Written by Emily G., Grade 6 Public Speaking Unit
Why is her locker so messy?
Why does he always interrupt the teacher?
She forgot her gym clothes at home again?
Why does she get to use a calculator on the math test and I can’t?
Why is she always doodling on her classwork?
The examples I just gave are some of the characteristics found in people with ADHD and I am one of them. ADHD is a medical disorder. I am going to talk about what that means, what it’s like for me to live with ADHD and some of the ways to help people manage their ADHD.
To begin with, ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. ADHD is usually divided into three types: inattentive-distractible type, hyperactive-impulsive type and combined type. I have been diagnosed with the combined type. Some of the symptoms you would see in someone with inattentive ADHD would be not giving attention to details in schoolwork, difficulty listening even when being spoken to directly, avoiding tasks that are going to be mentally difficult, losing things easily and being forgetful. Common symptoms of hyperactive-impulsive ADHD are fidgeting, squirming or getting up from your seat when you aren’t supposed to, difficulty staying quiet or interrupting, talking excessively, blurting out answers or difficulty waiting for a turn.
Next, ADHD can affect everybody differently. For those of you who know me well, outside of the classroom, I can be extremely talkative. I get very distracted in class by all sorts of things that are happening around me such as someone making noises, daydreaming or doodling on my papers. I work very hard to concentrate in school and by the end of the day, my brain is very tired and I have a hard time focusing on getting my homework done. This often causes my mom to get frustrated with me. When it comes to doing my work, sometimes it is hard and gets overwhelming because I have trouble getting started and organizing my thoughts. In addition, I have a hard time falling asleep at night because my brain is always “on” so I often lie in my bed drawing in my notebook until I get tired. I often get sidetracked, especially when I don’t want to do the main task in front of me. I know that is common for all kids, but it is really hard for me to get back to my work because I forget things easily. I get most frustrated when I work really hard for a test but still don’t get a good mark on it.
Finally, it is usually a parent or a teacher who will suspect a child has ADHD. For me, when I was six years old, I was working with a language therapist on my reading and she noticed how I was avoiding doing the work with her and I was easily distracted. So I went to see a doctor who specializes in ADHD and I was diagnosed. I see my doctor every month and she prescribes me medication which I take every day. It really helps me focus while I am in school. There are many different types of medications to help ADHD, but there is no cure for ADHD. I get help in school from the CDL department and I have an IEP so my teachers know how to help me in a way that is best for me. This includes using voice to text technology because it is sometimes hard for me to write down all of the things I am thinking. I also get to use aids that help me with things that are hard to remember and extra time or reduced questions on tests.
To conclude, living with ADHD is pretty much all I have ever known and I actually really love having it because it is a special part of my identity. ADHD can be different for everyone. While I am easily distracted, very talkative and have trouble focusing, I am lucky that I have a great support system in my family, my teachers, my doctor and my friends. I view my ADHD in a positive way because I know it isn’t a bad thing and it actually helps me see the world a little differently. I hope I have given you some information to view ADHD and those who have it a little differently too.