A study from the University of Toronto found that even if teenagers with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) are doing well academically, they may feel less competent in comparison to their peers who don’t have it. Danielle Cheyne, an Accesibility Counsellor at Fanshawe College, said the study is accurate, because the students she works with will often feel the same way, which continues in the workplace.
“A lot of it has to do with some of the difficulty around getting to places on time, or the thoughts that things that seem so simple for their workers, or their coworkers or their fellow students, in terms of meeting deadlines, the ability to finish tasks,” she said.
“Procrastination is another piece where students with ADHD can struggle, and they’ll see their non-ADHD peers being able to turn assignments in or at work, being able to finish projects, to get everywhere they have to get to on time, and they start to feel that even if they are doing really well in other areas, they may feel that something may be wrong with them, or that they are not as good as the others that they’re working with.”
Cheyne said the college provides many organizational strategies for students with ADHD, but they can be used by any student. Some of them include using a planner, and dividing your assignments into chunks. For example, writing an introductory paragraph for an essay one day, and working on your body paragraphs the next. She also said regulating your emotions is important, so you don’t feel overwhelmed, and feels that area isn’t as researched as much as time management and organization.
Cheyne said a lot of students will tell her that they struggle with keeping their emotions in check. “One of the biggest barriers to success is that they’re feeling so very overwhelmed and are having challenges coping with what they need to do to increase that focus or increase that organization or increase that time management.”
She plans to launch an Adult ADHD Support Group at Fanshawe with another staff member, where they host workshops to help students with ADHD and other students who also struggle with organization, time management and planning. The college assisted 447 students with ADHD from 2014-2015. About 117 also had another condition such as depression, anxiety, and/or a learning disability, which Cheyne said might be another reason why students with ADHD feel less competent than their peers without it.