One year out of high school – very challenging –

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    • #50413

      My 20 year old son was diagnosed with ADHD in 5th grade. My wife and I struggled with different therapists and medication strategies for years. His high school years were very challenging but he did well on his ACT, which was a highlight.

      After graduating in June 2016, he refused to work all summer and frankly did not really do anything. He went to an out of state public university, had a counselor, had accommodations, and the university had a good resource center that he apparently never utilized. He also had his medicine but decided not to take last fall. Not surprisingly he was not successful on the academic side of the equation.

      Upon receipt of his dismal grades, we withdrew him from the four year school and he came back home and enrolled into the local junior college. He is visiting with an LCSW and is just now starting back on some ADHD medication. My wife and I see a difference when he takes his medication and when he does not – not as impulsive, able to stay on task, not as moody, etc. While we are waiting to receive his spring semester junior college grades, he is reporting that his grades will be excellent. We are keeping our fingers crossed!!

      Additionally, he is lined up to work at a restaurant for the summer, which we think will provide him some self-confidence. Our biggest frustration is that he spends an inordinate amount of time in his room, looking at his smartphone and reading/researching various issues – current news, different historic periods, and various religions. While it is great that he knows a lot about various topics and issues, he does not socialize at all and does not take good care of himself in terms of physical activity.

      We are hoping and praying that having a full time job this summer, taking his medicine on a consistent basis, and continued visits with the LCSW will get him (and us) to a better place by the end of the summer. I assume that many other parents on this forum have very similar stories? Would be interested in comments, reactions, and any success stories from other parents.

    • #50425

      I want to reassure you that information seeking is a very common form of self-medication for ADHD. I do it myself, and overall I think it helps rather than hurts. You can use it as scaffolding to expand his horizons — encourage him to do it outside in the yard (sunshine helps) or in a coffee shop or a bookstore (extra browsing!). You can also give him something specific to research, something that benefits you (doesn’t have to be big — what TV should we get? what’s a good restaurant for Indian food? etc.). A bit of acknowledgment and a feeling of usefulness can go far.

      I also had a rocky start at the university, until I realized the “university diet” was a big problem for me. I really need protein at every meal, and a candy bar or alcohol on an empty stomach would send me in a tailspin. Maybe that’s an area you can help him with.

    • #50432

      I’m in a similar situation as your son. I graduated the same time your son did, but I wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until a few months ago. I didn’t do much the summer before I started college because I needed to mentally prepare for it. My mom got mad at me for watching too much Netflix, and not getting a job. I wasn’t trying to be lazy, I just couldn’t find the motivation to do the things she wanted me to do. This could be the reason he’s spending so much time in his room. I also went to a 4-year college out of state, and my grades weren’t that good last semester, I failed a class. The classes I did the worst in were the ones I didn’t like. I also let some people that were spontaneous and fun to be around but not necessarily concerned with doing well distract me. I’m doing much better this semester and I’m at the same college but taking classes I’m more interested in. The point is that he needs to be doing things he enjoys in order to do well at them. He might just be recharging when he’s in his room. I know I need lots of alone time or I start getting frustrated at the people around me for no reason. Otherwise, it might be like me with Netflix, I don’t realize how much time I’m spending on it and I can go all day with it only feeling like an hour. Socializing is really hard with ADHD, be patient with that. Does he try? Also it sounds like you got it under control but he might have forgot about the meds while he was out of state. I know I forget to do things all the time, even if they’re already a habit or I wrote a note to do it, or he might not like the way the meds make him feel. They can come with some really bad side effects.

    • #50443
      Penny Williams

      I second the advice from @Lys — his thirst for reading and knowledge is not a bad thing. Use that interest to get him active in other ways. Interest = Motivation for the ADHD brain.

      Secrets of Your ADHD Brain

      Remember too, though, that social struggles are very common for individuals with ADHD and they often avoid social situations because of it. If you can get him involved in something he’s passionate about outside the home, he can meet like-minded people and that will ease the social awkwardness. Ultimately, he has to want to do this, as he’s an adult.

      A job for the summer could really help him practice social skills and build confidence. Just make sure it’s not too far out of his comfort zone. Too much stress will make matters worse, not better.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

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