We have all seen many reports and articles on ADHD from doctors, parents, teachers and other educators all speaking on their experience with ADHD through someone they are associated with. How often do you actually see anything written in a firsthand perspective from someone who actually lives with ADHD? In this post we will share the following article with the writer remaining anonymous so that you may get an understanding from the perspective of the person who deals with ADHD on a daily basis.
As someone who grew up in a time before the prevalence of prescribing medication for anything and everything considered a disorder I had to learn to deal with and manage my ADHD on my own. When I was a young boy there was no such diagnosis, I was considered by everyone to be hyperactive and overly curious and easily bored. Yet, I had an IQ far above normal levels and was reading on a college level in 2nd grade.
I am stating this information not to boast, but for others to understand that the vast majority of those being diagnosed with ADHD are the same. They are far above average intelligence and they suffer in traditional classroom environments not because they cannot understand the information, but because they either already know it, the subject matter is boring to them, or there are too many distractions.
In many cases, we are thinking about or considering other things in our mind that are far above that which is being taught to us and hence the boredom. Some of us learn on our own and have already learned the information that teachers are attempting to relay on a much lower level than our own level of comprehension. This being said, in almost every case, those of us with ADHD are very easily distracted. Now I am going to explain to you why this is.
The normally “wired” person can simply tune things out. Many of you reading this know what I am speaking of here. You can have your spouse speaking to you while you are reading the paper or reading something online and you won’t hear a word they say. This is not the case for those of us with ADHD. We take in EVERYTHING all at the same time! We can’t tune things out like everyone else. We can learn to focus more on one thing over another but our brains are simply created differently, and this has been proven by science. http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/news/news/1000146/
Now let me tell you how I see it from MY point of view, having lived it for over 50 years. We are born information gatherers. That is OUR purpose. We were made the way we are to able to take in as much information as possible in the shortest amount of time possible. When we are taught in a manner that works with the way we learn, then we can be more productive and retain more information than the average person, the problem lies in trying to put those with ADHD in the same teaching environment as everyone else.
For example, if you place a child with ADHD in the back of a classroom with everyone else then the child with ADHD is taking in everything that is happening in that room. The scratching of little Johnny’s pencil next to him, Jimmy and Jill passing notes back and forth, the bird chirping outside are ALL vying for the ADHD child’s attention because his brain is designed to take in EVERY experience. Every sight, every sound, every touch, every taste.
For the person with ADHD, the thing that is the most distant is the least important. Hence, the teacher at the blackboard may not even exist. If there is too much distraction between the child and the teacher, then the teaching gets lost in the mix of everything else that is going on. At the same time, the person with ADHD may be able to actually do many things at one time, but in order to be focused the other distractions must be removed.
The solution in classroom environment is to put the ADHD child at the front of the class instead of at the back, as many teachers do because they attribute the ADHD child as the source of the distraction, when in fact, this is not the case. He or she is simply reacting to the environment in which they are in.
I hope that this first person viewpoint can help those who do not have this “difference” to understand that we are NOT inferior in any way but simply receive and process information in a different manner. If the general public would stop looking upon those diagnosed with ADHD as having a disability but rather having a “different ability” we could make far more progress in treating it effectively. This is why I am a proponent for the recent work being done with neurofeedback for ADHD. It helps to train the neuropathways to perform in a more efficient manner as opposed to masking the symptoms with drugs. Drugs are NOT the answer.