DSA for ADHD - What resources can you get?Watch this thread
I read that you're probably entitled to a lot of different software to help you in your studies, and that you get more rest breaks and extended deadlines on exams (Actually, do those deadlines go for assignments in general? Does it depend on the school?), but I haven't found anything useful specifically talking about ADHD. And seeing as I'm newly diagnosed, I'm also not sure what equipment could help me. I just thought everyone struggled as much with homework as me, and I've always found ways to work around it.
For one, are you entitled to support for an ADHD coach or therapist, or for classes that can help you manage your symptoms? I've previously taken classes in Alexander Technique, in relation to acting, and it had a lot of effect on my symptoms. Alexander Technique helps you check in with your body and create habits that don't strain your muscles more than necessary, which helps with my joint pain and hypermobility (which is apparently linked to ADHD), and also helps me not be constantly distracted by an aching back. It teaches you to slow down and be present in your environment, and helps you inhibit impulses. Basically, it's really good for managing a lot of my ADHD symptoms. From my last school, I have evidence of how much better my grades were when I had weekly AT classes than when I didn't. Also, exercise classes help. Exercise boosts dopamine which boosts focus, but I often don't have the executive funciton to get that done on my own, no matter how much I want to. The accountability and environmental change of attending a class helps me stay on top of that, which again improves my quality of life, my stress levels, and therefore my grades. Is this something I can request?
In addition to that, I spend a lot of time doing my homework in coffee shops. Libraries are, ironically, too loud for me. It's supposed to be quiet, so instead of a steady background noise, I notice every sound of keys typing, every page being turned, every rustling, every cough, every tik of a clock, and it's so distracting. My room/housing holds too many distractions in itself, so I end up spending a lot of money on coffee, seeing as a coffee shop is sometimes the only way I can guarantee I'll get my work done. To a neurotypical, it may sound ridiculous, but this is absolutely necessary for me. I hate that it's true, but it is. It puts me in an environment that's just stimulating enough to keep my dopamine up, and just calm enough not to be distracting. It also helps me transition to the correct task, and limits other available distractions. Can I just ask for a coffee shop allowance??
Next on my list is takeout food. Because most days I don't have the executive function to feed myself unless it's a cereal bar or takeout. Sometimes I'll be starving and completely unable to just cook the food I have in the kitchen, and then I just don't eat. Because I physically can't make myself cook. This gets expensive. Is this a thing?
Also, there's the stuff that helps me stay organized. I need my phone to know what time it is, when I took my last pill, where I'm supposed to be, if I'm supposed to do anything, sometimes to distract myself if stuff gets overwhelming. Can portable chargers be on the list? What about Tiles that I can use to track my keys, or play sound on them from my phone if I lose them? Or notebooks and pens, seeing as I have to write down everything in a physical format if I don't want to forget it?
This ended up being pretty long, but I genuinely feel like all of the things I've mentioned would make managing my ADHD and getting things done a million times easier. Classes and coffee shops also create structure, which I need to get things done on the 4 days a week that are just self study. I'm struggling so much with getting up and getting started on my homework before the last possible day unless I have external motivation, meds notwithstanding. So, is this something I can ask for, seeing as this is the only way I got through my last school? Or would that be completely out of line, seeing as this would be considered unnecessary splurges for neurotypicals?
-time organisation software (google global tasks)
-Text to speech software to help with reading concentration (google claro read pro)
- Essay voice recording software and a mic (google glean)
- Essay organisation software (google claro writing helper)
- Mentor for 1hr per week to help with mental health/organisation etc
They cannot give you money to spend on coffee or takeaway as you receive a maintenance loan which should go towards food and other living expenses.
They would also not be able to fund any AT classes, much like they don't pay for my ADHD medication, I wouldn't be able to keep up with the workload without it, but it's not a study skill or piece of software so I have to pay for it. Definitely talk through your struggles with a needs assessor and just take anything they suggest, you can try it a few times but if it doesn't help you can easily just simply not use it. I'd also recommend trying medication, I'm on the stimulant version and it really does help me focus. I also find having a monitor and laptop makes research easier, and having a printer helps when I'm doing stuff last minute or want to proof read my work.