What Does That Imply for Youngsters with ADHD?
Featured experts Dr. Jodie Dawson and Jane Benson, MA, CPCC
Fear of failure?
Coach: “What would happen if you didn’t remind your child to do their homework?”
Parent: “He would fail his class, would not do well on the SATs, would not get a high school diploma, would not go to college, would never move out, would never get a good job, and would be a total failure. ”
Do any of these fears sound familiar? We have heard and experienced a wide range of these and related fears from families with children diagnosed with ADHD. We’re here to let you know you are not alone.
As parents of children with ADHD, we mostly wait for the other shoe to fall. We work so hard to organize our children, manage their time, and help them stay focused that we don’t always realize the toll this takes on us, them, and our families. How long can we hold out and at what price?
So when we start thinking about our ADHD kids’ college readiness, we think very much about the practicalities like grades, standardized tests, and applications. But we often overlook some important life skills our children need to be successful in college. We focus too much on bringing them through and less on the skills that lead to greater independence. Once the structure of private life and high school is gone, our children become the driving forces almost overnight to create that structure for themselves.
Build skills over time
In order for them to be in the driver’s seat, the transition from survival and life skills must begin sooner rather than later. The word “transition” inherently implies a process that takes place over time. We believe that this process should ideally begin upon entering high school, in small steps and steps, and through a collaborative parent-child partnership. The ultimate goal is for your child to take responsibility for their course. Once in college, your child will be sitting in the classroom, given assignments, doing laundry, and spending excessive free time outside of the classroom.
After working with many college students, we have seen many who were not adequately prepared for the realities of college life. They lack certain survival skills that ultimately stand in the way of their success. Getting to class on time, keeping track of assignments, talking to professors about accommodation, asking for help, and setting goals are just a few of many important skills that need to be improved for student success.
For your high school student, the security of private life is a perfect environment to play the independence muscle. For many, we have taken on the academic and social responsibility of our children because of our own fears and the reality of their challenges. So in what areas are you as a parent ready to begin the transition with your child? It’s definitely not easy, and our own fears often get in the way. But it’s critical to your child’s success. Let this knowledge help you keep track of things.
Here is a list of key skills and areas to look at and investigate. Think about how you can start empowering your child to prepare for college success:
- Understand their diagnosis and how it will affect their performance
- time management
- Self care and housework
- Medication problems
- Asking for help
- set goals
It is important to remember that not all of these skills and college “readiness” develop at the same time for all ADHD children, and you don’t need to “figure them out” either. Every child has their own path to academic success. This can mean taking a gap year, attending community college, or taking some time to work. All of these options essentially give time to continue to grow, mature, and develop critical skills.
College Readiness for Children with ADHD
All in all, college readiness is a real possibility for all children with ADHD. “Readiness” will manifest at different times and in different ways. Children need to be able to sit in the driver’s seat before taking the plunge into college life. This enables them to take responsibility for all aspects of their life and experience what true independence might look like for them in the future.