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Issue Date: July 01, 2015
Published Online: February 09, 2016
Updated: January 01, 2020
Habits and Routines of Academically Progressing University Students With Learning and Attention Disorders
Author Affiliations
  • University of Florida
  • University of Florida
  • University of Florida
Article Information
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder / Learning Disabilities / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Basic Research
Poster Session   |   July 01, 2015
Habits and Routines of Academically Progressing University Students With Learning and Attention Disorders
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911505204. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.69S1-PO6101
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911505204. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.69S1-PO6101
Abstract

Date Presented 4/18/2015

In this study, we explore habits, routines, and schedules of university students with learning disabilities and attention disorders. Findings highlight the importance of establishing habits and routines that support participation and performance. Findings expand the understanding of holistic collegiate demands.

SIGNIFICANCE: College demands and environments can present new challenges for developing habits and routines that support collegiate performance and participation. Occupational therapy professionals can contribute unique expertise, which includes task analysis and a focus on person and environmental fit, in supporting college transition. However, occupational therapy expertise is underutilized in the practice area of college transitions (Kardos & White, 2005). This research contributes to the understanding of how habits and routines can support participation and performance for university students with learning disabilities (LDs) and attention disorders (e.g., attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder [ADHD]).
INNOVATION: Findings contribute to the understanding of how academically progressing university students with LDs and ADHD choose to structure their habits, routines, and schedule to meet holistic demands while in college. This research highlights the importance of recognizing that college demands extend beyond the classroom to areas of daily life and participation in social and campus activities. It challenges occupational therapy professionals working with college-bound youths to shift focus away from supporting academic performance to supporting participation within the full range of anticipated college roles.
In this study, we attempt to answer the following research question: How do academically successful university students with LDs/ADHD structure their habits, routines, and schedules to best support occupational performance within their collegiate role?
Slower processing speeds and alterations in perception of time can contribute to organization and time management difficulties for individuals with LDs and ADHD, which can affect development of habits and routines that support academic success.
METHOD: An exploratory qualitative approach was used to investigate strategies used by academically successful university students with LDs/ADHD in developing and maintaining habits and routines. Data were collected as part of a larger study investigating an interprofessional model of personal, interpersonal, and institutional level supports for students with LDs/ADHD.
Participants included 15 academically progressing undergraduate students (8 men, 7 women), aged 18 to 26 yr, with diagnoses of dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADHD, or unspecified LD. Study-related activities occurred on campus at a large research-intensive university.
Data for this qualitative analysis included audio recordings and transcriptions of individual interviews (n = 15) and discussions from participant group meetings (n = 4). Researchers repeatedly read transcripts and listened to audio recordings in which spoken passages were given a descriptive code and were grouped into categories. Codes were searched for relevance to the research question, after which participant utterances were searched for supporting quotes. Researchers met regularly to discuss emergent conceptualizations and to compare emerging ideas to the data.
RESULTS: Participants described reasoning used in prioritizing daily routines. They spoke of the importance of understanding symptoms, self, and the university system in creating and managing a schedule.
CONCLUSION: Establishing effective habits and daily routines can be an important strategy for supporting college success and participation. Exploratory analysis limits generalizability.
References
Kardos, M., & White, B. P. (2005). The role of the school-based occupational therapist in secondary education transition planning: A pilot survey study. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 59, 173–180. http://dx.doi.org/10.5014/ajot.59.2.173