The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday March 21st

UNC Learning Center hopes to help students, diagnosed or not

Theresa Maitland, an ADHD/Learning Disability specialist at the Learning Center said there are many services on campus, including the Learning Center, the Writing Center and the Office of Accessibility Resources and Service, that help students struggling with ADHD or other learning disabilities.

She said the goal of both the Writing Center and the Learning Center is to help students be the best they can be.

“We provide coaching with a little twist for those who have diagnosed differences,” Maitland said.

Maitland said disclosure of the disorder is not required for appointments although about 20 percent of the people who come to college knowing they have a learning disorder disclose.

Senior Kate Rogers said having ADHD has affected her college experience greatly and she wouldn’t be nearly as successful without the help of ARS. She said it bothers her when students without a diagnosis use ADHD medication to boost their abilities.

“Most people don’t know this but ADHD people take medication just to be able to perform average,” she said. “For people to benefit from the medicine without actually needing it is extremely frustrating.”

Maitland said her job is to help students understand and accept themselves while loving their differences.

“People with ADHD or another learning disability are not bad, lazy, stupid or have a character flaw,” Maitland said. “There could be something going on that truly is a biological difference, not damage, that there are solutions to.”

Rebecca Shores, a senior teaching fellow in the English department currently pursuing her Ph.D., said she was diagnosed with ADD at 19.

“I had always been studious, I had been well-mannered to everyone but my parents, and so it never occurred to anyone that I had it, because I didn’t have the hyperactivity issue,” she said.

Shores said she wants people to be comfortable disclosing their disorder and that she is trying to break down the stigma behind different learning disabilities.

“My primary schtick is that anytime ADD is in the news it is always about over-diagnosis or medicine, so it is always about stimulants or doctors and never about the people who are actually dealing with this, and I think that that is really, really harmful,” she said.

Shores and Maitland will run an ADHD/LD awareness booth in the Pit on Oct. 25.

“I’m just trying to make learners more comfortable, and being out and visible is a part of that. I want people to be able to advocate for themselves,” Shores said.


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