Scholarship to assist adults with ADHD

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On March 1, 2013, Shire Canada Incorporated launched a new scholarship to assist adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder who are pursuing a post-secondary education.

This scholarship is the first of its kind in Canada and will be offered to students in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.

Shire Canada is a subsidiary of Shire International, a health-care organization that helps individuals with life-altering health conditions.

The scholarship will give five students with ADHD $1,500 and one year of coaching and specialized ADHD tutoring services. The deadline to apply for the scholarship is March 27, 2013.

President and executive director of the Centre for ADHD Awareness Canada Heidi Bernhardt said that ADHD is a large problem that is difficult to diagnose and treat.

“ADHD is a neurobiological disorder that, in most cases, is genetic,” said Bernhardt. “The three core symptoms are inattention, but more correctly it’s difficulty regulating attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.”

She said that helping post-secondary students with ADHD is important.

“It’s really in the last 15 years that adult ADHD has come to the forefront,” said Bernhardt. “We used to think that children outgrew ADHD in their adolescence. We know that for about 60 per cent of children with ADHD, that is not the case.”

Bernhardt said that ADHD negatively affects students’ ability to learn.

“It’s being able to pay attention, stay focused, stay on task for lengths of time, difficulty in staying focused on the teacher when the lesson is being taught, so their mind doesn’t wander or shut off. They will find that frequently they miss a lot of the instruction,” she said.

Bernhardt said that funding for ADHD is sometimes difficult to find.

“We very rarely get any type of funding for students, children and even adults with ADHD,” said Bernhardt.

Bernhardt said the specialized, one-on-one tutoring students receive will be very beneficial.

“While the $1,500 is nice, a year of coaching is of huge benefit to students in post-secondary and will set them up to be successful,” said Bernhardt. “We know that for people with ADHD, what is extremely important is that they get into a career that interests them, pushes their buttons where they get excited and can actually shine.”

She hopes that the program expands to other parts of Canada and continues in the future.