Vice President International Affairs and Diversity (VP3)

Diversity Thursday: ADHD

Thursday 23 May 2024

With ‘Diversity Thursday’, we (the Diversity Management Team at H-BRS) regularly focus on diversity aspects and anti-discrimination issues on Thursdays. Today's Diversity Thursday addresses ADHD.
Diversity Donnerstag_ADHS
What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological disorder in which the transmission of information between nerve cells in the brain is partially altered.

ADHD is characterised by 3 main symptoms:

  • Hyperactivity (excessive urge to move)
  • Inattention (impaired ability to concentrate)
  • Impulsivity (rash behaviour)

These symptoms do not occur everywhere to the same extent.

Almost all adults with ADHD are characterised by reduced attention. Hyperactivity, which is often very pronounced in childhood, usually decreases in adolescence and adulthood. Nevertheless, many adults with ADHD experience inner restlessness and a strong drive. Impulsiveness can also diminish over time, but many adults have difficulty rethinking spontaneous ideas or maintaining patience.

The effects of these symptoms are clearly noticeable in both professional and private life. Due to these difficulties, many of those affected do not achieve the goals they have set themselves, which often leads to considerable suffering. Appointments are forgotten, agreements are not kept and those affected find it difficult to proceed systematically.

According to the diagnostic system for mental disorders (DSM 5), around 2.5% of adults are affected by ADHD.

Sources in German: Bundesministerium für Gesundheit, - Universitätsklinikum Köln

What strengths and resources can people with ADHD show in their studies?
  • Curiosity
  • Quick comprehension
  • Higher energy resources
  • Sense of justice
  • Resourcefulness
  • Creativity/imagination
  • Flexibility
  • Commitment
  • Working under time pressure

Sources in German: Hennig - ADHS bei Studierenden (Universität Hamburg - Vortrag)

How can ADHD have a negative impact on studying?
  • Poorer time management, disorganisation
  • Procrastination tendencies, slower working style (getting bogged down in detail)
  • Difficulties in maintaining attention
  • Problems with planning and carrying out more complex work processes
  • Difficulties in meeting deadlines

Source in German: Kaufmann et al. - Partizipation von Studierenden mit neurokognitiven Beeinträchtigungen am Beispiel von ADHS und spezifischen Lernstörungen

What helps people with ADHD in their studies?
  • Extended test time: better performance in tasks with high time pressure
  • Formation of smaller group sizes
  • Breaking down tasks into sub-steps
  • Short and clearly formulated tasks
  • Structured answer format
  • Offering oral examinations
  • Providing a low-disturbance but not too isolated environment
  • Application of the Universal Design for Learning

Source in German: Hennig - ADHS bei Studierenden (Universität Hamburg - Vortrag)

Where can students with ADHD find support at H-BRS?
Further links (in German):

Contact Points

Diversity Management


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Grantham-Allee 20

53757 Sankt Augustin

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