Complex Learning in College with ADD

Complex Learning in College with ADD
As Attention Deficit Disorder works its way into academic areas of a person's life, it has some fellow travelers. These conditions don't affect everybody who has ADD, but a significant number of people with ADD also have learning disabilities. These learning difficulties work together with Attention Deficit Disorder to make acquiring new complex skills in college classes a challenging task. This article has practical tips to help college students learn those complex skills.

If you are having problems in a class, especially a class that you are taking for college credit, you need to figure out where the breakdown in learning is happening. Does your instructor teach in a different manner than you learn? Is the written information presented in little chunks that don't make sense, because it makes seeing the whole picture difficult? The first step is to talk to your instructor and tell her your needs. Some instructors are willing to adjust their presentations and materials. If this doesn't bring results, you need to help yourself.

Synthesize the material. What does this mean? Take what you know and put it together with the classroom learning to understand the material. Then, make your own typed notes. Use a font that works well for you and plenty of white space. Don't forget the bold print and underlining, where it is appropriate. Start with the notes that the teacher has given you. Type those out first. Then, integrate your handwritten notes where they fit into the general notes. Add your insights, too! Just typing everything up helps you to learn. Then, you have a wonderful set of notes that you can search by keyword in your word processing program. If you need step-by-step directions for completing a process that you are learning, be sure to include them.

In every class there are a few people who already know a lot of the material and processes. Enlist the help of somebody who knows what they are doing. Often, these people are bored out of their skulls with the material. They relish a chance to break the boredom by helping somebody in need.

Let your tutor help you, but don't let them take the project away from you and talk while they do it for you. That's probably not what you need. You do the work, and have them sit beside you and give you directions and tips. As you become more proficient, do more of the work with them sitting away from you. Only call them over when you cannot solve the problem on your own. Educators call this fading the supports. Now, practice, practice, practice, until you can remember the steps to whatever procedure that you are learning.

As time goes on in class, you will be studying new material. Integrate that into your set of synthesized notes. Continue to ask for help, if you need it. Find time to practice those new skills, so that you will absorb and solidify them. Even if you learn in a different way than the material is presented, you can pick it up.

The Learning Disabilities Association of America states that "research indicates that from 30-50 percent of children with ADHD also have a specific learning disability." It is imperative that people with Attention Deficit Disorder understand the specific ways that they learn best. When taking a class, be patient and give yourself time to adjust. Make the necessary changes that you need to learn the material. If you are taking a class for college credit, if all else fails, drop the class before the last drop date, investigate other instructors, and try it again at a later time.

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This content was written by Connie Mistler Davidson. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Connie Mistler Davidson for details.