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Study: Why do (some) college students misuse ADHD medication?

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The use of ADHD meds without a prescription, i.e., nonmedical use, is a large and perhaps growing problem on college campuses nationwide. Although the percent of students who engage in nonmedical use of ADHD meds varies widely across different schools, rates exceeding 30% have been reported at some campuses. Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Can self-monitoring help promote academic success, and reduce ADHD symptoms, in college students with ADHD

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College students with ADHD are more likely to drop out than other students, have lower grade point averages, and endorse more academic difficulties overall.  Approximately 25% of college students with ADHD receive academic accommodations, Read the rest of this entry »

Misuse & Abuse of ADHD Meds among college students: Updated review of a growing concern

amphetamine-moleculeThe misuse and abuse of prescription medication is a growing concern. I remember speaking with colleagues 15-20 years ago as reports about the nonmedical use of stimulant medications used to treat ADHD (nonmedical use is defined as use by individuals without a prescription) were first appearing in the media. At the time, these were generally thought to be isolated incidents that were being over-dramatized in the press. Read the rest of this entry »

Cognitive Development in the first 20 years: A Child’s and Teenager’s Brain

(Editor’s Note: What follows is an excerpt from Dr. Robert Sylwester’s new book, A Child’s Brain. The Need for Nurture (2010) Corwin. In this excerpt, Robert Sylwester synthesizes the first 20 years of development and shows how it can be viewed as a “rhythmic four-six-four-six-year developmental sequence”)

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Chapter 4: Development and Growth.

The First 20 years.

To simplify a complex phenomenon, we can divide our 20-year developmental trajectory into two periods of approximately 10 years each. The developmental period from birth to about age 10 focuses on learning how to be a human being – learning to move, to communicate, and to master basic social skills. The developmental period from about 11 to 20 focuses on learning how to be a productive reproductive human being – planning for a vocation, exploring emotional commitment and sexuality, and achieving autonomy.

The first four years of each of these two decade-long development periods are characterized by slow awkward beginnings to a six-year normal move toward confidence and competence. For example, crawling leads to toddling leads to walking leads to running and leaping.

We’ve designed our preschool, elementary school, middles school, high school and initial college systems around this rhythmic four-six-four-six-year developmental sequence. We tend to keep small children at home during their first four years to allow them to begin their development in a sheltered family environment without state standards and assessment programs. They learn basic motor skills, how to talk, and how to get along with their families. In essence, they develop a basic understanding of how their sheltered world works.

At about five years, we say, in effect, Read the rest of this entry »

Memory Problems? Perhaps you are Multi-tasking

Today’s kids are into multi-tasking. This is the generation hooked on iPods, IM’ing, video games – not to mention TV! Many people in my generation think it is wonderful that kids can do all these things simultaneously and are impressed with their competence.

Well, as a teacher of such kids when they reach college, I am not impressed. College students these days have short attention spans and have trouble concentrating. They got this way in secondary school. I see this in the middle-school outreach program I help run. At this age kids are really wrapped up in multi-tasking at the expense of focus.

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study last year, school kids in all grades beyond the second grade committed, on average, more than six hours per day to TV or videos, music, video games, and computers. Almost one-third reported that “most of the time” they did their homework while chatting on the phone, surfing the Web, sending instant messages, watching TV, or listening to music.

Kids think that this entertainment while studying helps their learning. It probably does make learning less tedious, but it clearly makes learning less efficient and less effective. Multi-tasking violates everything we know about how memory works. Now we have objective scientific evidence that Read the rest of this entry »

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