Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder

  1. Definition

    Attention Deficit Disorder/Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurobiological condition that is manifested in a persistent pattern of inattention, impulsivity, or hyperactivity. It arises during childhood and is attributed neither to gross sensory, language, or motor impairment, nor to mental retardation or severe emotional disturbances.

    Background Information

    ADD/ADHD is documented through a comprehensive evaluation that establishes a diagnosis, rules out other causes, and determines the presence or absence of other conditions. This evaluation will often include intelligence testing plus the assessment of academic, social, and emotional functioning and developmental abilities. Measure of attention span and impulsivity will also be used. A medical exam by a physician is also important. Students with ADD/ADHD may have accompanying learning disabilities or other disabilities such as anxiety or depression that can impact their college learning experience. Accommodations for students with learning disabilities may be appropriate for students with ADD/ADHD. One major difference between ADD/ADHD and learning disabilities if that some symptoms of ADD/ADHD respond to medication. There is no known medical treatment for learning disabilities.

  2. Common ADD/ADHD problems / deficits exhibited

    Classroom Environment

    • Difficulty adapting to a new instructor.

    • Difficult adjusting to new classroom routines, procedures or directions.

    • Easily distracted by others, movements, and noises.


    • Inability to sustain attentions for long periods of time.

    • Inability to listen selectively during lectures.
      Difficulty attending to one thing for a long period of time.

    • Unaware of verbal cues.


    • Impulsivity, blurting out answers.
    • May interrupt peers.


    • May be too stimulating and distract the student for learning the material.

    In class work/ homework

    • Difficulty in being prepared for class, keeping appointments, and getting to class on time.
    • Poor time management.
    • High volume activity with poor follow-through on task completion.
    • Problems starting and completing task
    • Chronic procrastination.
    • Difficulty attending to details / directions. Forgetting details.
    • Difficulty writing on the line.


    • Difficulty attaining to one thing for a long period of time.


    • Problems staying on task and completing work properly.
    • Forgetfulness

    • Fidgeting or difficulty staying in one's seat for long periods of time.

  3. Possible Accommodations

    Classroom Environment

    • Stick to a schedule
    • Incorporate breaks
    • Avoiding high traffic seating areas
    • Encourage sitting in the front


    • Give instructions in more than one way, i.e. both orally and in writing – make sure they are concise.
    • Use of multiple teaching modalities – visual aids, hands-on activities, work groups, as well as lectures.
    • Walk around the classroom.
    • Know students interests and incorporated them in to lecture.
    • Use of notetakers or copies of instructor’s notes, overheads, or PowerPoint presentations.


    • Pause before asking questions.
    • Signal student before calling on them.
    • Practice turn taking in classroom discussions.


    • Textbooks in alternate formats (CD, electronic).
    • Use of a blank card or paper to assist in reading.

    In class work / homework

    • Advance syllabus prior to the start of classes.
    • Simplify complex directions / avoid multiple instructions.
    • Use of tape recorders and/or laptop computers in class.
    • Decrease the length of assignments.
    • Break up complex assignments into smaller segments.
    • Give directions verbally and in written forms.
    • Post a list of steps needed in order to complete an assignment.
    • Allow alternative forms of completing assignments.
    • Extended time to complete assignments.


    • Exams in a quiet, distraction-free environment.
    • Set up study guides and review sheets for exams.
    • Extended time for tests.
    • Allow breaks during tests.
    • Alternate testing arrangements such as oral tests, essay vs. multiple choice.
    • Use of calculator, spell checker, thesaurus, reader and/or scribe during exams.


    • Goal setting
    • Teach learning strategies.
    • Teach organizational skills.
    • Recommend a tutor if you feel it is necessary.

    Equipment available at Raynor Library to assist students with ADD/ADHD at Marquette:

    Kurzweil 3000 software system
    Reading Edge
    Cassette recorders/ CD player

*For more information please visit our Assistive Technology page.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact the Office of Disability Services


Our Mission

Marquette University's Office of Disability Services is dedicated to providing equal access within the classroom setting, through the determination of appropriate accommodations, for students with documented disabilities. ODS promotes accessibility awareness through collaboration with campus partners, the development of student self-advocacy, and through consultation with the broader community. Guided by the university's mission, we strive to support the Marquette community in their efforts to educate all students on campus.