Many children with ADHD also struggle with anxiety that can be quite debilitating. Doctors often treat both with medication but this can be tricky. Stimulants, often used to treat ADHD, can increase anxiety. Simultaneously, some medications used to treat anxiety can increase some symptoms of ADHD such as impulse control. Some doctors, therefore, recommend treating the most debilitating condition first. Other doctors treat ADHD and anxiety simultaneously. Because treatment with medication can be so tricky, finding a doctor who specializes in these areas is ideal when possible.
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Hooray! Your child’s hard work and persistence (and your hard work and persistence) have paid off and she is off to college! This is certainly a time to celebrate.
In addition to celebrating, you may be helping your child set up any extra learning supports that she may need in college. That is definitely an excellent idea. But it may not be all of the support she needs.
Many young people with executive function challenges have a tremendous amount of help at home with self-care. Parents often do their laundry, cook their meals, buy their toiletries, tell them when to shower, when to wake up, and when to leave the house. When your child is off at college, she will need to do most of these things by herself.
If you haven’t already started doing so, the summer before college is a great time to teach your child these skills. Have her practice setting her alarm and getting herself out of bed. Teach her how to do laundry. Send her to the store to buy toiletries. Sit together, make schedules and lists of things to do and buy, and have her follow them.
These skills, of course, are quite difficult for most people with executive function challenges. If you find your child leaves for college without them, consider getting her an executive function or life skills coach when they get to school so they have the support they need.
A great resource on transitioning to college is On your own: A college readiness guide for teens with ADHD/LD by Patricia Quinn and Theresa Laurie Maitland.
You may have heard that people with ADHD and some learning differences have difficulty with executive function skills. So what are executive function skills anyway?
Executive function skills are related to three main functions of our brains - mental flexibility, working memory, and self-control. More specifically, people with executive function issues:
The good news is that most executive function skills can be taught. Medication can also be helpful. If you’re concerned about your child, you may want to visit the sites below for more information. Also, your pediatrician and/or your child’s school can often assess your child for ADHD and other learning differences.
To learn more about executive function skills, visit: