Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopment disorder characterised by symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It can significantly impact a student’s academic and social life, which is why understanding how to get tested for ADHD is important. Lots of university students often ask ‘can I get tested for ADHD through my university?’ and ‘How much does an ADHD assessment cost?’, so this article is here to break down the options available for getting tested for ADHD as well as support offered at universities.
What is ADHD?
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopment disorder that is commonly identified in childhood and often continues into adulthood. It is characterised by a persistent pattern of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that is more severe than typically observed in individuals at a comparable level of development.
Key characteristics of ADHD
- Inattention: This involves difficulty in sustaining attention, organising tasks, following through on instructions, and staying focused over extended periods. Individuals with ADHD may seem forgetful in daily activities, easily distracted by extraneous stimuli, and often misplace things.
- Hyperactivity: This manifests as excessive fidgeting, tapping, or talkativeness. In adults, it might appear as restlessness or a constant feeling of being ‘on the go’. Children with ADHD may run or climb in situations where it is inappropriate or feel restless.
- Impulsivity: This includes hasty actions that occur in the moment without forethought and that have high potential for harm. Impulsivity can also involve a desire for immediate rewards or inability to delay gratification. It might lead to social intrusiveness and making important decisions without considering the long-term consequences.
Types of ADHD
ADHD is categorised into three types, based on the predominant symptomatology:
- Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: The individual mainly has symptoms of inattention.
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: The individual primarily shows hyperactive and impulsive symptoms.
- Combined Presentation: Symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity are equally present.
What causes ADHD?
The exact cause of ADHD is not known, but a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors are believed to contribute. Risk factors include genetics (having a family member with ADHD), prenatal exposures (such as smoking or alcohol use during pregnancy), and environmental factors (like lead exposure).
How do I know if I have ADHD?
Realising that you might have ADHD can be a bit of a puzzle, especially as it’s a condition that’s often misunderstood. If you’re wondering whether you might have ADHD, it’s important to approach this with an open mind and a bit of patience. After all, everyone’s experience with ADHD is unique.
Recognising the signs
Firstly, let’s chat about what ADHD typically looks like. It’s not just about being a bit forgetful or energetic. ADHD symptoms are usually more pronounced and consistent than the occasional daydream or fidget. Here are a few things you might notice:
- Struggling to focus: Do you find it tough to stay on task? Maybe you start projects with great enthusiasm but struggle to see them through.
- Feeling over energetic or restless: This could look like feeling ‘buzzy’ inside, being fidgety, or finding it hard to relax.
- Acting on impulse: Sometimes, do you do things on a whim and then think, “Oops, maybe I should’ve thought that through a bit more”?
- Difficulty organising: Keeping things in order, whether it’s your schedule, your workspace, or your thoughts, can feel like a real uphill battle.
ADHD in university students can manifest in various ways, affecting their studies, organisation, time management, and social interactions. Recognising these challenges is the first step towards seeking help. It’s important to note that ADHD is not just a childhood condition; it can continue into adulthood and often goes undiagnosed.
It’s not just about behaviour
Remember, having ADHD isn’t just about these behaviours. It’s about how they affect your life. If you’re finding that these traits are making things like work, study, or relationships more challenging than they should be, it might be worth exploring further.
Taking the next steps
If these points are ringing true for you, what’s the next step? It’s a good idea to have a chat with your GP. They’re there to help and can guide you towards the right resources. It’s not about getting labelled; it’s about understanding yourself better and finding ways to make life smoother.
And just a little note to say, if you do have ADHD, you’re definitely not alone. Many people, from all walks of life, have ADHD and lead happy, successful lives. Having ADHD doesn’t define you; it’s just one part of your unique and wonderful self.
So, take a deep breath, and if you feel ready, take that first step. Whether you have ADHD or not, understanding yourself better is always a positive move.
Can you get tested for ADHD at university?
Generally speaking, whether or not you can get tested for ADHD at university depends on individual universities. Some UK universities offer screening tools to help identify students who may have ADHD. For instance, the University of Nottingham provides a free online screening tool, the Do-It-Profiler, for students registered at the university. This tool can help identify dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, or other specific learning differences.
You may also consult with university health services for initial guidance. Universities like the University of Birmingham offer the Neurodiversity Profiler +, which includes attention and concentration difficulties screening. If a student receives an ‘at risk’ outcome, they are advised to consult their GP or an educational psychologist for further assessment.
Following initial screenings or consultations, students may be referred to an educational psychologist or their GP for a formal assessment. This step is crucial for a definitive diagnosis.
In the UK, there are three ways to get assessed for ADHD, and two of these are covered by the NHS. This means students will not have to pay for assessment or treatment if diagnosed, other than the usual NHS prescription charge.
What support do universities give to students with ADHD?
Once you have your diagnosis – or importantly, if you’re not sure but think you might have ADHD, it’s worth getting in touch with your university to see what support they can provide for you. Some of the support offered at universities for students with ADHD include:
Tailored Learning Support
First things first, universities often have dedicated teams or services focused on disability support, including ADHD. These lovely folks can help you with:
- Individual learning plans: These are like your personal roadmap to success at uni. They might include extra time for exams, note-taking assistance, or special software that can help you study.
- Study skills sessions: These are super helpful, especially if you find organising your workload a bit tricky. They can teach you nifty techniques to manage your time and keep on top of your studies.
Mental health and wellbeing services
University can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming, but there’s plenty of support available. Most universities have counselling services and wellbeing programmes. These can include:
- One-to-one counselling: A chance to chat about anything that’s on your mind in a safe and supportive environment.
- Workshops and groups: These might cover topics like stress management, which can be particularly handy during exam season.
Peer support and social groups
Sometimes, chatting with someone who ‘gets it’ can make a world of difference. Many universities have peer support schemes and social groups for students with ADHD and other neurodiverse conditions. It’s a great way to make friends and share tips and experiences.
Access to resources
Universities often provide access to resources that can make your academic life a bit easier. This might include:
- Assistive technology: Things like speech-to-text software or digital recorders for lectures.
- Library services: Extended book loans or quiet study areas can be a real boon.
And let’s not forget the practical stuff. In addition to whether you can get tested for ADHD through university, knowing other information like financial advice and whether you’re eligible for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA) is important. Speak to the university team so they can guide you through the process.
A Friendly Reminder
Remember, everyone’s experience at university is unique, and the support you need might be different from someone else’s. Don’t be shy about reaching out and asking for what you need. The university staff are there to help you, and they want to see you thrive. That’s why you don’t need to feel shy about asking how to get tested for ADHD through university or other services.
Challenges and misconceptions of ADHD
Navigating university life with ADHD can sometimes feel like you’re trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube – a bit tricky, but definitely doable with the right moves. Along the way, you might bump into a few challenges and misconceptions about ADHD.
Unfortunately, there’s still a bit of a stigma around ADHD. You might encounter folks who think it’s just about being hyper or a bit scatterbrained. The truth is, ADHD is much more complex and varies from person to person. If you feel comfortable, sharing your experiences can be a powerful way to bust these myths. Remember, you’re the expert on your own life!
Sometimes, your mates or lecturers might not fully grasp what ADHD means for you. They might not get why you need extra time on tests or why you fidget during lectures. It’s okay to gently educate them. Most people are keen to understand and support you once they know more about your needs.
It can be really frustrating when people misunderstand your actions or intentions because of ADHD. Maybe they think you’re not paying attention when you’re actually just processing things in your own way. It’s important to communicate openly and let people know how ADHD affects you. This can help clear up any confusion and build stronger, more understanding relationships.
Sometimes, the toughest misconceptions to tackle are the ones we hold about ourselves. You might feel like you’re supposed to do things a certain way or worry that you’re not “normal.” Remember, ADHD is a part of you, but it doesn’t define you. Embrace your unique strengths and ways of thinking – they’re what make you, well, you!