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College Planning for Kids with ADD

LD and ADD/ADHD Expert Advice from Jerome J. Schultz, Ph.D.

Q: My daughter with ADD is a 16-year-old sophomore in high school. Although college is two years away, what steps can I take to help her with future college plans?

A: You are thinking about this at the right time, since the junior and senior years are so important, both in terms of a student's performance and the college selection process. Talk to the guidance counselor in your daughter's school who is responsible for helping students in the college search process. It may not be necessary to involve your daughter in this just yet (while she's in tenth grade), because the process may make her anxious. If she's already anxious about the prospect of college, then having her start to look around, and finding out that there are many good options for her may actually help to ease her mind.

You said she "also has ADD" Since you posted your question in our LD area, I'm going to assume you mean that she has ADD in addition to a learning disability. If your daughter has needed special services in the high school to help her be successful, it's very important to start looking for colleges that offer similar support systems. If your daughter needs special accomodations when she is taking tests, such as extended time, then you'll want to find out what she needs to do to apply to get modifications in tests such as the SATs. Ask the guidance counselor or the director of special education, or contact Educational Testing Service (ETS) for information about this.

There are lots of good books that can help you and your daughter move ahead in this important process. Here are a few:

  1. ADD and the College Student: A guide for High School and College Students with ADD. Patricia Quinn, Editor
  2. Succeeding in College with Attention Deficit Disorders: Issues and Strategies for Students, Counselors and Educators. Jennifer S. Bramer, Ph.D.
  3. College and Career Success for Students with Learning Disabilities. Roslyn Dolber
  4. Adolescents and ADD: Gaining the Advantage. Patricia Quinn

And here are a couple of good books for kids who want to learn how to advocate for themselves:
  1. Survival Guide for College Students with ADD or LD. Kathleen Nadeau
  2. Help Yourself: Handbook for College Bound Students with Learning Disabilities
    (Princeton Review) Erica-Lee Lewis and Eric Lewis

A very good video for parents and students has been produced by the Learning Disabilities Association of Massachusetts (LDAM). It's called Planning for Success: The College Application Process for Students with Learning Disabilities. It can be ordered through the LDAM website.

More on: Expert Advice

Jerome (Jerry) Schultz is the founding clinical director of the Learning Lab @ Lesley University, a program that provides assessment, tutoring, and case management services for children with learning challenges. Schultz holds a Ph.D. from Boston College, and has completed postdoctoral fellowships in both clinical psychology and pediatric neuropsychology.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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