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Turn the Paige, a Blog devoted to the Unique Mind


Empowering Your Child with ADHD: Navigating their High School to College Transition

Spring break is officially over here in Chicago and I've been getting messages from concerned parents like crazy. I wanted to discuss one message in particular. She seemed to be extremely worried about her son's transition from high school to college.

See her message below:

(She consented to this being discussed anonymously don't worry!)

"Paige. Hello! I need help with my ADHD son, who’s a senior in high school. We are getting ready to make a decision for college, but I’m worried I’m missing something. His recent test grades were almost failing and he seems very disinterested in hobbies he’s loved in the past. I fear I’ve pushed him too much. What can I do as a parent?"

First and foremost, it's important to remember that your son's recent struggles in school and disinterest in his hobbies may be a sign that he is feeling overwhelmed or burnt out. Instead of focusing solely on academic performance, try to focus on your son's strengths, and support, and provide him with a nurturing environment, where your son feels safe to express his feelings and concerns.

Here are some strategies and suggestions for you as a parent to support your son during this crucial time:  

1. Open and Honest Communication: Have an open and honest conversation with him about his feelings, concerns, and aspirations for the future. Listen to his perspective without judgment and validate his emotions. Encourage him to express his thoughts and fears about college and discuss potential alternatives or options. There's a different path for everyone!

2. Collaborative Decision-Making: Involve your son in the decision-making process about college. Explore different options together, considering his interests, strengths, and preferences. Encourage him to research colleges that offer support for students with ADHD and provide accommodations that can help him succeed academically.

Click the pdf below for some great accommodations for your student to bring to school!

Homework accommodations
Download PDF • 241KB

3. Seek Professional Help: Consider seeking the support of a therapist, executive function coach, and/or college counselor who specializes in working with students with diverse needs. They can provide valuable insights, strategies, and resources to help your son navigate the challenges of high school and prepare for college.

4. Focus on Self-Care: Encourage your son to prioritize self-care and well-being during this stressful time. (YOU TOO!) Help him establish a routine that includes regular exercise, healthy eating, and sufficient sleep. Encourage him to engage in activities that bring him joy and relaxation.

5. Offer Guidance, Not Control: Instead of taking over tasks or making decisions for your child, offer guidance and support as they navigate the challenges of college. I know this is incredibly difficult as an involved parent, but it's important that your child feels autonomous in this situation in order for him to grow his confidence and independence.

Now, for my high school seniors who are getting ready for college, here are some additional tips and suggestions:

1. Self-Advocacy: I know this is difficult, but it's super important to speak up for what you need, especially when you're in college. Make sure that your IEP or 504 Plan can transfer to college with you. Your college counselor at school should be able to assist you with this. If you don't have accommodations and feel you need them, don't be afraid to ask your advisors. They are there to help you succeed! If they aren't helpful, my e-mail is below and I am happy to help!

2. Time Management: College can get pretty busy, so it's crucial to manage your time well. If you are like every one of my students, try using a simple document to create or your own planner or apps to keep track of your assignments and deadlines.

Click below for some of my favorite apps to keep track of tasks!

Best Apps for Executive Functions
Download PDF • 224KB

3. Support System: It takes a village! Having people who have your back can make a big difference. Whether it's friends, family, coaches, or therapists, having a support system can give you the encouragement and guidance you need, especially when things get tough.

4. Break Tasks into Manageable Steps: Sometimes, big tasks can seem overwhelming. Try breaking them down into smaller steps. It can make things feel less daunting and help you stay motivated to tackle them one at a time.

5. Being Kind to Yourself: It's really important to give yourself grace, especially when things get tough and you feel like you can't catch a break. Remember to give yourself credit for every tiny victory! Whether it's acing a test, remembering to brush your teeth in the morning, or just getting through a tough day, celebrating your achievements and recognizing your efforts can help you stay motivated and positive.

6. Setting Clear Goals: It's helpful to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. Talk with your parents or teachers about what's expected of you academically and behaviorally. Set goals for yourself and figure out how to manage your time to reach them. Your parents and teachers can give you some tips on creating study schedules and staying organized, but it's also important to learn from your experiences and make your own decisions along the way.

Click the document below to download one of my most used resources!

Smart Goals TTP
Download PDF • 124KB

Are you a student and wondering if you may have ADHD? Take this quiz to find out!

Remember, this quiz is not a diagnostic tool but can provide insights into common behaviors and challenges associated with ADHD. If you have concerns about ADHD, consult your doctor for a proper evaluation and treatment options.

That's all for now folks!

All the best,

Coach Paige

Are you or your child struggling with your ADHD? I can help! Click below!


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