Tips for Parents
What is Adult ADD?
Recognizing Adult Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
According to the Adult ADD Center, "Adult ADD is a neurological brain disorder that manifests as a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity/ impulsivity that is more frequent and severe than is typically observed in individuals at a comparable level of development." Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which begins in childhood, can also persist into adulthood. In fact, about 60% of individuals diagnosed with ADHD as children continue to have symptoms as adults. Generally, their level of hyperactivity diminishes as they get older.
The exact cause of Adult ADD remains unknown, but a great deal of research has been conducted over the past 10 years. Many believe genetics play a role, but other causes have been explored as well.
How is Adult ADD diagnosed?
Healthcare professionals diagnose Adult ADD based on the answers to three questions:
- What are the symptoms?
- What are the impairments?
- What is the history of the symptoms?
Adults with ADD might experience symptoms such as lack of focus, disorganization, restlessness, difficulty finishing projects and/or losing things. They often have difficulty managing time and feel misunderstood because others do not understand their thought process. These symptoms can impair their level of success at work, home or in personal relationships. In order to be diagnosed with Adult ADD, individuals generally must have had their symptoms prior to age 7 and for at least six months.
What can my student do to successfully manage his/her Adult ADD?
The most common treatment options for Adult ADD are medication and behavior modification. Many professionals, such as counselors and life coaches, can help individuals manage their life successfully by helping them develop strong organization and social skills.
Here are some tips you can offer your student for managing his/her life:
- Use time management techniques, such as making lists or using a planner, to help stick to routines and schedules.
- Take note of how long daily/weekly activities take to complete (such as doing laundry or getting ready in the morning). Plan for that amount of time in your schedule the next time you need to complete the task.
- Plan for the unexpected. A teacher asks to talk with you after class? A friend in crisis needs to meet for coffee? Not a problem. Build extra time into your schedule for these types of occurrences.
- Set short-term, attainable goals and create a step-by-step plan to achieve them. This will help you stay interested and motivated to accomplish them.
- If you are comfortable, talk with your roommate and friends about your disorder. They will be more likely to understand your forgetfulness, impatience and angry outbursts, and be willing to help you strategize ways to improve.
- Try to find a quiet place to work on assignments that require a lot of concentration. This will help you stay focused.
- Organize your study space so that you are less likely to experience distraction. For example, position your chair or desk so you can't see into the hallway or choose a study carrel that faces a wall, rather than others studying or walking by.
- When working on assignments for a long period of time, take periodic breaks. Move around ... instead of texting your friend down the hall to ask what time she is going to the dining hall, go ask her in person.
Source: www.adhd.com/ adults/adults.jsp
Could your student have Adult ADD?
If you are concerned about your student, encourage him/her to make an appointment with a healthcare professional. Untreated, ADD can impact many aspects of life. An adult with untreated ADD compared with an adult without ADD is more likely to be fired from a job, to get divorced or separated, and to have a suspended driver's license.
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