What is ADHD? The Mayo Clinic defines attention-deficit/hyperactivity
disorder (ADHD) to be a “chronic condition that affects millions of
children and often continues into adulthood. ADHD includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior.” ADHD is often diagnosed in childhood and is most likely a condition that is carried on throughout adulthood. Often times children with ADHD will struggle with their self-esteem may have trouble with relationships, and may have poor performance in school. These symptoms can sometimes lessen as the child begins to grow into adulthood but some may never outgrow their childhood ADHD symptoms. There is no cure for ADHD but there are treatments and treatments that include medication and behavioral interventions.
Symptoms to look for in your child:
Failure to pay close attention to details
Having trouble staying focused on tasks
Appear to not be listening even when being spoken to directly
Having a hard time staying seated
Feeling the constant need to fidget
I asked one of our RWC tutors, Hannah Leece, about her experience with ADHD.
I asked Hannah to describe what having ADHD is like to someone
who has not been diagnosed with ADHD and she said that she would describe it as "like being on high alert all the time. You notice everything around you; all the little sounds that neurotypical people or people who don't have ADHD
usually tune out. It's also like making really fast connections in your brain."
Hannah stated that ADHD has affected her academic journey in mostly her fourth-grade year but sometimes still affects her to this day. She stated that "I started showing a lot of symptoms then (fourth grade), which led me to do really badly in my classes because I was just zoning out the entire time since I had so much to think about all the time and couldn't focus on my schoolwork. I had to try really hard to focus in class which to this day can be really hard because that means catching myself when I zone out and making sure I catch what the teacher says, and if I don't, hope that it wasn't very important."
Hannah says that ADHD doesn't only affect her academic progress but it also affects her daily life doing things such as listening to someone speak or even telling a story of her own. She mentioned that "I can zone out a lot, even when I'm talking to someone. I'll also go down a lot of rabbit holes when telling a story or explaining something because I just get all these thoughts in my head."
Since Hannah has been diagnosed with ADHD for many years now, she has been able to find ways to manage her diagnosis. And although she has been able to manage her ADHD she states that it is still a very real part of her life, it is her reality. She likes to put classical music on to help her focus and drown out all the sounds around her that may cause her to become distracted. When Hannah was younger and first got diagnosed her parents decided to put her on medication to help her with her ADHD, but her mom would eventually take her off of it and Hannah says that that was when she really had to begin to push herself to stay focused. When receiving her diagnosis, Hannah says that she was really young and it was hard for her to remember but what she does know about her diagnosis is from what the people around her have told her about it.
Hannah says that when she began to show symptoms of ADHD her grades began to crash and she began to flunk a lot of her classes. She felt scared thinking that it was her fault and that she would get in trouble for not having a high performance in school. "But then I was told that it's because I have ADHD, and so I went to doctor visits and stuff and they assessed me, put me on medication, took me to a psychiatrist, that sort of thing."
Hannah ends her statement with a quote that I think should be shared with everyone,
"There's also the whole stigma around having it (ADHD) and the way people stereotype it, how people say ableist things like 'well you don't really have ADHD, you're normal to me.' Normal isn't a synonym for neurotypical, and I don't think that it should be regarded as such."
Become educated about ADHD! Additional resources: