Something you may not know about ADHD is it stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, but what they don’t tell you about ADHD is that it is a behavioral disorder, not a learning one. Since ADHD is occasionally treated like a learning disorder people tend to confuse the two. The reason it is so important to stress that ADHD is a behavioral disorder not a learning one is because learning disorder effect people when they have to do something scholastically stimulating, behavioral disorders effect every movement the person makes.
I was diagnosed with severe ADHD when I was nine years old. During this time the tests compared my attention span to that of a three year old. Not only could I not sit still, I constantly found myself breaking the rules, and not noticing it. When I was in third grade bathroom privileges were taken away from me. That seems like a cruel thing to do to a 8 year old but I was actually for my own protection. On a number of occasions I would ask for the bathroom pass and leave the class room. One of the times my teacher’s aide found me swinging on the playground an hour later. The second time they stopped me right before I crossed a main Chicago city street during lunch hour traffic. The final time I asked for a bathroom pass I was missing for 4 hours. My parents were called from work and immediately went straight to school. My teachers, school staff, parents and half of the Chicago Police Department spent the entire afternoon looking for me. Finally my dad had the idea that I may have found my way home. When they got there I was sitting on our living room couch watching afternoon cartoons. The problem was I had no idea I had done something wrong. I had left the classroom with full intentions to use the bathroom then go straight back. That’s one of the problems with ADHD, young children who have it can’t always decipher right, from wrong. When I wondered on to the playground I wasn’t thinking “oh I shouldn’t be doing this” I was thinking “wow the sun looks so pretty I want to play outside” so I did. When I went to cross the street I wasn’t thinking “these cars don’t know I’m crossing I could get hurt” I was thinking “oh my, that’s a cute kitty on the other side.” And honest to God truth, my parents told me that when they asked me why I walked all the way home from school half way through the day, I told them I wanted gummy worms, then saw that the show Rug Rats was on and wanted to watch it. Not once did I think about the consequences of my actions simply because unlike other kids, I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong.
The problem with ADD and ADHD these days is that every parent who’s got a lazy misbehaving child thinks they have that. The difference between those children and myself is that I genuinely try to do the right thing (most of the time .. hey I’m still human) and somehow still end up next to the class ditchers and cigarette smokers in detention. Even though I am prescribed medication that helps me focus and taken several organizational and study classes I still have moments where everyone from the outside looking in thinks “wow .. there’s no way she didn’t know that was wrong.”
Before I came to college my parents tried to wean me off of my medicines so that I could live like every other college student. Unfortunately in less than a month I almost failed out of high school. Not because I didn’t try, I was in my room every single night studying .. well trying to study. When you have ADHD studying without the correct tools is kind of like trying to drive a car with no motor. It just doesn’t start. I would be in my room for four or five hours at a time building notecard towers and using my desk tape, pencils, post its, anything really to make funny faces at myself in the mirror. Literally you could lock me in an all-white room with a loose leaf and pencil and I would find 101 ways to use it that doesn’t involve writing anything. When I had to get retested as an 18 year old, before I left for college, much to my parents despair, my attention span was compared to that of a 12 year old.
This isn’t a paper written to complain about all the scholastic obstacles I’ve overcome. This is a paper informing those who don’t have ADHD, they’re missing out. I mean heck .. I got more recess time than any of you! I see the world in a way that is different than anyone else I’ve ever met, and I wouldn’t change that for anything. My fiancé says his favorite time of day is when I come back from Walmart because I am the only one that can leave to get eggs and milk and come back with a Cyclamen plant, light bulbs, a rubber dodge ball and a baby thermometer. All things that I thought were way more necessary than eggs and milk. There you have it ADHD is a behavioral disorder that allows you to torture your teacher, family and significant other for all eternity. =]