Monday, April 11, 2011

ADHD, College, and Drugs

One by one, students approach my professor handing in their completed tests. I think, "How could they be done already?" I am just now at the half-way point. The whole class knows that we will start the lecture as soon as I complete my test. I am the last one. . . The questions on the page start to go in and out of focus. I can literally hear the motor in the clock on the wall. It’s ironic that everyone is trying to be quiet around me, but I am hearing a cacophony of sounds. Sniffing, clearing throats, whispers, shuffling through paperwork and footsteps in the hall. Isn’t there a pill that fixes this? I try not to look up. I know I am getting stares from those ready to move on. They must be thinking, “What’s taking him so long?” The pressure builds; I am tempted to just turn in the unfinished test… I can’t concentrate anyway so what is the point? This is just a small window into the daily life of a person with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). ADHD is one of many obstacles students may face when running through the gauntlet of the education process. Could you have a learning disability and not know it?

Director of Disability Services Kathy Sowell and her staff have been instrumental in empowering Vol State students to succeed. “People often think the only persons in society with disabilities are those in a wheelchair, a blind individual with a cane, or someone with a hearing aid, but it really covers a lot more. In fact, I would say that probably 85 percent of the students registered here in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) program have what we call hidden disabilities.”

“You have to be cautious about diagnosing yourself.” Said Sowell, “Talking to a family doctor is always a good way to start the process. Do some research, the National Institute of Health, and CHADD are good places to start.”

Student Andrew Huckeby was diagnosed with ADHD fourteen years ago. He says that in his case he did not feel a negative stigma associated with taking medicine. Now that he is in college, he shares some of the tips that have helped him to be successful. “You have to write everything down”, said Huckeby. “Keep a pen and paper with you at all times. I took medicine just during school hours and it was fine. One of the best classes I ever took was Learning Strategies, it helped me to organize, use folders, and do a lot of other stuff that just works. I loved the class. It’s one of the best things I ever did.”

The class Huckeby is referring to is now called College Success. You can locate the times for this course at this link. Start by selecting your term, for subject select College Success and the campus of your choice, this will give you all available listings for this class.

"We are excited that this class now counts as a college level class," said Terry Bubb, director of the Advising Center. "Check with your advisor to see if you can apply it to your major. Even if it does not pertain to your major, the skills learned will help in every area of your education.”

Vol State psychology instructor Mary Beth Scott has vast experience in helping people with ADHD. She is familiar with the latest information about the challenges parents, students, and teachers face when dealing with an education plan for those with learning disabilities. “More often than not, ADHD kids are gifted, but you need to help them to be resourceful,” Scott said. She also operates the Hermitage Learning Center, which offers professional tutoring and psycho-educational testing for children throughout middle Tennessee.

Now, (Thanks to the testing center) when taking exams, the soothing sound of white noise surrounds me, allowing me to focus, free from external distractions. Using all the helps available to me, I think I'll sign up for the college success class and fine tune my study skills. ADHD is actually considered a gift by many, sometimes we just learn differently than others. Are you gifted?

Volunteer State Community College

1 comment:

Mary Beth said...

Very well written! I hope anyone who is interested in learning more will do so and not we often do! Thanks for compiling the information.