Complicated Launchings: ADHD Kids Grow Up

Sophia K. Havasy, Ph.D.

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All teenagers need to be educated beyond high school. Educated parents tend to expect that their children will, at least, complete a Bachelors Degree. Often, this is taken for granted. What has not been common knowledge is that in the United States, we graduate only about 50% of the students who enroll in colleges and universities. Going to college is easy; getting a degree is the hard part.


For young adults with ADHD, LD, and other assorted letters, I tell parents to think in terms of a 10-Year Plan. With hard work and consistent efforts, maybe it can be an 8-Year Plan, maybe 6. Young people with neurological differences are more likely to be slower to mature than neuro-typical young adults. They easily fall into the category of late bloomers. Helping families to plan for this maturational process and to identify the work that must occur at each step is what I do.

The need for this kind of planning and assistance is growing. In the Houston Chronicle they interviewed a pediatric neurologist who reported, "...70 percent of three-generation families-children, parents, grandparents-have at least one member affected by a neurological disorder..." (Houston Chronicle, Sunday Conversation, 7/10/11). You are not alone as a family.

Young adults and parents need to become realistic. If a longer launching period is indicated, then all involved must plan for the costs. The launching process needs to be based on demonstrated self-management skills the good intentions become reduced in meaning and everyone feels like a failure.

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