On Feb. 12, the Chester County / Main Line Organization for Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder [also known as CHADD], held their 10th annual conference called ADHD at Work and in the Classroom.The conference was for all people affected by ADHD including parents, teachers, medical professionals and adults with the disorder. The conference featured a variety of sessions on many different topics including transition from high to college and executive functioning. The keynote speaker of the day was Dr. Patricia Quinn who is an ADHD specialist from Washington DC.
Quinn discussed the effects of ADHD throughout the lifespan. In children the most common symptoms are hyperactivity, aggressiveness, impulsive behavior, getting frustrated easily and underachievement in school which may result in failure. Most of these symptoms carry on into adulthood, resulting in a person having low self-esteem. This can greatly affect a person’s work and personal relationships. Quinn explained that ADHD manifests itself differently depending on the patient.
“The most consistent thing about ADHD is that it is inconsistent,” Dr. Quinn said.
Quinn also stressed that in order to live a productive life with ADHD one must advocate for oneself to get the accommodations they see fit.
“ADHD is not an excuse to get out of something,” she said, “An ADHD friendly life is an uncomplicated one.”
Executive functioning, led by Dr. Ari Tuckman, focused on how certain aspects of brain functions are affected by ADHD and what a person should do to correct them. Some of these functions include working memory, sense of time and emotional self control.
In regard to the transition from high school to college, Dr. Martin Patwell, head of the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities [OSSD], along with West Chester University psychologist Joan Polka, one of the coordinators of the conference, gave a presentation from a professional standpoint on what a student with ADHD should do in order to be successful in preparing for and in college. They suggest that while in high school a student should actively participate in their IEP and 504 meetings, so this way once they arrive at college they are able to articulate their accommodations to their professors and the OSSD. It is their responsibility as a student with a disability to contact the OSSD.
A panel of eight students with disabilities, many of whom are honor students, participated in a question and answer session moderated by Sharon Watson, the assistant director of the OSSD. In the session students discussed the services that OSSD offers including academic coaching, tutoring, student ambassadors and shadow day.
The students determined that in order to accurately prepare for college a high school student should read books on self-advocacy and learn how to articulate their needs. In a college setting a student, should master their advocacy skills and let their friends know how they can be supportive. They encourage students to get involved on campus in any way they can as, long as they are able to manage their time.
The panel determined that the biggest difference from high school to college is the length of class time, the tempo of classes, and testing that encourages students to be very active readers and active learners in general instead of passive. The panel also said that students should be in constant communication with their professors and keep track of their medications in order to be successful college students.
For more information about CHADD visit www.wcupa.edu/CHADD.
Samantha Greenberg is a fourth-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at SG655862@wcupa.edu.