Tagged: #gap year
February 21, 2018 at 8:28 pm #76924
I have an almost 17 year old boy. He’s been somewhat spoiled as an only child. He has adhd, high anxiety, and odd. Last night was the third time that he’s cried in the last couple of years and said he doesn’t want to grow up. He said he can’t handle the stress. He’s a junior in high school so the pressure is definitely on. We’ve told him as long as he continues his education and passing he can stay home if he’s not ready to move out by next year. He has a part time job at a grocery store in hopes he can be a bit more independent. He’s always been a homebody. Hated sleeping away from home even as a tiny tot. I’d get late night phone calls with him crying or as he got older he’d say he needed to be picked up because he had a headache or something. Has anyone else experienced an older teen not wanting to be independent and grow up? Would a college that offers online classes be better for him if he still can’t take the leap?
February 22, 2018 at 4:54 pm #77070
My daughter is a freshman in college, no ADHD diagnosis, but she does have anxiety. She didn’t get her driver’s license until last summer. Had no interest. She has met many fellow freshman at school that have never even had a driving permit. She’s terrified of growing up. It’s bonkers to me. This generation just doesn’t seem as excited about being independent.
Now, ADHD adds another layer to this — it’s a developmental disorder, so our kids with ADHD are 2-3 years behind their neurotypical peers in a lot of ways. They don’t mature as fast.
I know my son (ADHD and ASD diagnoses) will live at home at least 2 years after graduating high school. He plans to go to the community college first. He’s a freshman in high school right now (15) and I’m not sure he’ll even be ready for community college after school. He may need a gap year in order to be really successful at higher learning institutions.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
February 22, 2018 at 6:18 pm #77079
Thank you so much!! I feel somewhat better. My husband has adhd and he went the community college route before going off to university. He keeps telling me our son ought to do the same. Having my very good friend, and next door neighbor, who has two high honor role boys that are just doing fabulous all around has made me feel that my son needs to keep up, but you’re right, it just can’t be. I need to stop comparing him to others that don’t have this disorder. I need to be ok with saying my son is off to community college rather than a four-year college straight from high school. I think if I am at peace with that then there’ll be a whole lot of pressure off my son and he won’t be as stressed out. He did ask me if he could wait a year before going to college. What concerns me with a gap year that you mentioned is that it may be harder for him to get motivated to study again. Do you worry about that at all? My son has a very clear sight on what he wants to do career-wise so maybe it would be the drive to get him to go to community college after a year’s break.
Thank you SO much for taking the time to write me an answer. I am so much more at peace knowing the community college route after high school is better for a lot of the less-mature adhd-ers out there. Thanks again!
February 26, 2018 at 9:46 am #77229
Exactly! You cannot compare your child to same-age peers when you child has ADHD. What works for others may not work for your child, and vice-versa. The sooner you throw out traditional, age-appropriate expectations, the better your entire family will be. That alone will reduce the stress a great deal. That includes seeing and accepting who your child really is, and where they are today, in this moment — I call it honoring your child’s truth. It’s vital for kids with ADHD.
If your son really is very clear and driven about his future year, a gap year may not be as much of a challenge as you see it. I always through it would be too hard to get kids to go back to school after a gap year. Now, I realize that some kids really need that extra year to mature and learn lagging skills that will be required for success in higher education. A gap year can even boost confidence, another trait that really helps in college.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
March 7, 2018 at 4:21 pm #78320
My son is 24 has ADHD, OCD, and Aspergers. He also doesn’t want to leave home. There are so many things he doesn’t know how to navigate. In my province there are little to no support for him. Beacause of the Aspergers he is about 6-7 years behind his peers. If anyone knows of good articles on how to transition an adult child to independent or semi-independent living I would love to read them. I have ADD too, so life is always interesting at home. My son needs stucture and I am hopless at providing it.
March 7, 2018 at 9:41 am #78178
My oldest had some of the same issues. He was a total homebody. He went to a sleepover birthday. He was so upset he got sick and I had to pick him up. He was only three houses away. He didn’t want his drivers license. Finally talked him into it at 17. He didn’t want to go away to school, but he did go to community college. He was very smart but hated school. He was working for me before he left for the first time at 22. He is 28 now and on his second enlistment as a marine. Be supportive and understanding.
I have read so many things that talk about the delayed maturity with ADHD and it is absolutely true. My grandmother, father, myself, brothers and all three sons have ADHD and have all been on a delayed flight path. Because I have recognized it in myself and taken steps, my youngest will be the biggest beneficiary. But I knew that we were different and helped pass on my coping skills.
March 7, 2018 at 10:06 am #78186
I was only diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety disorder at the age of 35 (a couple of years ago), and I have to say that your son sounds an awful lot like me at his age. I practically panicked when I tried to think about “what next” as I neared high school graduation. When I got accepted to a local college, I felt relieved because I didn’t have to go far, and it gave me something to focus on.
That said… I should have taken a “gap year” or two, lived at home and worked and matured a bit more before starting college. I wasn’t really mature enough yet or focused enough to be really successful, and living on campus (even so close to home) meant that I also had the huge social pressure of trying to get used to a new living environment too quickly with a bunch of a**holes to deal with at the same time. I nearly flunked out my first semester. I was so stressed out that I was sick constantly, and my entire first year I struggled terribly with being on-time for class.
Working through a gap year or two would have helped me prepare for a lot of that, and also made me appreciate the opportunity and purpose of college better. After I managed to graduate, I worked a year in retail because the economy slumped and jobs dried up for new graduates like myself and the field I studied to go into shrank by about 2/3 and “entry level” positions wanted 5+ years of prior experience.
After a year of dealing with retail hell almost full-time, I went back to school to get into a field with better work opportunities. I lived at home, finally got my Driver’s License (the anxiety of that responsibility had kept me back… but being able to drive for extra time with my mom helped make that go away, and then it was just anxiety about the test itself), and actually did MUCH better in school that time around because I was ready for it. I pulled a C average in my first BA, and maintained B+/A average in my second BA… I was far more timely, and my assignments (while not perfect) were more complete and usually on time.
My advice is… don’t rush him, but do push him a little. He’s not so much “afraid of growing up” as he is anxious and overwhelmed about a process he doesn’t know anything about. Hindsight really is 20/20, but he doesn’t have that reference yet. I would let him take a gap year, or a modified gap year where he still takes one or two core classes a semester at a local community college. Most colleges will accept transfer credits for things like Freshman English Comp, and you can confirm that ahead of time. This way he doesn’t lose his “academic skills” but gets a chance to get used to a more self-propelled atmosphere.
It’s not so much the “spoiled only child” issue.. it’s our K-12 school format in general. Students are tracked through their paths and super monitored as society has asked them to, but the downside is less independence and self-confidence. Also… college is DAMN overwhelming. I loved college deeply, but god is was hard! Even after I was fully graduated, mom allowed me to stay home when I couldn’t find good enough employment to move out on my own yet. Even without my diagnosis, she already knew that I needed a bit of extra time, and support.
Hell… I *still* need the extra support. Sometimes I still need help from my fiance to remember to do important life tasks and chores, or help waking up in the morning or remembering to “un-plug” at night and go to bed at a reasonable hour. ADHD isn’t just developmental… it’s a neurological condition many of us will have to cope with and work around our entire lives. I used to get so depressed and almost hate myself because I couldn’t seem to just “grow up”, until I started seeing a good councilor. Basically, I *am* grown up. I’m just odd, different, and have unique challenges that are different from the kinds “normal” people deal with. But most of all, he’s helped me to understand that all of that is OK. That I don’t need to feel anxiety or shame over my challenges.
I feel somewhat envious of your son, but mostly I feel relief and happiness for him. His ADHD and anxiety are already known, and honestly that is half the battle. I’m so happy to hear that he won’t have to struggle on his own without any answers for almost 20 years like I had to. He gets the chance to shape his adult life around his gifts, rather than puzzle out what his problems are. And there are many gifts that come with ADHD and even anxiety which can teach us compassion for others.
If he isn’t sure what he would like to study or do, there are apprenticeship or paid volunteer work he could do to try out an area of industry. I did two years in the AmeriCorps and it had been an awesome experience. You can earn school money too through them. They also have resident programs where the volunteers live on site. It could be a good opportunity for him and give him an idea of what living on a college campus is like. There are summer programs he can do as a high school student as well.
Sorry that I wrote a veritable book here… but I hope at least some of it was helpful for you and your son. 🙂
March 7, 2018 at 1:37 pm #78278
@cindy D – I almost cried in relief reading your story. I am 38 and I was becoming seriously convinced that I was the only one who took the route that you described. Just wanted to say I fully agree with Cindy and her perspective/input. I lived an almost identical life in the general life steps that she describes.
Also, re: the OP. I was always told/read that my ADHD (inattentive, Non-hyper) took more like 4 yrs off of a neurotypical developement. I found that to be fairly accurate in my lif, readiness and ability to adapt. If you consider a 17yr old to actually be 13 or 14, you may understand his reservations a bit. Life has expectations that not everyone experiences at the time that others feel they ought to. Deviate from the norm a bit in order to support your child. It’s ok if he takes a little longer as long as he isn’t just a couch potatoe, and contributes toward progressing his life and to your household in the meantime.
That may just be me though. My opinion only.
March 7, 2018 at 1:45 pm #78282
It might help to remember the Rule Of Three when it comes to ADHd.
The adolescent ADHD brain,(some would say adult brains as well!), is functioning about 1/3 younger than its chronological age in terms of “maturity”. A 17 year old, no matter how brilliant, is really a 12-13 year old in disguise! Few 13 year olds would feel ready to fly the coop, some are downright terrified at the prospect, and rightly so. “Launching” timelines are highly arbitrary and individual. When your son feels ready, there’ll be no holding him back. It just might not happen for a few years yet.
Meanwhile, enjoy having a kid around who actually wants to be with you. You’ll miss that when it’s gone, promise. “Extended” adolescence can be a gift of time most parents don’t get.
March 7, 2018 at 1:45 pm #78284
My son is 17 and a senior in high school. He is diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety and depression. I know that he needs to keep living at home until he makes a decision about what he wants to do with his life. I told him to take his time, graduate high school, get a job and come up with a plan. I think he is feeling the pressure to figure it all out now and it is causing him undue stress. I knew years ago that he would need to be home longer than most children. And he will probably return home several times after he has moved out. I think the best path for him is to take a gap year or two with just a job. He has never even had a real job before. I have tried to keep his life as stress free as I could and maybe I spoiled him too much. Either way, I did the best I could do for him at the time and all I can do is hope for the best for the future!
March 7, 2018 at 1:50 pm #78287
Hi Trish, he is 16 and you can’t really do much in this world until your mid 20s so don’t worry. I would say give him as many hugs as you can for as long as he needs them and he will be better adapted for it. In pioneer days he would probably be married with kids and you would be a senior citizen, enjoy this life. Peace.
March 7, 2018 at 2:01 pm #78295
Yes… This was me 10 years ago. I’m now in my late twenties and am a IT security engineer… I’d say its possible for kids with adhd to be successful adults, in my case, it just took a few years longer to work it out. Just encourage your son and let him know that the pressure he feels to grow up is natural, but for people with adhd, we just need more guidance, time, and support. Don’t worry…there is a difference between babying your son and supporting him. In my case, my parents were too screwed up to get me the help I needed, so I had no choice but to figure it all out on my own. Your son is lucky to have you. Community college is not just cheaper, but really good for adhd kids to gradually get used to more responsibility. Also encourage him to take unpaid internships if you guys can afford to supplement the money from the grocery store job. The key with the internship is it should be in line with what he thinks he will be good at and see himself doing for a living. In my case, that was with computers. The thing thats going to help your son here is confidence. Living with ADHD is a confidence killer unless you ave outlets that you can literally see how awesome you are or can be. Help him find his way in this world as an adult. The school system sucks at doing that so you end up graduating with no plan. Hes going to be fine honestly. He just needs some confidence and to know sincerely that you are not judging him, you believe in him, you are on his aide, and that you understand that his adhd makes his path into adulthood a little longer and thats totally fine. In fact, if I’m going to be honest, my adhd is still hard for me at times but somehow ive managed to out earn and out work most of my peers from highschool. Go figure. Make the difference for him and then watch him soar.
March 7, 2018 at 2:10 pm #78300
My son is now 20. He too has done the crying “I don’t want to grow up” thing as well. He is ADHD and has severe anxiety and OCD and a learning diability. During his junior year of HS he told me he never thought about going to college. In factm he said he never even envisioned what his life would be after HS. He did apply to and was accepted in several colleges but elected to attend a local college and live at home. He struggled his first year of college, although maintained an A average. He wasn’t \making friends (due to his social anxiety) and his OCD was preventing him from staying on stop of his school work. He took 2 quarters off from school to get treatment for his anxiety. He hopes to go back in the spring while continuing his treatment. His anxieties have prevented him from getting a job or learning to drive. But he does take Uber/Lyft and is about to learn to use public transportation. I’ve told him that as long as he is in school or working, he can stay at home. He is responsible for his own chores (laundry, calling in refills for his meds, etc.), helps around the house and is a very good, helpful kid. Generally kids with ADHD are several years behind in maturity and many are not able to go off on their own when their chronolocical peers do. I try to keep that in mind when I think about his future. I believe he will get there, it will just take him a lot more time and a lot more effort on his part and understanding on mine. And it goes withouyt saying that he needs treatment for his anxieties to learn to manage them and he needs to learn how to take care of himself and work toward independence. My younger son is nearly 15 (a freshman in HS) and while he too has ADHD, he does not have the anxieties my 20 year old has. He can’t wait to drive and leave home. In some ways he is more mature than my older son (at least more confidant) but his independece skills are lacking. At least I know what we need to work on these next few years. Its hard to watch our sons cry and be so afraid of their future. Give your son time, reassure him that you will be there for him, make sure he receives treatment for his anxieties and maybe some life skills classes.
March 7, 2018 at 2:59 pm #78314
I see so much of myself in your post. I was watching relative’s kids excelling and feeling sad that my kid isn’t on that path. We looked at four year schools, but then his school counselors (great people in a huge high school) told me that they thought he would be too lonely if he went away to school. He enrolled in community college and got an Associates’ Degree. Then he went away to a four year school. The first year went okay…but half way through the second year he just cratered. He told us later that he just didn’t want to be there. He came home, got a retail job and has been working for the last eight months. The best part of this change period? He is upbeat. He smiles. We ask him to share his experiences in the store when he comes home. He is gaining confidence and that’s a wonderful thing. I was hoping he would go back and finish school next fall. Lately, I’ve decided that we shouldn’t push him into that. As noted by others in this thread, he’ll do better when he makes the decision to go back. He also won’t waste time in a major that isn’t necessarily the one he wants. So many people these days finish one degree, work for a while, then go back for another degree to do what they really want to. He is just going through that process earlier than some do. It will save on education costs in the long run.
March 7, 2018 at 4:28 pm #78323
Hi Trish, like so many others in this discussion, I’m experiencing very similar problems to yours, with our 18-year-old son. We have been told a variation on the Rule of Three….that is that kids with ADHD are two or three years behind, socially and emotionally. Well that is very true over here; our son had high-functioning Autism, ADHD and anxiety and OCD to a certain degree. He is a senior in high school and we have looked at a variety of schools, from big and small mainstream to highly supportive schools, some created especially for kids with LD (learning differences). In recent months we have been zooming in on two options: one is a college-transition program with 75 or so students, a residential program where you take some college classes but also college-prep, study-skills, life skills classes. There is a high degree of supervision, and academic and social skills support.
The second option is a very small college (350 students!) specifically for LD kids, where, in a very small number of majors/minors, you can get both Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees. Unlike your son, our son is not driven or focused and is reluctant to pursue healthier patterns of study and self-care…although he IS making some progress. It’s just very slow. He is more concerned with “why” he is this way than how he can cope with it. Like I said, making progress but slow and not always steady.
So I was thinking that you might possibly check into a program like one of these, in case you decide you want something different than the community college route. That is a very good way to start, of course! It’s just that some kids need even more structure and support to find their “drive”, and in our case, his staying at home and taking some classes would seem to only support the rut he is in as far as not taking some responsibilty for maturing. These types of schools may be able to fill the gap between the security of high school and the independence required for ‘mainstream’-type colleges. Maybe you could Google “academic support colleges” for your state or buy “The K & W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Differences”…my 13th edition is by Marybeth Kravets and Imy Wax. It’s a fairly comprehensive guide to LD schools for every US state.
To address your question about online college, I guess at least in our case…that would create NO reason for our son to go out and learn with real people. He has significant social issues with making friends and hanging out in the real, physical world. For us, we need to get him somewhere where caring, targeted support is given, and some significant nudges! Best of luck and like all the other parents said, your kid needs more time because his brain isn’t ready…YET. It will be! And from the number of responses, he’ll have lots of company!
March 7, 2018 at 5:43 pm #78353
Oh my goodness! I didn’t know this was a thing! My daughter is 17 and a half, a senior. It started when she was about to turn 4. She made it known, quite adamantly, that she did NOT want to turn 4!!! Despite my attempt to turn things around by saying that NOT turning 4 would mean no birthday presents, or the big “Look who’s 4” button she refused to wear, she was adamant! There was no convincing her. Well, nothing has changed. She started her period at 13. You would have thought the world had ended. She was so upset and knew that meant she was growing up. Her older sister had started at 10 and it was fine for her. I kept holding my breath, hoping it wouldn’t be that early for the younger because I knew the world WOULD end! I’m so thankful it wasn’t until 13, but…the world almost ended. She has always refused sleep-overs and invites to friend’s houses, much-preferring friends to come here. She has major anxiety and depression as co-morbid conditions with her ADD. Even the family vacation to Texas a couple summers ago, brought tears daily as she asked to “just go home.” That “rule of thirds” makes so much sense! Despite her popularity with adults and peers, I’m not sure she will ever leave home or be able to handle more than 1 or 2 college classes at a time.
- This reply was modified 6 months, 3 weeks ago by gwynnehoffecker.
March 7, 2018 at 6:01 pm #78359
ADD Coach CandaceParticipant
Well the good news is that the rule of 3, (which includes taking 3 times longer for us to complete EVERYTHING), “grows” with us, although we adults of the ADHD persuasion tend to be “young at heart” most of our lives. :> Meaning that when kids hit 30, it’s like they’re in their early 20’s, tackling what young adults of that age take on.
My kids lived at home until their late 20’s, but within a couple years of leaving home they left us in the dust with their accomplishments. The trick is to keep their self esteem intact while providing a safe, non-judgmental harbour, with supports where asked for.
More good news, when someone earns a degree, nobody says, “Yah but how many courses did you take at one time to GET that degree, huh!?”
Truth is, 2 or 3 courses at a time is often an ideal load for students with ADHD.
March 7, 2018 at 6:07 pm #78360
I couldn’t agree more, Candace. At age 54, I am often told I could not possibly be “that old”. I tell them I attribute it to the “deer in the headlights” expression that’s always on my face! I truly matured later because of my ADHD. And yes, my 18 year old son got his ADHD (and possibly Autism traits) honestly…from me and/or my side of the family. I like the idea of a lighter case load, I am sure that will be best for our son in college too. Thank you.
March 7, 2018 at 11:21 pm #78370
I am reading a book called “iGen – Why today’s super-connected kids are growing up less rebellious, more tolerant, less happy, and completely unprepared for adulthood.” No joke, that’s the name of the book.
March 7, 2018 at 11:23 pm #78371
March 8, 2018 at 5:52 pm #78463
I will preface my response by saying I do not have kids and that my remarks are from my memories of being that age now that I am in my late-forties.
When I was 15, I realized I did not want to live past age 30. Clearly I have, but I digress. Part of my experience with ADHD (diagnosed after 40) is constantly watching, analyzing and thinking about people and situations to try to figure out how to fit in. My observations of adults at that age in 1985 was that adult life sucked. What I saw was a life of work, work, work, struggle, disappointment and frustration ahead of me. I was emotionally insecure, un-organized and had no sense of direction. Being a teen on the cusp of having to become an adult is very scary. Compound that with ADHD and now, with a constant barrage of information, political divisiveness, sexual identity issues, terrorism/shootings here and abroad to grapple with and the threat that if you go to college you will come out with an entry level job and crushing debt, it is hard to believe any child wants to step out into the world.
Your child has many more resources and people available to assist them in the transition than I did. Use them to the fullest extent you can. Be honest with them in that life is not easy and that they are going to have to work and save and work to get anything they want in life.
My ADHD is mild, I went to college, got kicked out, worked for a few years in menial jobs, struggled, went back to college, made bad decisions, married, changed majors 4 times, got divorced, joined the military, took a semester off, remarried, took a semester off, graduated in 6 yrs, worked and struggled my way up through various jobs, spent 12 honorable years in the service and have since become successful by most American standards. I found a job that I fit into. I am still unorganized and have no sense of life direction.
My success is because I was lucky to find people along the way to help me when I needed it and who tolerated my idiosyncrasies. Free psych counselors in college helped at times. Supportive instructors took me under their wing because I craved knowledge and I let them. I had a supportive family who didn’t always agree with my decisions, but let me make them, celebrating in my successes and were there to help when things didn’t work out so well. Luckiest of all I married a person who is more stable, financially practical and forgiving than I am. If not for her I would be living in van down by the river, but probably be OK with that.
Many kids are scared heading out into the world. Some show it more than others. Some will figure out a way to make it work. Some will need more help and take a bit longer to figure it out. I still haven’t. I just do what I do because it works. I still seek therapy when I need it.
Kids spend alot of time trying to figure out how they are supposed to live and act based on watching what they perceive as the successes of others, they need to figure out what works for them and make the best of it. As they get into their early 20s they will remember then things you taught them and the light will start to come on. The right meds, quality counseling and family support will all help make that happen.
Life is not easy in the best of times, sometimes you just have to chase the squirrels and see what happens.
All the best.
March 9, 2018 at 9:18 am #78512
This comment thread couldn’t come at a better time! I’m dealing with many of the same issues with my 18-year-old senior who has ADHD (in a big way), along with some anxiety and oppositional traits. The twist with him is that he insists he wants to leave home and go to college. That would be fine, but he has never been able to stay on top of his schoolwork. Like, at all. He’s been tolerating school, miserably, for 12 years. He’s smart and capable, but unmotivated. He’s not really able to connect the goal (getting good grades so you get into college) with doing the boring homework or writing the paper for English. That’s really a maturity thing. My hope is that with time and life experience, he will have a better idea of what he wants to do when he does go to college, and that will help him power through the boring parts. Right now, if he goes to college it’s safe to say he’s not going to manage it well. It’s kind of a set up for failure.
I’m in the weird position of trying to gently introduce the idea of doing something besides going off to college. That’s almost heresy in the community we live in. Most – seems like all – of his classmates are on the college path, and the social pressure is intense. The school he attends doesn’t really acknowledge that some kids aren’t ready, or may want to do something different. Those kids usually go away to college, get overwhelmed and struggle, and come back home after the first semester/year. They end up living at home and attending the university in town, which is what they should have done in the first place. I’d like him to avoid that whole thing, and the sense of failure that comes with it.
We came up with five options for next year:
1-Full-time school, most likely the community college, live at home. Must earn at least Cs, and manage getting yourself to class on time, etc.
2-Full-time job, live at home, take responsibility for car insurance, phone bill, etc.
3-Part-time job plus part-time school – try some college-level classes.
4-Vocational training, possibly graphic design course (he’s got a knack for it)
5-Some sort of gap-year program. Would love him to try AmericaCorp.
Just yesterday, I “presented” him with these, emphasizing that ANY of them would be a great choice. Basically, the only option he doesn’t have is to spend half the day laying in bed watching Netflix. He was insistent that he will go to school full-time, but (and this could be wishful thinking) he seemed happier and lighter after our conversation. He was talkative! I’m just hoping that on some level he gets that it’s okay to take a different route, and that his parents are supportive and proud regardless.
If you read this whole thing, thank you! It helps me to write it out as all this swirls around in my brain and stresses me out. He’s such a good kid and I really hate seeing him stressed and pressured. I’d love for him to just take a break from school and branch out, live a little.
March 9, 2018 at 11:10 am #78542
DanaB, it sounds like you presented a well-thought-out set of options for him, that’s great! Your guy sounds a lot like our guy, except our guy is not so wild about leaving hoe because he doesn’t want anything to change (autism/routine-y). But we are in a rut and something has to change-up for him to approach things differently. They ARE good kids and we will help them as they mature, more slowly but they will get there!
March 9, 2018 at 9:36 am #78514
I learned from John Wilson at SOAR that there are great non-traditional college programs out there. These programs focus on the degree entirely, without requiring student to take the liberal arts foundations, like math, English, science, foreign language, etc. That means they’re in classes of interest to them, which will help them do better and be more motivated. Full Sail in Florida is the example I know of off the top of my head. These programs are expensive, but failing many semesters could cost a lot more in the end.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Trainer on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
March 9, 2018 at 3:06 pm #78643
Theoretically, that school sounds wonderful! But the reality is that she would never be willing to go 1000 miles away to go to any college. I can’t see her going to school anywhere that she had to board. The only option I can think of is going somewhere and renting an apartment, leaving my husband at home to continue working, and let her attend the college. Financially, that is not possible. But even if it was an option, I wouldn’t be willing to do it. There has to be a better way.
March 14, 2018 at 1:48 pm #78971
Hi, I’m the mother of a 22-year-old son with ADD inattentive, and I can relate very well to much of what has been written here! It has been a long struggle — and I know there are still big challenges ahead — but my son is on track to graduate from college this year! In all honesty I don’t think higher education was a great fit for him — he has told me more than once that he didn’t want to go to college. But we really didn’t have much choice, because we are US citizens living in France, and once my son turned 18 he no longer had the right to continue living here unless he was enrolled in school. The idea of putting him on a plane to the US to live on his own seemed even worse than struggling through college — and yes, he did struggle, his grades haven’t been great and when he tried going away to the US for college it was a total disaster, he dropped out after a few weeks and never went back. Finally he found a program in international tourism management at a French university, which takes advantage of his good social skills and his gift for foreign languages. He’s about to leave for a work-study program with an international hotel chain in St. Petersburg, Russia. I’m SO SO SO proud of him. And having finished higher education here, he’s eligible for French citizenship, which solves his residency issues.
March 14, 2018 at 2:53 pm #78982
Fortuna33, so interesting to read your son’s story. It’s difficult to know how much pressure to place on kids, and in your situation you didn’t have much choice. While he did struggle in college, he ultimately found something he was suited to (with your help of course!). That’s what we are all hoping for!
- This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by DanaB.
March 15, 2018 at 6:08 am #79003
Hi DanaB — Raising a child with ADD is terribly difficult in France because the educational system here is still in the dark ages about it. I literally had teachers tell me they “didn’t believe in ADD,” and even well-meaning teachers and administrators were clueless. In all his years of schooling there was only one teacher — a math teacher — who was willing to give even minor accommodations on tests. His biggest problem is information processing, and most of his courses required essay-writing which was enormously challenging — but through trial and error we came up with some tools that worked pretty well, and he finished high school with good grades and SAT scores, and was able to pass the French baccalaureat exam which is required to attend university here. That was the positive side — the negative was the conflict this created in our relationship, as I stayed on his back constantly and insisted he get tutoring in subjects where I couldn’t help. It was a huge battle, exhausting for both of us. Maybe it was a mistake — but on the other hand it was necessary for him to be able to remain in France which is where he wants to live — and if he didn’t have the intelligence to succeed academically, nothing I could have done would have mattered. During his college years I have taken a big step back and let him take responsibility. It’s been a mixed bag, has taken him 5 years to get through what ordinarily should take only 3 years — some semesters were total wipeouts, but as they say there has been progress, not perfection.
March 15, 2018 at 8:41 am #79005
I’ve really enjoyed reading all these answers. It’s given me some hope and ideas. We’ll definitely get him to go to community college and lighten up his workload initially. After high school next year we’ll allow him to start community college in the spring rather than the fall just so he can take a breather and regroup. He’s been wanting to do Game Development for a long time so that’s what he wants his major to be once he transfers to a four-year college. During his break between high school and community college he’ll take a course or two at private institutions in an area of game dev.
Now, it’s a matter of helping him to ensure he graduates. He’s a bright kid, but has zero motivation nor studies and it’s hit or miss whether he turns in homework. When he does study, which is rare, he gets phenomenal grades. He keeps a 100 GPA in his game dev. class though which is his passion. Each year he scrapes by without the need of summer school or repeating and each year I’m a nervous wreck and a crazed woman as I’m constantly on at him. If I left him to his own devices I’m sure he’d flunk.
It’s been reassuring to read that other parents have had similar situations and their kids are on the right path. This too shall pass, right?
Thanks so much for the stories and advice. Can’t begin to tell you all how much it’s helped me!
March 15, 2018 at 12:20 pm #79019
Trish64, I identify with every word! We just found out this morning that my son did not get into the school that was his top choice. The only school he was accepted to is out-of-state, and we can’t let him take on that kind of student debt, so it’s not really possible. I feel badly for him, but also know he is in no way ready for that step. It’s going to take him some time to accept that he doesn’t have a “going away to college” option. He does have the option of community college, then transferring to a 4-year school, but he’s not happy with doing it that way.
Fortuna33, sounds like there is more acceptance of ADD here in the states, but it’s a recent development, where I live anyway. I couldn’t get extra help for my senior when he was younger, because his grades were good. But that was only because I was coordinating with his teachers to get his work done! Looking back, I should have let him fail so the school would have a reason to help. I can’t be too hard on myself though…I just didn’t understand that. By the time his grades dropped enough to get the school’s attention, around 9th grade, the social stigma had kicked in. He refused any sort of extra help, anything that made him different from his friends. Sometimes I feel guilty for not just forcing it anyway, but he was quite clear he would not cooperate. He never needed extra time on tests, or tutoring. The thing that benefits him most is checking in with a teacher everyday so that he stays on top of his work. Last year, when he failed some classes, we were able draft a teacher to do that each day, on the down-low. It really did help. This year he has again refused to check in with the teacher, and again his grades have dropped. It’s so clear he benefits from that check-in, but he refuses to acknowledge it. His pride is so frustrating! I think for him to be successful at the college level, he will need that sort of accommodation. I can’t imagine him agreeing to it though. 🙁
I think it’s so difficult to know how much to push them, help them, or stand back and let them have feel the consequences. Especially with the complication of ADD and other issues. I feel like I’m just winging it! My hope is that if we have our kid’s best interest in mind (which we do!), that we will end up in a good place.
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