Attention Deficit & Hyperactivity

A bored-looking young woman facing the viewer, holding her head with one arm, an open book laid in front of her.

Mary had always been viewed as intelligent by her friends and teachers, but usually only made average – and sometimes poor – grades in high school. For Mary, school was boring and she didn’t like putting in a lot of work or having to study much. She liked the fact that she could get by without having to put in much effort.

This all changed when Mary went to college. Suddenly she found herself getting poor grades and was in danger of failing some courses. She decided to work harder to bring her grades up. She tried taking better notes, reading her textbook more, and staying more focused, but this didn’t seem to be enough. And worse, she discovered that she had a really hard time doing what she was supposed to – when she was reading her textbook she couldn’t remember what she had just read. She tried sticking to a study schedule, but would forget about it the next day. Eventually, she received a referral to a psychologist through her family physician. The psychologist asked Mary questions about her past schooling and what she had felt like when she tried to study or pay attention in class. Following the administration of a complete psychoeducational assessment, the psychologist concluded that Mary qualified for a diagnosis of ADHD.

Following her diagnosis, Mary continued to work with the psychologist, her instructors, and the disability services personnel at her institution to develop strategies and accommodations to help her manage the challenges she faced due to her disability. Mary practiced new studying strategies, found more efficient ways to organize tasks, and eventually found she was able to study longer and retain more of what she read. In addition, Mary now recorded and reviewed every lecture she attended, which allowed her to catch anything she missed the first time.