Ask the Experts

Q: Do I Let My ADHD Teen Fail Out of College?

College students with ADHD are more likely than their colleagues to fail a course or drop out of university. Why? The problem is rarely academic; it is almost always weak executive functioning skills and an inability to plan, organize, and execute independently. Here is how parents can help.

Listen to “The Social Lives of Boys with ADHD”

Q: “My 19-year-old son with ADHD will not turn in (online) assignments or will submit blank pages. I have started monitoring his work and due dates to no avail. He does tell me he has submitted work but does not. He has failed many of his classes in college because of this. Do I let him fail and learn the hard way? He doesn’t seem bothered by this.”

A: “Every year, I see a new group of guys who went off to college who are home by November or who made it though their first semester but failed everything. The reason is never because they couldn’t handle the academic workload or because they weren’t capable; it’s because they lacked independence and their parents acted as their executive functioning their whole life, so when they went to college they weren’t ready for that level of responsibility.”

Ryan Wexelblatt, LCSW is the facilitator of the ADHD Dude Facebook Group and YouTube channel. Ryan specializes in working with males (ages 5-22) who present with ADHD, anxiety with ADHD, and learning differences; he is the one professional in the United States who specializes in teaching social cognitive skills to boys from a male perspective.

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