The value of getting a diagnosis
As the dust is settling from the building work in my home, I am slowly transitioning back to work.
I was asked to write an article for a magazine called, “Exceptionalneedstoday.” The editor, Amy Tobik, asked me to write about,
“What is the value to getting an ADHD diagnosis as a college student?” I could have easily refused due to the overwhelm and chaos that is going on in my house, but I said to myself, ‘I am going to write this!’ and here it is! The value of getting an ADHD diagnosis.
In her email, Amy wrote that a few mums recently approached her. One mum has an older teen, who was diagnosed with ADHD in the past few months.
This mum felt super guilty that her son had reached the age of 21 without being evaluated.
Amy was approached by another teen who is a graduating female senior who she believes would do far better in college if she would learn the tools she needs to manage her ADHD. She asked me how to address these two scenarios.
You think you have ADHD? Here’s why you should seriously consider getting an ADHD diagnosis.
ADHD affects every single area of life. Read that sentence again…and again.
Let’s first focus on the top four qualities that every successful student needs to possess in ordr to succeed at college:
1. Sticking with things even when the going gets tough (perseverance).
3. Time management and organisational skills.
4. Striking the right balance between fun and work.
2. The ability to put off or delay gratification and not get stuck on silly details and keep your focus on the big picture.
These skills don’t come easily to people with ADHD, especially students with ADHD.
A young adult who has ADHD may be 30% plus behind their peers in their areas of impairment. That means that an 18 year old, may be acting around age 13. Would you send away your 13 year old to college?
Lagging executive function skills such as organisational problems, impulsivity and time management issue, are the hallmarks of ADHD.
Students with ADHD can’t fall back on these skills since these are the skills that need help with the most. They need specialist tools from experts in this field in order to develop these skills.
How do you treat ADHD? ADHD treatment is pills and skills. You need both to live your successful life.
If you think that you may have ADHD, getting assessed and diagnosed gives you access to specialist help in the two above areas, and it can give you access to funding so that you can access the specialist coaches who can teach you these vital life skills. It may well occur that your practitioner does not diagnose you with ADHD. There may be something else going on.
Why you should get an ADHD diagnosis
A diagnosis opens the doors for proper treatment. Your ADHD does not define who you are, it is simply another feature of your unique personality.
Imagine your foot hurts you. You have no idea why you are in so much pain. The pain could be caused by many different causes. Getting a diagnosis for that pain will be vital in dealing with the pain healing the root cause.
An ADHD diagnosis is just a name for a group of symptoms. Once you have that name, you know what you are dealing with, and you can then go and get the right help for your diagnosis.
Getting an ADHD diagnosis enables you and your family to accept yourself for who you are. It helps you to step back and see that your ADHD is separate to who you are.
My clients tell me that they are lazy. I tell them that they are not lazy, they just haven’t yet found the tools they need to access their inner-motivation.
ADHD is far more than just having difficulty focusing. My book explains more about the little-known facts about ADHD.
Getting an ADHD diagnosis turns your "whys" into "whats"
Here is the good news:
I have seen in my over 15 years of experience working with students and teens with ADHD, that they are often very gifted.
Here is the bad news:
They often need help in certain areas due to their brain wiring that is different to those who are neuro-typical. If you have ADHD, and your talents are not contained within the vessel healthy executive function skills (life skills) your gifts will likely go to waste…
Getting yourself diagnosed stops the guilt.
Getting yourself diagnosed stops the shame, and the self-blame.
You are not lazy. You are not stupid. You just have ADHD, and parts of your brain work in a unique way.
Your ADHD is separate to who you are.
A specially trained and qualified ADHD coach will guide you with the executive function skills, that your brain needs that will make a world of difference to your studying lifestyle.
I’ve seen too many college students who haven’t had the help they needed, and it really was not rocket science, become dropouts and go south very quickly.
Medication compensates for the biological problem that is at the root of your ADHD.
It may take you some time to find the right medication and the correct dose. Keep on trying until you do. Each case, of course, must be judged on its own merits, and each individual reacts differently to medication. You may need to try out several different types and brands until you find one that works for you.
There are still far too many people in the UK and the USA who are falling through the cracks and not accessing diagnosis and treatment.
Many of my clients have children with ADHD. They are often hesitant to give the meds to their child/teen. I assume that when a parent is so strongly opposes giving their child ADHD meds, that they have made an informed decision, spending at least a couple of hours reading some of the over 100,000 research papers that have been published on ADHD. Sadly, most parents base their decision on a few stories that they have heard from other parents…
My experience has shown that the ADHD meds are a powerful tool to help students focus. You need to get your child through school, somehow, with their self- esteem not damaged too much. One way to do this is to give them the ADHD meds.
Consider the following question carefully:
You have only one life to live. Life is hard enough.
Why should you live a more difficult life just because you have ADHD?
There are tools out there to help you with your unique challenges.
Educate yourself about the many myths and overcome the stigma.
If you are a student, you owe it to yourself, your family and anyone who makes your acquaintance to be the best version of yourself.
If you are a parent of a child whom you suspect has ADHD, you owe it to your child, and your future grandchildren to get your child diagnosed and get the help that they need to unlock their potential.