How to survive the first year of college with ADHD

For a person who has ADHD going to college can be scary and complicated endeavor for a number of reasons, for example as a college student you will be required to multitask, pay bills, do your homework amongst many other things. The real problem here is that the student will have to abandon the normal routine he or she is used to. Learn more about ADHD.

The point is your child will be out there all alone. Question is what can you do to support your child who has ADHD when he or she starts college?

Keep the medical records safe

When your son or daughter gets diagnosed with ADHD or any other disorder it is important to keep the medical records safe. Because these medical records will be used by the college’s accessibility resources to find the best plan that suits the child’s needs, if you don’t have the records then you will have no way of proving that your child has the condition in question. Therefore your child won’t get the support he or she needs from the college.

For example, in some colleges, kids who have ADHD are allowed more time during exams or are allowed to do their work in environments that are free of distraction.

The idea is to keep all medical records that cite treatment plans and diagnosis accessible. Generally the documents needed are:

  • The clinicians name, address, title, phone number and dates of examination
  • Summary of instruments and relevant procedures
  • Behavioral observation, family history and education
  • Suggestion for the adjustments and accommodation needed to minimize the impact of functional limitations on the academic performance of the student

Note that requirements will vary depending on the college or university.


In Canada students with ADHD have legal rights that entitle them to support in school, this means that colleges and schools are required to give kids with disabilities the facilities and support that they need.

There are colleges and universities in Canada that offer special needs student’s better services through their specialized programs, therefore you should visit the college in person to see the support system the college or university has for your child. The idea is to find a college that has:

  • A specialist in ADHD
  • Students who have ADHD (if there are other students it means that there must be funding and support systems for students with ADHD)
  • LD program (learning disability)
  • Accommodation e.g. extended exam time
  • Seminars
  • Counselors

A college that has this type of support system is better suited for your child than one that does not. Students with ADHD can also access scholarships through programs such as the shire Canada ADHD scholarship programs

What can you do as a parent?

The only thing you can do as a parent is to prepare the child for the challenges he or she will face in college, what you need to do is help your child with time management, help them to stay organized and generally teach them learning habits such as note taking.