Disability Access and Education Announcement

Did you know  according to the Center for Disease control, ADHD, which stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, affects approximately 5% of adults in the United States. “ADHD is not a breakdown of the brain in one spot. It’s a breakdown in the connectivity, the communication networks, and an immaturity in these networks,” says Joel Nigg, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University. “These brain networks are interrelated around emotion, attention, behavior, and arousal. People with ADHD have trouble with global self-regulation, not just regulation of attention, which is why there are attentional and emotional issues.” The CDC reports an 11% incidence in children 4 – 17 years old. Some people may have a reduction in ADHD symptoms as certain parts of the brain mature.  Others will have symptoms their entire lives. Medication and/or counseling are often useful in helping people manage the condition. 

Diagnosis of ADHD is complicated. School psychologists are often the starting point for diagnosis in children by requesting observations of parents and teachers in addition to their own observations and other diagnostic tools. General practice doctors may diagnosis ADHD and prescribe medication for both children and adults. Psychologists and psychiatrists may have more accurate diagnostic tools for adults who have not previously been diagnosed or who may want a childhood diagnosis confirmed. Remember that psychologists do not prescribe medication but do provide various forms of “talk therapy.”  Psychiatrists can prescribe medication and may provide other forms of therapy according to their individual practice.

As with all other conditions, the way each person experiences ADHD is unique. Some college students benefit from test-taking accommodations of extended time and/or a distraction-reduced setting. Many students benefit from consistent assistance from a friend, mentor, or academic coach with being held accountable for time- and task-management. Extended due dates, which may have been an accommodation in high school, can be counter-productive in the college setting as it may enable procrastination in those with no other conditions. ADHD can co-exist with learning disabilities and some mental health conditions (these may have a  causative relationship or be coincidental). People with ADHD are often original thinkers, able to make connections and see things that neurotypical people often overlook. Some researchers postulate that many ground-breaking inventions were developed by people with ADHD symptoms.

FPU students are welcome to come to the Disability Access and Education office for a discussion of possible ADHD and how to seek diagnosis, and to explore accommodations for an already-diagnosed condition (contact melinda.gunning@fresno.edu or 559-453-2247). Academic Coaching is available in the Academic Success Center on the main campus (contact 559-453-5585). Staff at On-Site Counseling will also provide support and advice for further diagnosis or treatment (contact onsite@fresno.edu or 559-453-8050).

A useful, general audience site for more information and for guidance to other resources is https://www.additudemag.com/adhd/.