College Freshman Failure with ADD
You sent your child with Attention Deficit Disorder off to college with a shiny new wardrobe, lots of advice, and full of hope. When December rolled around, the totality of the fiasco hit you in the face. Your child made a shambles out of the first semester in college. Medication didn’t seem to help. The grades are in the dumpster. Anxiety and depression settled over your child like a quilt. Anger and sadness, the emotions of failure, mixed into a toxic psychic cocktail, crackle between the child and the parents. Your family will have about a month before the next semester starts. It’s time to look at the lessons that this experience presents and to plan for a more successful second semester.
Learning Lessons from Failure
Medication-If medication is ineffective, several reasons come to mind. The medication or dosage might not work as expected for the person. It is a good time for a medication check. If you do not have a competent psychiatrist to prescribe medication, find one. Ask other parents of kids with Attention Deficit Disorder. Find a psychiatrist who specializes in ADD and will work with your student to get the meds right. Sometimes, the medication is correct, but the student is not taking it as prescribed. In 17% of the college students taking medication, they sell their medications. They don’t see it as dealing drugs; rather, they are helping friends. Of course, the money doesn’t hurt them, either. These students need to know that there are severe penalties for this behavior. Their ADD medication needs to be the type that has no street value.
Medication is not the whole answer to assisting students with Attention Deficit Disorder. It helps to have therapy, too. Find a mental health professional, a psychologist or counselor, who is well-versed in working with people who have ADD. What can you do if the student refuses counselling? The parents need to seek professional advice for helping their student. There are times when the usual strategies that parents use do not work for kids who have ADD who are depressed and angry about failure. Professionals who work with students with Attention Deficit Disorder have techniques that parents can use. These approaches are often more effective than the strategies that the parents are currently using.
Academics-When a student has failed most, or all, of their classes, it is a devastating experience. There are many reasons that lead to the failure. Usually, the student has stopped going to class. Why? Many students are not used to the pace of the college classroom. They get lost and are embarrassed to ask for help or show people how adrift that they are. The student is overwhelmed by the classroom routine and the freedom of living away from the structure of the family.
Planning for Success
Put the pieces of the puzzle together to find college success with Attention Deficit Disorder. Make sure that you have the medication piece right. Implement counseling or therapy for the student and the family. Plan the class schedule carefully; do not overextend the student academically. Have the student sit in the front of each class to focus attention on the instruction. Organize the books and materials. Develop a study schedule for each class. Have a tutoring plan, in case the student gets lost in the curriculum. Engage a responsible person to check in on the student on a daily basis. If the semester is going well, and the student is showing success, fade the support slowly, to every other day, and then to one time a week.
Finding success from academic failure never happens from a student “learning a lesson” or “pulling himself up by his bootstraps.” Success comes from analyzing where the college experience broke down in the first place. Then, address each of the problems with a piece of a coordinated plan. That is how to find college success after the lessons of failure; it takes a workable plan and working that plan.
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