VCU’s Division for Inclusive Excellence hosted an event on living and succeeding with ADHD in the Student Commons on Friday afternoon.
Robert Tudisco, an attorney, non-profit consultant and motivational speaker, shared stories and advice on his experiences with ADHD with a group of nearly 50 people.
“When I was in college I was clearly suffering from ADHD but I did not know because I was undiagnosed, so a number of years after my diagnosis I put together a number of coping mechanisms through a number of different processes,” Tudisco said.
Some of those methods included medication, exercise and therapy, Tudisco said. He compared ADHD to an airport with a numerous international planes flying in trying to land on one strip. In order to organize his thoughts, he tried and failed to record them on a tape recorder which helped him discover he was more of a visual learner.
“One of the things that I want to impress upon them is that I’m not telling them the coping methods that I did, what I’m telling them is the process that I used to take a good hard look at yourself … and how you can work around that,” Tudisco said in an interview before the presentation.
He said people have different strengths, need to learn to work around their weaknesses.
“The key is to know yourself,” he said.
Tudisco recommended exercise and coaching as a way to cope with ADHD symptoms. One coaching organization he worked with is the EDGE Coaching, a life coaching organization.
“The most important thing I think is that they should know that they’re not alone,” he said. “There are a lot of us out there just like them and sometimes there’s a comfort knowing that you’re not alone.”
Sophomore social work major Zina Mason said she appreciated having somebody talk about the other issues with ADHD.
“I thought it was very informative as a student who has ADHD. I am affected by parents and people who don’t properly understand all of things that go into being a kid with ADHD,” she said.
Mason heard about the event through an email from the Americans with Disabilities Act services on campus.
ADA coordinator Paula McMahon heard Tudisco present while at a national conference and was encouraged to have him speak at VCU.
“His expertise led itself to a higher education setting and worked with a lot of the issues that were brought to my attention from students and staff at the university,” McMahon said.
McMahon said she was encouraged by faculty, staff and students to do more events similar to this where students who have disabilities can receive advice on how to balance them with their work or school lives.
“(My main goal is) to demystify the stigma that surround issues like ADD and ADHD, and talk about the fact that there are strategies that can accommodate somebody in the community, in the classroom and in the workplace to be able to negotiate that,” McMahon said.