Preparation for College Life Part I

What to Expect and What Not to Expect   
~ by Shelly A Meyers

The anticipation of sending a child to college can be overwhelming. For the first time your child will be responsible for doing the laundry, finding food, doing homework, and managing money without the help of you, the parent. So what should you expect? College is tough for the “regular” kids—and your kid happens to have ADHD. This poses a few additional worries. For the first time your child will wonder what happened to the laundry fairy that brings the fresh clean clothes…she’s on vacation!! So, teach your child to do the laundry at a laundromat before you send them off. When you go for the campus visit ask where the facilities are and how much it will cost per load. Stuff a roll of quarters into the suitcase so that laundry can be done at least until fall break.  

Finding food is the next venture. If you have bought the meal plan, it should last the entire semester depending on the plan, so be sure to read the fine print. Some campuses allow students to eat every meal every day; others only have a set amount of meals before the student is cut off or has to pay an additional fee for additional meals. If your child is an athlete it is imperative that he or she stays healthy—so you’ll have the aid of athletic trainers. One thing to remember is that appetite is altered by some ADHD medications, so the trainers need to be made aware so that modifications can be made if need be. You may have to educate the head trainer for the signs that you child has not eaten. Trainers monitor for rapid weight loss, but there may be other signs unique to your child’s situation. Also, be sure your child budgets for eating out. Cafeterias may only serve two meals on weekends, so make sure the schedule is posted or can easily be found in your child’s dorm room. 

HOMEWORK, done, done, donnnnne! The good thing about homework is that on college campuses there are loads of resources for getting academic support. Talk to your disabilities services advisor, as programs differ drastically in the services they provide. Some allow students to schedule appointments for tutoring while others have unlimited one-on-one tutoring for each class. Some colleges have a tutoring center that operates on a first come, first served basis. Do not expect the professors to call you and tell you that your child is struggling. You will find out when the mid-term report card comes or when your child fails the semester. Don’t wait to ask questions. Here’s a tip—we live in the digital age which means that grades are now posted on-line, usually through the college website. Ask your admissions rep what the policy is on parental access. Some colleges do not allow parental access without student consent, so you’ll want to handle those situations appropriately.  

Money management can be the toughest. Do not send your child to school with a blank check or a credit card. Most banks now have a debit card system that allows you to control how much money is allotted and spent. Chances are, the first semester will be a very expensive one. Teach your children how to manage the money they have before you send them off to the land of pizza and beer…yes they do become two major food groups. Even if your child doesn’t drink, he/she will spend—so teach them to do it wisely. It may not be a bad idea to have them apply for on-campus jobs to make their own spending money. Many colleges now have their own debit system that works at on-campus facilities such as cafeterias, book stores, and laundry facilities. Check with your admissions rep for details. 

Note:There are many more facets of college life that parents need to be aware of. Next month’s article will discuss questions you need to ask and where to ask them.  SM

*You can reach Shelly Meyers at:


Top 10 signs of ADD in the driver’s seat…

Top 10 signs of ADD in the driver’s seat… 

[By Jennifer M. 7-6-07] 

Beware, Be Aware and Be compliant of your meds (and the laws)! 

You find yourself…

10. trying to drive and find a trash bag

9. trying to drive and find the ringing phone

8. trying to drive and see who called since you couldn’t find the phone in time

7. trying to drive and look for police cars hidden on exits when you realize you were accidentally speeding

6. trying to drive the speed limit and get around the car in front who won’t move to save his life (doesn’t the person realize that you are running a little late?)

5. trying to drive and save the number of the person who called

4. trying to drive and enter the caller’s name since you already have 3 unknown saved numbers because you forgot to save owners’ names

3. trying to drive and fold up the sweater in the seat beside you that got bunched up between all of your bags and bottles in the “empty” passenger seat

2. trying to drive and gather up all the trash in your sitting/reaching area

1. parking the car and putting the trash in the bag and remembering to take it along with all of the bags, bottles, and newly folded sweater into the office. 

“You can only imagine where I observed these behaviors this week?” [JM] 

Note: The Top 10 List will be a regular feature in the ADHD Success Newsletter and the ADHD Center for Success blogsite. Please send your personal Top 10 List to:

ADHD: Always on the Go

ADHD: Always on the Go

Warning signs for attention deficit disorder.


We all have garden-variety memory lapses. Where are my eyeglasses? Did I turn off the stove? But the adult with ADHD is a special case. Over and over, he leaves his wallet at the store, she forgets her son’s basketball game, he can’t finish projects at work, her finances are in the red, or he forgets to unhook the gas pump from the car only to drive off (the last example has to be the most original).

Some 4 to 5 percent of children have ADHD, and 60 percent of these children carry symptoms well into adulthood. For the adult with ADHD, the disorder can interfere with relationships at home and at work. And to make matters worse, other problems and conditions—such as alcoholism or social anxiety—can hide symptoms, making treatment difficult.

Untreated symptoms can often bring on feelings of low self-esteem or low mood. The ADHD adult can be a high achiever, for example, but her disorganization holds her back from unmet goals that then lead to poor self-image. Of course, symptoms may lead her straight to a bout with depression or even chronic anxiety.

What’s more, these individuals are also more likely to smoke; smoking is twice as common among people in this population. Researchers at Columbia University are studying smokers who have ADHD symptoms; they are interested in the effects of the drug methylphenidate and whether it might reduce symptoms of ADHD as well as tobacco withdrawal. Research like this may help us better understand the disorder.

Yet the tendencies of the ADHD adult can also be directed to one’s advantage. Some, for instance, are hyper-focused on tasks that interest them. That’s why professions such as medicine, science, or art may be better suited for these individuals. It’s no surprise, then, that people like Albert Einstein, John Lennon, and Beethoven are said to have had symptoms of ADHD.

Sometimes, just being aware of the symptoms can be a big help. What you may not know is that there are three types of ADHD: inattentive, hyperactive, or impulsive. While all types affect executive function, each one has its own quirks. Here are some signs to look for:

Listen UpThe inattentive ADHD adult is pretty much a disorganized person. She often gets bored and easily distracted, losing herself in daydreams. With little attention to detail, she can make careless mistakes. All of which leads to an inability to focus and follow instructions. Conversely, this person can focus too much on tasks of interest and can even underestimate the time needed to complete these tasks. This can fuel procrastination and lateness. Don’t be too put off as the inattentive ADHD adult can appear aloof or even arrogant.On the Go

The hyperactive suffers restlessness, even fidgety hands and feet. It’s not surprising to find this person squirming in general. He also is known to talk excessively, hopping from one topic to another. She may be dogged by feelings of being overwhelmed.

Thinking Before Acting

The impulsive type may suffer irritability, anger, and impatience. She, in fact, cannot curb her reactions. In interactions with others, he may speak without thinking, interrupt others, and suffer poor timing. These people sometimes suffer addictions like impulsive shopping or even eating disorders.

What You Can Do

Many people who have ADHD see marked improvement through a combination of talk therapy and medication. But each person is different, so treatment plans must be tailored to the individual. Here are some steps you can take to combat ADHD. First, consult a mental health professional and ask for a thorough assessment covering everything from attention span to medical exam. Also ask about medications such as Ritalin and Adderall. Different drugs, however, work for different individuals; you may have to try one and then another. Plus, studying up on ADHD will help as well as building skills like using to-do lists, day planners, and filing systems. You can also divide large tasks into smaller more manageable ones, that way you will not feel so overwhelmed. If you need further tools to manage your behavior, try meditation or relaxation techniques. And lastly, turning to others by joining an ADHD support group will let you know you are not alone.