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New University of Calgary program aims to help students with ADHD

Click to play video: 'University of Calgary hopes to ease transition for students with ADHD' University of Calgary hopes to ease transition for students with ADHD
WATCH: A new program at the University of Calgary aims to help first and second-year students with ADHD adjust to life on campus. Joel Senick explains why those with the disorder believe it will be a critical tool for their success – Dec 7, 2017

High school senior Brett Magdee admits his upcoming move to university is both exciting and nerve-racking.

“This school is based on each individual student whereas university is more based on everyone at once,” Magdee said in an interview Thursday.

Magdee attends a special education school in Calgary that helps him to thrive academically, despite having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). When he steps on campus at the University of Calgary (U of C) next year, there will be a specific group-based program that aims to continue his success, and others who are dealing with the disorder.

“The transition to university is challenging for all students,” U of C assistant professor Emma Climie said.

“For students with ADHD, they also have the additional organizational challenges, time management challenges.”

Those with ADHD can have trouble concentrating, sitting still and can be impulsive, according to medical experts.

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READ MORE: Cases of ADHD diagnosed in adulthood are on the rise, study suggests

A recent study found that around five per cent of respondents from the U of C’s student body indicated they had been diagnosed with the disorder.

“If we don’t have a program like this, that addresses this significant number of students, it will be very difficult for them,” Debbie Bruckner, a director in the university’s student and enrollment services said.

Climie and Alana Dietrich, a psychology student with the disorder, are behind the new program. They plan for around a dozen first and second year students with ADHD to take part next year in a six-week program that will focus on a number of life skills necessary for a new university student.

“Teaching organization, time management, providing supplies, providing opportunities for them to practice those skills,” said Climie.

Magdee said he would like to take part in the group when he begins university next fall.

“Then I know that there’s other people going through the same stuff that I am in my first year,” he said.

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