"It never occurred to me that I should have started making him get himself up for school senior year. His therapist certainly never brought up the things we're talking about." - ADHD Dude - Ryan Wexelblatt
"It never occurred to me that I should have started making him get himself up for school senior year. His therapist certainly never brought up the things we're talking about."
Marc's father said this to me when we first met. Marc was an 19 year old who had attended an academically rigorous private school where he excelled and was accepted into a highly competitive program at a prestigious university.
Upon entering the university Marc pledged a fraternity (who had very strict rules about study time which he was compliant with. When in his dorm room at night Marc fell into a pattern I have seen countless college freshman fall into: he would stay up very late playing video games which caused him to start missing his morning classes.
The university student support services recommended a local Executive Function Coaching practice to Marc when his grades started to slip. When Marc's parents asked if the could help him with time management they were honest and said they did not know how to teach Marc how to develop a sense of the passage of time as they focused on academic skills.
While Marc did his best to try to keep up academically he continued to be unable to manage his excessive gaming which led to him missing more classes and needing to withdraw from the university at the end of his first semester. (Often the college students whom I've worked with don't make it to the end of their first semester).
I explained to Marc's family that his experience was not uncommon at all. His father explained to me how he woke Marc up for school every day, made sure he went to bed at a reasonable hour, etc. This lasted through 12th grade.
Marc's school had recommended a local therapist to his family when he was in 9th grade and was struggling with the demands of the high school curriculum. In my experience, private schools often refer their students to the same therapists who do not have any particular specialization. Typically, these are therapists who market themselves to the school and present well to affluent parents such as Marc's.
🤔"Did you guys ever talk about the independent skills you would need to be successful in college such as managing your sleep on your own?" I asked Marc. "No, we basically talked about academics, studying for tests or the sports I played." Marc replied. "What's your understanding of ADHD?" I asked Marc. "Difficulty concentrating." he said.
Marc's 4 year experience of therapy is something I have seen countless times:
- Marc was never given an explanation of ADHD as it pertained to managing his life independently.
- His parents were never taught how to move Marc from being prompt-dependent towards independent so he would be better prepared to manage college independently.
- There was no discussion about release of responsibility
- No discussion about the pitfalls of many college students with ADHD.
Marc's parents did not do anything wrong in their parenting. They were never educated about how to prepare Marc for college.
I worked with Marc for several months focusing of teaching him how to "feel time" (the same strategy I teach in webinar 3 of Executive Function Crash Course) and also helping him manage his video game usage. I also located an Executive Function coach in the city where Marc attended college and spoke to them to make sure they had the skill set to help Marc before I provided his parents with their information. Marc was able to return to college the next fall and was successful his second time around.
⌚Start building these skills now, not after your son/daughter has an experience like Marc.
👉🏽Executive Function Crash Course Webinar Series: https://adhddude.com/executive-function/