Important advocacy issues for ADHD students heading off for college

Robert Tudisco will be presenting a teleseminar on ADHD and advocay on August 16. Here’s a sneak peak at some of the questions he’ll be exploring in this FREE presentation.

This presentation educates both students and their families about ADHD and how it poses difficult obstacles to students making the transition from high school to college. It explores the changes in the law when they leave high school that further complicate the difficult transition to college. It also addresses how those obstacles can be overcome through a coaching model that provides the structure and accountability to help students realize their potential and maximize their future.


If you’d like Robert to present to your group.  Please email him at
Here’s the text version of the presentation:

From high risk to high potential – Presentation Transcript

    Transition Issues for High School and College Students with ADHD
  2. Robert Tudisco
    This presentation was developed by Edge Foundation’s Executive Director, Robert Tudisco.
    Tudisco is the Executive Director of the Edge Foundation, is a practicing attorney, author and adult diagnosed with AD/HD.
    He is a former member of the National Board of Directors of CHADD and ADDA.
    He is also the expert legal columnist for ADDitude Magazine and a regular contributor to Attention Magazine where he sits on its Editorial Advisory Board.
  3. ADHD Defined
    ADHD is neuro-biological disorder affecting a portion of the brain that regulates Executive Functioning.
  4. Executive Functioning
    the organizational administrator in the brain which regulates:
    Impulse Control
    Time Perception/Management
  5. Treatment of AD/HD
    Medication – Can be effective for many, but is not a cure for AD/HD.
    Medication should be thought of as a useful tool to help individuals make positive changes in their lives.
    Medication is also a very personal decision.
    Medication issues with co-occurring conditions.
    Bi-polarity high incidence.
    Learning Disabilities
    Positive Behavioral Management Interventions – such as therapy, exercise and coaching can be very effective.
    Multi Modal – a combination of Medication and Behavioral Management techniques such as coaching have been shown to be most effective.
    Each transition in academic and professional life comes with a new set of administrative considerations that pose challenges to those with AD/HD.
    The key transition times are usually
    Third to Fourth Grade
    Seventh Grade
    Transition to High School
    Transition to College
    Transition to Professional Life
  7. Transition from High School to College
    This transition is difficult because of the huge difference between these two types of institutions.
    College dramatically lacks the structure of High School
    Class attendance is often optional
    Much less grading feedback
    Significantly fewer gradable assignments
    Most students leave home to attendcollege.
    Support network is gone
    Medication management is gone
    Parents are effectively and legally out of the loop
  8. Problem:
    Parents of younger children often do all of the advocating for them and rarely include their children in the discussions and often create an atmosphere of secrecy. This leaves the students completely ill equipped and unable to advocate for themselves when they move on to college.
  9. Legal Change in circumstances
    IDEA – only covers students up to high school graduation after that, they must seek accommodations under Section 504 or the ADA. ADA & 504 – Still apply after high school, but are much different.
    No “Child Find” Component – IDEA, Section 504 and the ADA up through high school place a burden on the school district to identify children with disabilities, evaluate them and provide a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).
    After graduation, the burden shifts to the student to self report and document their disability and to request reasonable accommodations and supports.
    Self Reporting is crucial –Students must know and understand their disability enough to be able to effectively advocate for themselves.
  10. FERPA
    Family Education Rights & Privacy Act
    For younger students (K-12), parents have a complete and exclusive right to access their children’s records.
    After High School it applies to the student NOT the parent, EVEN IF THEY ARE PAYING THE TUITION
    a partnership between coach and client whereby the client sets goals and objectives and the coach and client plot a course to achieving them while building structure and accountability to stay on track.
  12. How Coaching Works
    Coaching is proacative
    Life coaching is a method of providing outside structure and helping people recognize and cultivate their talents, has been around for a long time.
    Coaching for AD/HD is a natural fit, based upon the needs of students with AD/HD because it provides the structure, support and accountability that individuals with AD/HD desperately need based upon their executive functioning challenges.
    When it comes to a specific learning disability or a problem with course work, tutors are helpful.
    A good coach will work hand in hand with a tutor.
    Unfortunately, many times the problem is not with the subject matter, but the approach.
  14. Coaches Help By…
    Defining and developing study skills and habits that can work.
    Experimenting with coping mechanisms that may or may not work.
    Developing strategies to attack procrastination.
    Being an accurate sounding board on timed projects.
    Helping a student understand and recognize their talents and gravitate toward them while helping them learn to avoid their weaknesses.
    Helping a student select courses and/or professors that work toward their strengths.
    Helping students select schools with the flexibility to support their strengths and talents.
    Edge’s Founder, Neil Peterson: an Executive with AD/HD who greatly benefitted from specialized coaching and also provided coaching for his children had a vision to provide this support for all students.
    Proactive Model: Anticipate the problems in transition and address them before they become insurmountable.
    We believe: Don’t let students fail before getting help.
  16. Be Legally Proactive
    Absence of IDEA: beginning at age 14 through the age of 16, the IEP team (Committee for Special Education – CSE) is required to build a TRANSITION PLAN into the IEP. This plan determines whether the student will transition to college or receive vocational training.
    The transition plan is extremely valuable and should provide for the services and supports that will be needed in college.
    The transition plan should discuss what worked in high school for this student and why
    Actively involve your child in the transition process so they understand their disability and their individual needs and can articulate them to the disability office in college.
    Use the transition plan as a template for services and supports when they get to college BEFORE the semester begins.
    Have a good working knowledge of the plan
    Involve your child actively in their accommodation plan and work with the committee to make it a transition plan.
    When it comes to transition planning, many of the things the school challenged you on before, will now be implemented by someone else after graduation, so you may get more leverage and cooperation.
    The same goes for SAT test accommodations.
    Update evaluations if necessary to make sure the recommendations for accommodations are substantiated by current data.
    Always make your requests for accommodations in writing and build a record if necessary.
    Teach your children the importance of that.
  18. FERPA – Be Proactive
    Discuss with your child AHEAD OF TIME, what your role as parents will be.
    If you all agree that you are to be kept in the loop about their academic records, have them SIGN A RELEASE AHEAD OF TIME AND FILE IT WITH THE DISABILITY OFFICE BEFORE THE SEMESTER STARTS
  19. Robert Tudisco is available for speaking to groups around the country. For more information contact him at

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