Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder found in both children and adults. It is characterized by persistent inattention, hyperactivity and sometimes impulsivity.

People with ADHD may have symptoms of inattention, such as difficulties maintaining focus and mental effort on a task. They may also have symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity, such as difficulty sitting in one place, feeling restless, and difficulty waiting their turn in conversations. The presentation of ADHD varies from person to person. Some individuals experience mainly inattentive symptoms, while others experience mainly hyperactive and impulsive symptoms, and some present with a combination of both sets of symptoms.

Although there is no consensus among available research literature regarding the underlying cause of the disorder, one of the most predominant perspectives suggests that ADHD is a disorder of the executive functions of the brain, which regulates “intentional, goal-directed, problem-solving action”


As a result, people with ADHD may struggle to stay organized, remember and keep appointments, arrive on time, and work productively.

In the college environment, ADHD can impact students’ ability to maintain attention during classes, in tests and exams or when completing assignments.  As a result, students may have difficulties taking notes in class, demonstrating their knowledge in tests or submitting assignments on time.  Common accommodations include additional time in exams, copies of lecture notes and permission to audio record lectures. Students with ADHD can also benefit from tutoring to learn effective study strategies.

For more information see Attention and Concentration, Written Expression, Organization and Time Management.

[1] Cox, A.J. (013). Executive functions and ADHD. Retrieved from