Student Support Services
Western Carolina University
Highlights from Denver AHEAD…..
This is a summary of information by the following
presenters at the National Association on Higher
Education and Disability (AHEAD) Conference in
Denver July 2010.
For complete PowerPoint slides and handouts see the
ADD a Chemical Imbalance
Essentially ADD is a chemical imbalance
Unless the chemical imbalance is addressed most
other interventions will have limited success at best
Medication is the currently the most effective
Cognitive Therapy, Skill Building, and Coun./Coaching
2 Major Neurotransmitters
Dopamine and Norepinephrine
These 2 chemicals are involved in many of the brain
processes involved in Executive Functioning
The difficulty arises when the brain either doesn’t
produce enough or doesn’t reuptake and/or re-release
80% of those treated respond well to appropriate
Very strong heritability .8 (approx. 3x higher than
25% also show signs of dyslexia (gen. pop. 5%)
Undersized Amygdala which is involved in emotional
regulation such as anger, frustration tolerance,
depression, and anxiety
Further research will likely yield a blood test
identifying which med(s) would be most effective for
Common Issues Associated
Lack self awareness and emotional regulation
Problems self monitoring in social situations
Low frustration tolerance
Can display mild to moderate OCD type thinking
Common Issues Associated
Difficulties with procrastination and sustained
Lack time management skills
Frequently have alertness and sleeping difficulties
Reading fluency and concentration
Writing difficulties; procrastination, task completion,
Connecting, organizing and prioritizing information
*Favorite quote from the conference by Thomas E. Brown Ph.D.
The Most Powerful Approaches Use:
Medication Treatment combined with:
Themes to guide strategies
Education about the research is key for those with
ADD, their families, counselors, instructors, etc.
Structure, structure, structure
Novelty - as long as it’s planned into the routine!
Clearly defined expectations
Multiple checklists and tracking devices
Encourage the use of more of their senses
Widgets or dog poop?!?
Provide appropriate referrals to campus and
community support services
Assist students in discovering their strengths and
Recommend a mix of required course with desired
Get to know your faculty
Maintain a supportive attitude and be patient
Integrate kinesthetic action
Colored overhead sheets w/cutouts for reading
Time management skills such as:
Breaking large assignments into smaller tasks
Setting intermediate deadlines
Building in rewards that fit the individual
Personal counseling may address:
Improved social interaction
Self esteem issues
Self regulation and awareness
OCD type thinking
In Your Interactions…..
Ask open ended questions
Keep them on task and don’t let them get you off track,
don’t let them avoid the difficult questions
Ask questions that lead to planning or strategy
What would you do it…..?
What has worked for you in the past?
How would you handle it if…..?
What was the intent?
The intent of the reauthorization is to move the focus
(particularly in the work place) from showing “no
disability exists” or “otherwise not qualified” to the
provision of appropriate accommodations.
The intent was to grant easier
access to accommodations.
Will Documentation Disappear?
Determine appropriate accommodations
Determine specific deficits
It is not the job of ODS’s to diagnose students’
disabilities/difficulties but rather to
implement/provide appropriate accommodations
Diagnostic Evidence Should…
Be determined on a case-by-case basis
Be an individual assessment
Not take too long or be too time consuming
Make basic sense, be legitimate and rational
It can not be erroneous
…and Demonstrate What?
Specific reason for each
What forms can we expect?
IEP’s and similar evidence from the K-12 system
Traditional diagnostic evidence
Increased reliance on student interviews
Presenter Alicia Brandon
Landmark College Institute for Research and Training
For more information about Landmark College
Institute of Research and Training go to
“Helping to Improve Inadequately
Presenter Thomas E. Brown Ph.D.
Associate Director, Yale Clinic for Attention and
Related Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, Yale
For more information about Dr. Brown and
ADD/ADHD go to
Heyward, Lawton and Associates
Presenter Salome Heyward, JD
“[Dr. Heyward] is a civil rights attorney with over 30
years of experience and is a well-known and respected
speaker and trainer in the area of disability
discrimination law and disability management.”
For more information about Dr. Heyward go to