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As you and your child begin the search for a college, don't forget to take his ADD into consideration. The transition to college is difficult for any teenager, but even more so for those with ADD. The college catalog should contain information about tutoring and other learning assistance programs available to its students. If it doesn't, contact the admissions office and ask.
Before your child begins the college application process, investigate various schools to find out what kind of resources will be available to your child once they are enrolled. Many schools have learning centers and learning specialists available to help students with disabilities. There are also a few colleges that specialize in teaching learning disabled students.
College presents many new challenges to every student, and even more to the ADD student, especially if they are living on campus. Make sure that they are super organized when they move in - both backpack and dorm room. See if you can arrange to have an organized friend as a roommate. Also work out a system to help them remember important things such as medication and homework.
If you've been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD and are in the college search process, the size of the college isn't going to matter as much as its ability to accommodate your needs. One advantage to large state schools is that they typically have a large, well-staffed Office for Student Disability Services.
As part of your investigation of the colleges that may be of interest to you, find out whether they have an office that caters to students with disabilities. As long as you have proof that you've been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, you'll be able to take advantage of those services, and some of the services they offer will even be available for free.
Accommodations Under the ADA
As long as you meet the academic and test qualifications required of all applicants, the school is required to provide reasonable accommodations under the Americans With Disabilities Act. You may be able to get permission to tape your lectures, get extensions on due dates for assignments, take tests privately and get longer time to complete them, or attain other reasonable forms of help.
You have to take the initiative and reach out to find what's available at any given school, the extent to which they are willing to help you, and whether or not those accommodations will fit your specific needs.
Don't use your disability as an excuse for poor academic performance. However, if you've worked very hard to excel academically, and you did so despite having ADD/ADHD, then you should share that information when you're applying. That kind of strength and determination may make you stand out as an even more qualified candidate, and the ability to overcome adversity will show any academic institution that you're the sort of student who will not shy away from challenges.
Preparing for an Interview
If you go to tour a college campus and intend to have an interview with someone in the college's admissions office, prepare for the interview by making a list of questions. By asking questions, you'll be able to find out exactly what the school has in the way of accommodations ahead of time, what you'll need to do to take advantage of them, and whether or not those accommodations will be useful to you.
Another thing you'll need to do is make sure that the school will be able to help you get your medications refilled. You'll need to have a doctor write a prescription, and then you'll need to find a pharmacy that regularly stocks your medication near your college.