Kids studyingPlanning on attending college or university in the fall, but also grapple with attention deficit disorder (ADHD)? Tara Parker-Pope last week wrote a fantastic article in The New York Times that acts basically as your guide to everything you need to know if you have ADHD and are planning to head off to school in the fall.

It explains that while medications may need adjusting (if you’re on an ADHD medication), your support system is probably even more important. Freshman year is hard enough for most people, but even harder for teens dealing with attention deficit disorder. Your safe family and friends you’ve known often leave if you go away to school, and you can be stuck without that support system in place.

In addition to talking about medications (and where/how you’ll get them refilled while at school), Parker-Pope also talks about the importance of learning about the services available at your school for people with ADHD. Some schools even have special programs focused on helping people with ADHD be successful:

A well-known program is the Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques Center at the University of Arizona at Tucson. The center assigns a learning specialist to meet with a student weekly, monitor academic performance and set goals. The center offers counseling, individual tutoring and access to a computer lab, writer’s lab and math and science center. Students with less than 60 credit hours, who may need more support, pay $2,200. Older students pay less.

Small campuses may be especially appealing to a student with attention deficit but they won’t have as many services. Extra research may turn up off-campus tutoring services and learning centers.

She ends the article mentioning the fact that some students may not even realize they’ve had ADHD until they get diagnosed at college. If you find yourself struggling with keeping your attention and staying focused while at university when previously you felt pretty okay with those things, it can be simply taking some time adjusting to the new environment. But it could also be a sign of ADHD, something that can be easily diagnosed at your college’s counseling center (usually at no cost to you).

ADHD is not the end of the world, but being properly prepared for it ahead of time can make dealing with it far easier while away at school.

Read the full article: Stepping Up to the Challenge and the resulting discussion.