College Prep: How a Parent Should Help

College-bound ADHD teens need a crash course in managing meds, staying organized, and keeping it together for class. Parental planning could make the difference between passing and failing.


Filed Under: ADHD and College, Teens and Tweens with ADHD, ADHD Parents, ADHD Medication and Children

Plan Ongoing School Accommodations for the Easiest Academic Transition

Has your son or daughter needed accommodations or special services in high school? Do these services address ADHD (often listed as Other Health Impairment)? Does he also need help for Learning Disabilities?

> Seek out accommodating schools. Choose a college that offers a full range of services and accommodations. When you make your first visit to the college, to see if your son likes it, meet with someone in the Office of Disability Services and discuss the accommodations, in class and out, he will need. This will indicate whether the college can provide the services.

> Get services in writing. After your son is accepted, plan a longer visit with someone in disability services. Bring all of the necessary documentation -- your teen's IEP or 504 Plan, as well as any psycho-educational testing results. Determine what your child needs and get it in writing that the school can and will provide it. If services in high school worked well, try to get the same kinds of help in college.

> Make sure accommodations are implemented. Talk with your daughter about what she should do if one of her professors doesn't implement the agreed-upon services. If your daughter misses a tutoring session or other remedial help that has been scheduled, decide how you will handle it. You can ask the disability office to contact your teen if she doesn't show up. You can be notified as well, as long as your daughter signs a release form. If the disability office is understaffed and can’t track your daughter's schedule, work out a plan with her, so that you know what's happening before her grades begin to plummet.

> Manage coexisting conditions. Many students with ADHD also have social or emotional problems, such as anxiety disorder or depression. Your teen may be in therapy or taking medication for one of these conditions. Discuss with him what kind of help he will need at college. Should he see someone regularly at Student Mental Health Services, or follow up during holiday breaks with his doctor or therapist at home? He may be able to arrange phone sessions with his therapist at home, as well.

Next: Anticipate Organizational Challenges

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