis uses medication to control his symptoms and said he tries to maintain a steady schedule, as well as going through Disability Services to request more time for test taking.

Although Davis receives proper help from different resources he said he experiences a lack of understanding from others.

“One of the biggest things people tend to think is that it’s a made up disease and that you just aren’t trying,” he said. “It’s hard to explain how frustrating it is to sit down to do something and then halfway through it, you’re wondering why the dog will only eat her food on one side of the bowl.”

Sondra Sims, Disability Service’s associate director and learning disability specialist, said ADHD is an invisible disability and a person may never know if someone else has it.

“I see students with such a variation of (ADHD),” Sims said.

In her work she comes across those who are completely self-accommodating with the disability and others like Davis who need medication.

Sims said there are also a large number of students at A-State with ADHD and numbers of college students being diagnosed are increasing. Transitioning to college can be more of a struggle for a student with ADHD.

Sims said coming to college as a student without the disability is enough of a challenge but adding ADHD to the mix makes it even harder.

“You’re already having difficulties managing time, multitasking and completing tasks,” she said. “Many times in high school you can kind of get by, but when you transition to college, added attention has to be given to those skills in order to survive.”

Sims added ADD is no longer a diagnosis given. Instead, it is all umbrellaed under the term ADHD.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, adults with ADHD have trouble staying organized, sticking with a job and also feel restless. Sims said other symptoms include poor focus, haphazard task completion ability and ineffective time management skills.

There is help available for A-State students struggling with ADHD. Disability Services offers a peer assisted volunteer program called Academic Success and Access Program (ASAP). ASAP pairs students with ADHD with a peer assistant who will then work on ways to strengthen the student’s time management, communication and study skills.

“FYE students with disabilities, including ADHD, are also assisted in matriculating into ASU from high school and becoming a part of our campus community,” Sims said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only five symptoms are needed to be present to aid in diagnosing adults, a list of which can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/diagnosis.html.

For more information on treatment and resources for ADHD, contact Disability Services at 972-3964 or in room 2181 of the Student Union.

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