Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder (ADHD)
What is Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder?
Imagine living in a fast-moving kaleidoscope, where sounds, images and thoughts are constantly shifting. Feeling easily bored, you are helpless to keep your mind on tasks you need to complete, and not good at keeping your body still. Distracted by unimportant sights and sounds, your mind drives you from one thought or activity to the next. Perhaps you are so wrapped up in a collage of thoughts and images that you don't notice when someone speaks to you.
For many people, that is what it is like to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. It is not the result of being 'badly brought up,' but a recognised neurological difference which is estimated to affect between 3% and 6% of people.
Indicators of ADHD
- Becoming rapidly bored with a task.
- Lack of planning and organisation.
- Easily distracted.
- Shifting from one incomplete activity to another.
- Losing property or forgetting equipment.
- Restless and fidgety.
- Frequent talking.
- Doing several things at once.
- Attracted by highly stimulating activities.
- Interrupting others.
- Difficulty awaiting turn in a group.
- Inappropriate comments.
Everyone may show some of these behaviours at times.
You are is said to have ADHD if the behaviours have been life-long, constant and troubling. You may have problems with social relationships as well as with educational achievement. ADHD is not the result of diet, drug abuse or life-style. It can lead to depression and anxiety - but it is part of the diversity of human beings.
We are not all alike. Labels like ADHD can be useful, as long as you don't get trapped by them.
Positive aspects of ADHD
- Ability to see the 'big picture'.
- Being creative and inventive.
- Ability to focus intensely for a time.
- High levels of energy.
- Risk-taking can lead to discoveries.
- Being intuitive.
There are strategies to help you overcome the problem areas. Action for people with ADHD should combine educational, psychological and possibly medical strategies. Life coaching may also help. Many students find that medication such as methylphenidate (Ritalin), dexamphetamine (Dexedrine) or atomoxetine (Strattera) are very helpful. They can improve concentration and memory.
You may feel depressed and frustrated at times. Let your personal tutor know! Counselling and learning support are there to help as well.
Don't let people make you feel that dyspraxia equals something wrong with you. There is a 'problem' to do with dyspraxia, but it's a problem for the university. Dyspraxic students need adjustments to the standard ways of organising courses. It's not simply a matter of going to learning support, although that is helpful. You may need to politely repeat what your needs are!
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