Preparation for College Life – Part II

Preparation for College Life Part II—Questions to Ask and Where to Ask Them.

by Shelly A Meyers, M.S. Ed. 

August, 2007 

The college campus can be a very exciting and intimidating place. Locating the appropriate buildings, finding services, and surveying the off-campus community can be daunting in the beginning. So where do you start? There are questions you or your child can ask that will make this part of on-campus living much easier. 

Where are my classes? When students receive their schedule there should be a building location and room number indicated next to the class number and title. Usually a campus map is not attached to the schedule. When your freshman goes through orientation they should receive a student handbook or planner—the map is usually located there. If not, find the dorm resident assistant (R.A.) to ask for directions. Usually during move-in weekend there are designated faculty, staff, and students to assist with this as well. Be sure not to wait until the first day of classes to locate the classrooms. Classroom numbering doesn’t always make sense, and on a big campus such as a state university this may mean the difference of several miles between buildings.  

Where do I eat? On a small campus there may only be one dining facility or cafeteria. The easiest person to ask is a fall athlete. Chances are they have been there for a few weeks for camp and are now seasoned veterans. On a large campus there are several dining facilities, and your child’s meal plan may only work for one. Be sure to ask wherever you purchased the meal plan, usually student services. Again, the R.A. is a good resource as well. 

When is tutoring or study hall? If your child is an athlete, these times will be made known by the athletic coach or NCAA/NAIA athletic coordinator. If not, contact your disabilities services office and make an appointment with the director or coordinator to schedule your tutoring. Be sure you read the guidelines pertaining to absences. Some programs will discontinue services if attendance becomes a problem. The best disabilities services will have one-on-one tutoring that will be catered to your child’s schedule so be sure to ask if these services are available.  

Where are counseling/ medical services? Your disabilities services office should have this information as well. If you have decided not to use those services, you can check with your student services office as well. Usually an R.A. would know, but there is a confidentiality and confidence issue that should be considered. 

One last point—There are many opportunities to get involved at the collegiate level. There are sports, clubs, societies, intramurals, and socials. If your child suffers from any sort of depression, encourage him/her to get involved. Be sure that the disabilities services office is aware of the signs of depression as they present in your child. Call often the first few weeks, even if they don’t answer the phone. Knowing they still have support can mean the difference in a successful first semester experience. 

by College Coach, Shelly A Meyers, M.S. Ed.   

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AD/HD and dating

ADHD and dating –  

After concluding a recent seminar about AD/HD Adults a nice young woman approached me and asked what I knew about AD/HD and dating. She spoke briefly about her serial relationships that more often that not ended when she became bored with her partner. This was quickly followed by the excitement of a new partner, a new relationship. Remember that phrase, “Stimulation is my friend”. While, I am very familiar with the literature and have counseled/coaching couples in AD/HD relationships I confessed to her that I was less familiar with the dynamics of AD/HD dating.  

I’m in the process of drafting an article and teleclass on the topic of “AD/HD Dating” so I thought I’d go to you my readers for input on this topic. I invite you to share your thoughts and experiences with dating from the perspective of an AD/HD adult or from the perspective of having dated an ADHD adult. 

   1.  What did you enjoy [most / least] about dating an AD/HD adult?

   2.  If you’re an AD/HD adult, what are your biggest challenges of dating?

   3.  If a non-AD/HD adult, describe your challenges dating an AD/HD adult?

   4.  Feel free to share brief examples using only fictional first names.

Please do not limit your comments to these questions. All responses will be dealt with confidentially so I will not reveal anyone’s identity other than first names if provided.  

Please send your comments to: coachrudy@mindspring.com

Study – Teen’s More ‘Connected’

Today’s teens are more interactive and multitask more than any generation before them. Here’s how and how often they are connected:

  • Most teens own cell phones (33 percent of kids ages 12 to 14; 57 percent of teens ages 15 to 17). Thirty-three percent report using a cell phone to send a text message.
  • Sixty-two percent of teenagers 12 to 18 years old multitask with other media, such as listening to an iPod or watching TV while using the computer.
  • Seventy-five percent of online teens use instant messaging, compared with 42 percent of online adults. According to The Pew/Internet & American Life Project Teens and Technology, “Teens who participated in focus groups … said they view e-mail as something you use to talk to ‘old people,’ institutions or to send complex instructions to large groups.”
  • Children ages 8 to 18 spend more time (6.5 hours per day) in front of computers, televisions, and game screens than any other activity in their lives except sleeping.
  • Teens report use of the Internet for e-mail (89 percent), online games (81 percent), searching for current events (76 percent) and instant messaging (75 percent).
  • Eighty-seven percent of teenagers use the Internet.
  • More than 60 percent of teens would not post a resume on social networking web sites MySpace, Facebook or Friendster for employers to see. But 32 percent would remove content from these sites if they knew their employer could see it.
  • Teens are the greatest contributors to blogs, message boards and chat rooms about their companies. 

Sources: Kaiser Family Foundation; National Institute on Media and the Family; Pew/Internet & American Life Project; Spherion.

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: smeyers@limestone.edu

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: coachrudy@mindspring.com

ADHD: Always on the Go

ADHD: Always on the Go

Warning signs for attention deficit disorder.

By PsychologyToday.com

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.

Living with A Non-ADD Adult Partner

Life can be a challenge if you’re a non-ADD adult living with an ADD/ADHD adult. I recently coached a non-ADD adult (we’ll call her Alice) regarding some of her specific issues living with her ADD adult partner. Alice voiced a concern that is likely the most common complaint I hear from non-ADD partners. “I feel like he needs me to tell him what to do all the time. I have to guide him and direct him. I resent that I feel like I have a child. “As an ADD coach, I’ve heard the non-ADHD partner express many times, “I married my husband to have an equal partner but now I feel like I’ve got another child to take care of.”

ADD/ADHD adults tend to lack the inherent nature of structure and routine. Consequently, ADD adults often function best when there is some type of external structure in their life, i.e. work and school. Relationship partners also provide a great deal of structure & anchoring for the ADHD adult. Without this anchor, the ADD partner may have a greater tendency to meander during projects, chores, and possibly with life in general. Thus, it may appear that the ADD adult is depending on you or that he or she won’t do certain things without your comments or reminders.          

Coaching Tips for Non-ADD Partners:

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate.
  • Be honest, firm and gentle with your communication.
  • Clearly communicate your preferences and expectations of your ADD partner.
  • Clearly communicate your disappointment when there are breakdowns in agreements.
  • Take time to acknowledge the strengths, assets and beautiful aspects of your ADD partner. Acknowledge this to yourself and to your ADD partner.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help from professionals skilled at working with ADD / ADHD adults. 

Running Late Again . . .

Have you noticed that, like other ADD adults, you are routinely 5-10 minutes late for work, appointments, and most other scheduled events? It’s not that you intend to be late. You just simply got lost and distracted in time.

Let’s face it — ADD Adults generally have a poor concept of time. We understand time but we tend to be poor managers of it. Certainly, I’ve met some ADD adults who are compulsive about being on time, but on the average, we simply run late. Let’s take a  look at what goes wrong.

You know the drill. You have an appointment at 2pm and if you’re lucky, you just might have your appointment written in your calendar. You may actually know where your calendar is. You have an idea about what time to leave for your appointment but it’s not likely written in stone. It’s still an idea.

Meanwhile, “stimulation is my friend”) so you’re probably in the middle of something. Now maybe you just lost track of time or maybe you’re watching the clock while strategizing the best time to break away from your current focus of attention. Ok, leave now! I’ll have just enough time to arrive on time. But wait! Where are my keys, where are the papers or directions I need to take with me?” You know what it’s like, right? You’re ready to go, but you’re not prepared to leave.

Again, ‘stimulation is my friend ‘, so you probably don’t like arriving at your destinations early. “What will I do? Why arrive early and risk feeling bored with nothing to do?”Now here’s an interesting twist…Although you don’t like being late to a scheduled event, now that your are running late you may be feeling bad or guilty at the thought of not arriving on time. At the same time, your body is now filled with adrenaline as you ‘race’ to your appointment – ‘stimulation is my friend ‘ . Bottom line, you feel bad about running late, but your body is being rewarded with adrenaline for ‘running’ late. 

Tips for Managing Your Time:

  • Mindfulness Bells: Set timers or alarms to bring your awareness back to the moment. Timers also help to remind you when to “get ready to leave” so that you’re prepared to leave on time.

  • Get ready to get ready to go: I had a girlfriend who was always on time and very structured in her life. Unfortunately, when it was time to leave for destination, she was ready to walk out the door and I was “ready to go but not prepared to leave”. Before long she began to announce, “Rudy, it’s time to get ready to get ready to go”That gentle message got my attention and allowed me the appropriate time to prepare to leave on time.

  • Dual alarm kitchen timers are wonderful. Set one alarm to remind you to get prepared to go, and the second alarm five minutes before it’s time to walk out the door.

  • Planning: There is a popular saying… “People who fail to plan, plan to fail”. Set yourself up to win/succeed by using some type of planning calendar. You can use calendar books or you may use your cell phone or electronic PDA. These last two options are nice because you can set an alarm to remind you 5-10 minutes or more before your intended departure time. Of course, it’s also helpful to keep track of your calendar/planner.

Understanding Adult ADD/ADHD

Understanding Adult ADD / ADHD

Most people have some concept of hyperactive children but few people have a sound understanding of the full presentation of Attention Deficit / Hyperactive Disorder.  In fact, fewer people have an awareness or understanding about the presentation of ADD and ADHD in adults. The intention of this article is to offer an introduction to adult ADD/ADHD.

Core Symptoms of Adult ADD / ADHD

It’s helpful to begin this introduction by exploring the core symptoms of adult ADD / ADHD. The core symptoms are:  1) Inattention and 2) Distractibility.

Attention vs. Inattention
Attention and Distractibility is often misunderstood in that people frequently believe that if an adult or child is able to focus on something he or she favors, then ADD/ADHD is not the problem.In truth, if the ADHD child or adult finds a task, subject or issue] a) interesting, b) new or novel, (e.g., that new book, project or hobby) or c) an enjoyable challenge – then focus and attention will be much stronger on the continuum. In contrast, if something is a) not interesting, b) boring or lacking novelty, or c) an overwhelming challenging – then  attention and focus will be much weaker on the continuum. I’ll go into this more deeply in future articles but take a moment and consider how this relates to your abilities to focus and attend or not.

Distractibility
Two of our more popular distractions are auditory and visual distractions. The auditory distractions are those sounds and noises that tend to challenge our focus and attention. The visual distractions are those things that catch our eye – a movement or visual object that captures our interest and attention. However, the greatest distraction that many of us struggle with is the stimulation of our own mind. Think about it. How often do you find yourself daydreaming or thinking about this or that when you’ve found yourself bored by what is happening in the moment? Obviously, it’s more complicated than this, but this summary will do for now.

The Temperament of  ADD / ADHD Adults
This issue will present what are typically the symptoms of Impulsivity and Hyperactivity. I prefer to reference the work of Thomas Phelan, PhD, who has reframed these symptoms within his definition of the Temperament of the ADD and ADHD adult. The severity of temperament symptoms will of course, vary from one ADD/ADHD adult to another. I prefer to consider the symptoms aligned along a continuum from low to high.

The Temperament of the ‘ADHD Hyperactive’ adult:
The symptoms of this individual are as follows:
 
Restlessness – The physical hyperactivity of children presents as physical/mental restlessness. This may include a shaking/pulsating leg movement, tapping fingers, shifting in the chair and/or general physical restlessness. However, I have also found what I have defined as a “restlessness of spirit”. This is a restlessness and inability to simply “BE” in the moment without wandering physically or mentally.
It may also present as restlessness and boredom with job, tasks or relationships. This can also lead to impulsive decisions and behaviors.
Impatience – Most ADHD adults can easily identify with the feeling of impatience. We dislike lines, we’re impatient with waiting; even the drive-thru of the fast food restaurant is not fast enough. Communication with others may be frustrating; for example, they don’t get to the point of a conversation fast enough.
Irritability – As the impatience grows, it is quickly followed by an underlying yet distinct feeling of irritability. Unlike rage and anger that may be destructive and visible, irritability often remains beneath the surface yet often visible to others.
Impulsivity – In ADHD adults, impulsivity commonly presents as verbal interruptions, inappropriate or untimely comments,  impulsive touching or movements. As stated above this may include the impulsive decision to quit a job or questionable impulsive behaviors. Unfortunately, one of the most common problems for ADHD adults is that of impulsive spending and credit card debt.

The Results of the ‘ADHD’ Temperament
Again referring to the continuum, the results or impact of the ADHD Temperament can be challenging and troubling to the  life of the ADHD adult and to those close to him/her. Results = Core symptoms (Distractibility & Inattention) + ADHD Temperament (Restlessness, Impatience, Irritability, Impulsivity).
Non-compliance – For example, when the ADHD adult is non-compliant with what he/she agreed to do, other people are likely to ‘make-up’ or conclude that [based on the above temperament] the ADHD adult didn’t want to comply, that the non-compliance was intentional. “He would have done it if he’d wanted to”.
Socially – A fair number of ADHD adults may begin to feel socially rejected secondary to the impact on others of their ADHD temperament of impatience, irritability and/or impulsivity. At first the behavior is acceptable but may become overwhelming or disappointing to others after a time.
Disorganization – is very common to ADHD adults. We often find it difficult to organize our home, worksite, and thoughts.  In addition, our social life and relationships may also be challenged.


The Temperament of the ‘Non-Hyperactive’ ADD Adult:
In contrast, let’s now review the temperament of the ADD adult without hyperactive symptoms. The symptoms differ dramatically. Most importantly, these ADD adults lack the Restlessness, Impatience, Irritability and Impulsive symptoms of the hyperactive adult. 
Results of the ADD (Non-hyperactive) Temperament
Non-compliance
– is perceived by others as ‘unintentional’, as innocent forgetfulness. “Oh, she forgot but I’m sure she get that project in soon”. Socially – These adults appear normal. Their temperament does not stand out and they fit in the norm quite well.
Disorganization – is relatively pervasive throughout their lives and challenging, much like the ADHD adult.

The Underactive adult:
In some cases, the ADD adult lacking the hyperactive temperament can be perceived as lethargic or underactive. This means that he/she may be challenged by or perceived as having low motivation or poor at initiating tasks while possibly doing better once the project is started. The results for this adult may at times be more similar to the ADHD adult.

Money management problems of ADD / ADHD adults

Many adults and couples do not realize how ADD/ADHD can impact their money management, and more importantly, their long- term financial planning.  

However, the truth is that the ADD / ADHD symptoms of procrastination, disorganization and impulsivity can interfere with good money management.

AD/HD adults often report the following money management challenges:

  • forget to pay bills 
  • run up huge balances on their credit cards
  • cannot save money
  • are unable to follow through on long-term financial goals
  • shop impulsively
  • have difficulty keeping financial paperwork in order
  • fail at budgeting and recordkeeping.

Personal or family money management can obviously have a devastating impact on your future so it’s important to address this as soon as possible.

  • Ask for help. Consult an accountant or bookkeeper
  • Have someone else keep your books and/or pay your bills.
  • Consult with your local public agency to establish a realistic budget and contact your creditors.
  • Design a realistic and effective plan to pay your bills and address your debt.
  • You might destroy your credit cards and replace them with debit cards from your banking institution. 

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