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Blouch: ADHD makes remote learning challenging for some

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Back in March when the rumors of classes going online were evolving from small whispers to an unavoidable truth, like many other students in my position, I panicked. School has always been a struggle for me, and the only thing I could think about was how those struggles would be exasperated in an online environment.

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While the Learning Disabilities Association of America explains that attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder is not technically a learning disorder, it poses many difficulties for students. 

There is no shame in struggling, but there is great pride in getting the help you deserve.”

ADHD is a broad disorder that covers many symptoms, but Mayo Clinic explains that, at its core, it is a disorder that makes it difficult to focus and increases impulsivity. These symptoms do not always translate well to the school environment on a “normal” day, and the online format we’re all struggling to assimilate to is an even greater challenge.

In my personal experience, in-person classes provided a stronger sense of structure that was more conducive to productivity for a brain with ADHD. One common symptom of ADHD, as described by Mayo Clinic, is that people with this disorder often struggle with time management and have difficulties planning ahead.

Schedules with in-person commitments allow individuals with this disorder to have distinct blocks in their schedule, which help to create a more cohesive structure of time throughout the day. Additionally, being on campus can act as a physical primer to trigger a more motivated headspace. 

When classes are completely online, and especially with many being offered as asynchronous, it leaves the individual completely responsible for self-motivation, which is one of the greatest challenges of the disorder. Additionally, this self-motivation must be done in an environment that is inherently distracting. 

At home, there are countless distractions just waiting for the student to latch on to. Though there have been times during in-person classes when I have felt the impulse to check my phone, for example, this urge is often curbed because the professor can see me checking out, and I don’t want to be disrespectful. 

However, giving in to the endless distractions present at home is as simple as turning off the camera during an online lecture. When the material is delivered completely asynchronously, it becomes even easier to give in to the impulses from the disorder and completely neglect schoolwork altogether. This can often leave those with ADHD in a constant game of catch-up. 

“When classes are completely online, and especially with many being offered as asynchronous, it leaves the individual completely responsible for self-motivation, which is one of the greatest challenges of the disorder.”

While living with ADHD can often feel like a silent struggle, it’s important to keep in mind that we are not alone. Many people live with this disorder and are still able to achieve great things. If you have ADHD and you are struggling to cope with the transition to remote learning, remember that there are resources available. 

The Student Disability Center offers many accommodations for students with ADHD, including alternative testing that may allow students extended time on tests, note-taking accommodations that are more conducive to the unique style of learning people with ADHD experience and even small extensions on assignments in some cases. 

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These are difficult times; there is no shame in struggling, but there is great pride in getting the help you deserve. 

Cat Blouch can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @BlouchCat.

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About the Contributor
Cat Blouch
Cat Blouch, Social Media Editor
Cat Blouch is the social media editor at The Collegian. They are a fourth-year student at Colorado State University studying business administration with a concentration in marketing and a minor in statistics from Delta, Colorado. They have been on The Collegian's team since the summer of 2020, starting on the opinion desk and later joining the photo team. Blouch began their social media interest by working on the @colostatememes page on Instagram and looked at the social media editor position as a way to further engage with the CSU community. They are excited to find new ways to hear the voice of the student body and engage more with readers through their positions at The Collegian. Blouch enjoys the flexibility of being able to pursue creativity in multiple mediums at The Collegian. When Blouch is off the clock, you can find them engaging in other creative areas such as creating music, writing poetry or filming a video. They hope to continue their creative pursuits after college through work in marketing analytics and content creation.

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