Ages 18-24 yrs

Ages 18-24 yrs
ADHD Symptoms
Assessment and Diagnosis
ADHD Treatment
ADHD and Education

Common symptoms

Everyone has some of these symptoms occasionally, but those with adult ADHD have more of these symptoms consistently and to a level that is impairing their daily functioning at work, school, and home. These symptoms may be fairly consistent, vary according to the situation or fluctuate without control.

  • Fidgeting and squirming
  • Problems remaining seated
  • Talking excessively and at inappropriate times
  • Often running and climbing
  • Standing instead of sitting at the table
  • Unable to settle into a quiet activity
  • Constantly on the go
  • Frequently handling or touching objects and other people
  • Acting or reacting before considering consequences
  • Butting into conversations
  • Blurting out answers in the classroom
  • Beginning work before instructions are given
  • Disturbing others who are playing
  • Grabbing others belongings
  • Touching, grabbing hitting others
  • Problems waiting for turn or standing in line
  • Making impulsive decisions
  • Difficulty regulating, switching and prioritizing attention, including over-focusing on stimulating activities
  • Easily distracted from the task at hand by noises or things going on around them
  • Frequently looking around
  • Difficulty staying focused on one activity
  • Daydreaming
  • Not focusing on speaker when spoken to
  • Unable to remember verbal instructions
  • Misinterpreting instructions
  • Unable to pay attention to details
  • Difficulty completing work without being reminded
  • Losing things
  • Difficulty organizing belongings and work
  • Difficulty starting things
  • Forgetting normal routines
  • Inattention
  • Easily distracted
  • Incomplete work
  • Problems with getting homework done
  • Problems bringing homework and necessary books home
  • Difficulty remembering to hand work in
  • Not able to produce the same amount and/or level of school work as others
  • Need for repeated instructions
  • Misinterpreting instruction and questions on assignments or tests
  • Difficulty with handwriting
  • Difficulty understanding what is read
  • Careless errors
  • Problems paying attention to details
  • Problems with spelling and math
  • Problems with sequencing
  • Forgetting deadlines or difficulty completing work on time
  • Problems with organizing larger assignments and projects
  • Problems starting assignments
  • Frequent daydreaming and presenting as spacey
  • Excessive talking and interrupting others
  • Blurting out answers
  • Unable to sit still, constantly on the move
  • Touching, pushing and grabbing others or things impulsively
  • Interrupting others at play
  • Problems dealing with frustration
  • Tentative and unsure of trying new things and learning new skills
  • Reluctant to volunteer answers or be called upon
  • Does not make or keep friends easily
  • Unable to change focus or start and stop activities

Medical professionals that may assess/diagnose (and treat) ADHD:

The most important thing to note is that the medical professional you choose must be knowledgeable about ADHD.

Who can Assess and Diagnose ADHD
Wait time
Is there a Cost
Referral from a family physician or walk in clinic
Who can Assess and Diagnose ADHD
Family Physician (with ADHD training)
Wait time
1-8 weeks
Is there a Cost
No - Covered under provincial health plan (i.e OHIP)
Referral from a family physician or walk in clinic
Who can Assess and Diagnose ADHD
Adult psychiatrist
Wait time
1-12 months
Is there a Cost
No - Covered under provincial health plan (i.e OHIP)
Referral from a family physician or walk in clinic
Who can Assess and Diagnose ADHD
Psychologist (with ADHD training) – Psychologists cannot prescribe medication
Wait time
2-12  weeks
Is there a Cost
Yes – workplace or private benefits may cover a portion of the cost. Fee is approximately $1,000-$4,000
Referral from a family physician or walk in clinic
Who can Assess and Diagnose ADHD
Neurologist (with ADHD training)
Wait time
Is there a Cost
No - Covered under provincial health plan (i.e OHIP)
Referral from a family physician or walk in clinic

Questions to ask your healthcare provider:

  • What is the current wait time?
  • Do they provide long term follow-up care?
  • Is a full screening for other potential medical disorders part of the assessment process?
  • Are there additional cost associated with the ADHD assessment

Physicians, Pediatricians, Psychiatrists, Neurologists

The assessment and diagnosis of ADHD by a medical professional is generally covered by your provincial health care plan, however, always ask if any additional fees will be charged.

The potential diagnosis of ADHD should include;

  • A medical history
  • As psychiatric medical history
  • Screening to rule out any possible physical disorders
  • Vision and hearing test


Psychologists may assess and diagnose ADHD, but they cannot prescribe medication. Psychologists are not covered by provincial health care plans, but may be partially covered by private health coverage. Speak to the psychologist prior to contacting your private insurance provider.

Psychoeducational assessments are different from an ADHD assessment.

Children who are struggling academically may seek a psychoeducational assessment to assess whether any coexisting learning disabilities (LDs) may exist along with ADHD. A complete assessment of a child’s learning strengths and needs is essential for a student who continues to be impaired at school. Psycho-educational assessments cost approximately $2,000-$4,000

Important Things to Know About the Health Care Professional that you choose:

  • Their expertise in the area of ADHD
  • Their accreditation and registration (pertinent to a psychologist’s ability to diagnosis)
  • What is the current wait time?
  • Do they provide long term follow-up care?
  • Is a full screening for other potential medical disorders part of the assessment process?

For more information about ADHD assessments please contact our Resource Navigator at

Treatment of ADHD in Young Adults

ADHD should be treated using a “multimodal approach”. Simply put, this means using more than one type of treatment. Examples of ADHD treatments are listed below

Educating parents, individuals, and any other adults who routinely interact with the child about ADHD is the first and most important component of an ADHD treatment plan. Studies have shown that providing education on ADHD greatly increases the chance that treatment will continue long term. 

For a list of CADDAC programs please refer to the following pages

Parenting programs
Conferences and Workshops

Individuals with ADHD may struggle to keep up with school demands. Therefore it is important to seek classroom accommodations to ensure academic success

For additional resources on ADHD and Education please refer to  ADHD and  Education section

Post secondary accommodation chart

For a list of classroom accommodations in post secondary please download document

Download PDF

Individuals with ADHD learn differently than their neurotypical counterparts and therefore it can be beneficial to hire an ADHD tutor to help your child if they are struggling academically.

 For a list of  ADHD tutors please refer to our Resource map

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is a form of therapy that focuses on emotion regulation, maladaptive behaviour, and cognitive processes that are impairing to daily functioning. CBT has shown to be beneficial for individuals with ADHD
To read more about Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and how it can help adults with ADHD refer to the article Research: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Helps Adults with ADHD by Dr. David Rabiner

For a list of ADHD psychological clinics please refer to our Resource map

ADHD coaching addresses the academic, vocational, emotional, and interpersonal life difficulties that are a result of the core ADHD symptoms and tries to help individuals find a way to overcome these challenges.

To see a list of ADHD coaches: Resource map

To see CADDAC’s ADHD coaching programs: Coaching programs

Research is finding that getting regular exercise can improve cognitive functioning and may improve ADHD symptom. Exercise produces several hormones that can benefit brain functioning and help improve focus.

Below are two articles about the benefits of exercise  for individuals' with ADHD

Mindfulness can assist with better awareness of attention, manage stress, be less reactive to impulsive thoughts and be less judgmental of ADHD symptoms.

Sleep plays a major role in our health and development. For example, sleep is important for learning, attention, and memory, academic achievement, and even physical growth1, 2. As such, it is important for children to get age-appropriate quality and quantity of sleep! According to the National Sleep Foundation, school aged children (6-13 years old) should receive between 9 and 11 hours of sleep each night3. Children who sleep less or who have poor quality sleep (e.g., up and down throughout the night) will not be able to perform their best during the day, especially in school.


ADHD and Sleep

How the COVID-19 Crisis is Changing Sleep: Implications for Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Download PDF
In uncomplicated cases of ADHD, medication management is fairly straight forward and effective with minimal side effects. ADHD medication has been around for more than fifty years and there are thousands of published research papers on their safety and efficacy. There are two types of medications used to manage ADHD medication. For more information on medication please speak with a medical professional

  1. Stimulant medication.
  2. Non-stimulant medication

Please refer to the charts below for information on specific medications

Post-Secondary Education

Starting post-secondary education can be a stressful time for students with ADHD. The impairment in planning, organization, and time management are often the reason that difficulties arise. Assignments can pile up, instructions can be misinterpreted, due dates, missed or forgotten, all which can trigger stress and anxiety. That is why it is important for all students with ADHD, regardless of age, to seek accommodations before the school year begins. Below you will find resources to help you be successful in your studies.

Classroom Accommodations in Post-secondary

For a detailed list of classroom accommodations in the post secondary environment, please download this document

Download PDF
Instructions on how to use this chart

For instructions on how to use this chart please refer to this doument

Download PDF

Types of Classroom Accommodations

Accommodations come in three distinct categories; instructional, environmental, and assessment. The following lists are examples of interventions that may impact the success of the ADHD student.

Types of accommodations chart

For a list of the different types of classroom accommodations please download this document

Download PDF

Additonal Resources

Documentation required for accommodations at select colleges and universities across Canada

Post-Secondary Required Documentation Chart

For a list of what documents are required for post-secondary accommodations, please refer to this list of select universities and colleges in Canada

Download PDF
CADDAC has developed this toolkit to help you and your parents prepare for your transition to college or university and into the post-secondary environment (PSE).
Transitioning to Post Secondary Education for Students with ADHD Toolkit

Please access this toolkit for information on how to make a smooth tranisition from high school to post-secondary

Download PDF
Understanding ADHD as a Disability in the Post-Secondary Environment

CADDAC has written a policy paper on ADHD in the post-secondary environment

Download PDF
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