It is estimated that 11% of students are affected by ADHD at some point in their lives. This disorder makes it difficult for those impacted to manage time, stay organized, and focus on tasks of daily living. At university, where these things are not only expected, but requisite for success, it is easy for students to fall behind if they don’t have access to academic and organizational support. This is why the McGill Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) has made a point of making testing services for ADHD more accessible, in order to allow students to get the help they deserve.
ADHD testing can cost up to $1800, which is why many students who think they may have an attention deficit disorder live without an official diagnosis. With this in mind, OSD is making this testing available to McGill students at one third of the cost. They are also working with the Scholarship and Student Aid Office to assist students who may still have trouble paying this amount with low interest loans.
After diagnosis, students can qualify for a wide variety of accommodations that aim to make their experience easier during their time at McGill. These services include tutoring, access to notes taken by a peer, exam accommodations, and more. These accommodations are tailored to meet the needs of each student who seeks them.
OSD hopes that with a diagnosis, students will feel empowered to take control of their learning and utilize the resources they have access to. The actual diagnosis is essential, because while some accommodations may be made without one, an individual accommodation plan cannot be made until a diagnosis is in hand. This further underscores the importance of affordable and accessible testing.
Impact for Students on Campus
Teri Phillips, Director of the Office for Students with Disabilities, was able to provide insight into how ADHD testing can be translated into tangible accommodation for students on campus.
Phillips explained that “having this testing service integrated into OSD provides seamless service for students who are facing immediate barriers and require academic accommodation. It allows those students to access temporary accommodation, based on an initial screening, during the time in which they are waiting for their assessment. This type of holistic assessment and support service speaks to McGill’s genuine commitment to supporting student success.” Phillips maintained that OSD aims to make students feel supported during the entire process of determining their specific academic needs.
What’s Coming Next
OSD wants to do more than simply break down the barriers for students with ADHD, and the program is set to expand by Fall 2018.
Phillips highlighted that there will be a “revisioning of our Learning Resource portfolio with plans to launch a more robust and holistic support program in the Fall of 2018. This will include resources across a spectrum ranging from self-directed, through to one-on-one support.”
OSD is also hoping to get McGill faculty involved in order to work towards catering teaching methods to student needs. It is Phillips’ hope that this will improve the learning environment as a whole and make students feel more connected to what they are being taught in the classroom.