ADHD: Ready or Not! Launching into Young Adulthood – CHADD Conference 2019

Recently we had the privilege of attending the 30th Annual CHADD Conference on November 8, 2019, in Philadelphia, PA. We heard so many terrific talks, some of which we will be discussing on this blog in the next couple of weeks.

One excellent session – ADHD: Ready or Not! Launching into Young Adulthood – featured Chris A. Zeigler Dendy, MS and Ruth H. Hughes, PhD who shared important insights into why students with ADHD have such difficulty as they enter into their college and adult years.  Parent surveys indicated that:

  • College was challenging – high rate of dropping out
  • Many students had co-occurring disorders
  • Difficulties with relationships, financial management
  • Shorter job tenures than normal
  • Both anxiety and depression appeared to be major factors in adult life.

On the positive side:

  • Job terminations were not more frequent than non-ADHD peers.
  • Given enough time and continued support – many ADHD young adults found successful careers.

Many students had a tough transition to adulthood but found their way to success.

Data presented on college and career paths indicated that:

  • 33% of all students drop out of college but 70-80% of those with ADHD drop out
  • College often a “revolving door” for ADHD
  • Only 3 in 10 parents guide child toward specialized or vocational training.
  • Only 10% of teens seek vocational training, yet there’s a great need for specialized professionals

Why do students have such difficulty?

  • Delayed brain maturity
  • Deficits in executive functions
  • Un-diagnosed/untreated learning challenges
  • Coexisting conditions: Anxiety, depression n Lack confidence b/c previous failures
  • Lack skills for management of independent living and completion of school work.

What can we do to help students have a better transition to adulthood?

  1. Teach them EF skills needed for school and for real life
  2. Provide them with education about alternative pathways
  3. Reframe students and parents thinking about careers – and start early!!!

The 6 Job Skills in High Demand right now:

  • Technology computer skills: CAD (computer aided design)
  • Digital Skills: skills utilizing data and working with AI (Artificial Intelligence).
  • Programming skills for robots/ automation:
  • Working with tools and technology:
  • Analytical problem-solving skills:
  • Ability to adapt to new technology:

Check out more of Chris Dendy’s work at or follow them on Facebook at @chrisdendyadhd for news updates.

There are many ways for students to launch into successful adults!  Let us help them find their pathway to success. Check out our main ILD site and our sister sites ResearchILD and SMARTS Online

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