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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a neurological disorder that is defined by a pattern of behaviours that are distinguished by inattention (finding it hard to concentrate), hyperactivity (restlessness, unable to sit still, overly active), and impulsivity (saying or doing things without fully considering the consequences).

"I would love it if the uni provided neurodiversity training for lecturers, so they are better informed about how to support and offer suggestions to students". - Warwick Student

There are three subtypes of ADHD:

Type 1 - Inattentive Type

Where the behaviours are specific to inattention rather than hyperactivity and impulsivity.

Examples Include:

  • Having issues focusing on a task/sustaining focus
  • Getting distracted easily
  • Process information slower
  • Difficulty in organising thoughts/activities

Type 2 - Hyperactive/ Impulsive Type

Where the behaviours are specific to hyperactivity and impulsivity.

Examples Include:

  • Feeling restless and not being able to sit still
  • Touching and playing with objects, fidgeting
  • Impatience/speaking without thinking of consequences

Type 3 - Combined Type ADHD

Where behaviours are inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive.

This is the most common type of ADHD.

Gender Differences in ADHD

There is a disproportionate amount of males being diagnosed over females. This is not necessarily a reflection on the prevalence being higher in males, but rather the behaviours associated with ADHD are often more likely to show hyperactive and impulsive symptoms that are more obvious.

Gender Differences in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Exploring Female Students' Experiences of ADHD and its Impact on Social, Academic, and Psychological Functioning

Possible Solutions and Support

  • Support in establishing a routine
  • Use small achievable task lists such as 'tomorrow tasks' (where you outline the necessary tasks for the next day, to avoid stress the next morning)
  • 50% Rule?
  • Golden Hours?
  • Time-Blocking?

Further Advice

Understanding Rejection Sensitivity

Executive Functioning

What are some characteristics of students with ADHD?

They may:  
  • Find it difficult to focus for long periods of time in lectures and seminars - ensure you have scheduled breaks in these sessions
  • Be easily distracted or find it difficult to focus in some settings - noise in lectures and seminars can be difficult to filter out for people with ADHD, so using headphones or sitting in quieter areas of rooms may help
  • Fidget - people with ADHD sometimes feel the need to move, and so will fidget with objects or get up regularly - in lectures or seminars, using fidget tools may help, and in lectures sitting at the back of the room may mean its easier for them to get up an move without disturbing others when needed
  • Enthusiastic to contribute - some people with ADHD may be keen to contribute to discussion in lectures and seminar, which can result in them talking over others - this isn't rudeness, its more a difficulty with control
  • Go through extremes of empathising completely with others or reacting without emotions to others - this can make social relationships difficult at times and they may need support with this
  • Be hyper focused in certain conditions - this can be really useful if the hyper focus is on an assessment or required task, but it is diffcult to control what the hyper focus will be on or when it will happen, therefore students may need Reasonable Adjustments when it comes to deadlines.
  • Come up with lots of ideas and show great creativity - while having ADHD as a student can be really difficult, people with ADHD can be great members of teams due to their ability to generate creative ideas.
  • Stress and Burnout - Those with ADHD may experience high-stress levels from overwork and burnout.