ADHD affects about 11 percent of teens in America. It's estimated that 6.4 million children from ages 4-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD or a similar mental disability. One in five children actually gets medicated for their ADHD. Symptoms of ADHD include distractibility, disorganization, poor concentration, hyperactivity, and impulsivity according to Teens Health from KidsHealth.org. The demands of school can affect someone with ADHD in a negative way. For some kids, school makes those symptoms far worse. A Potosi student who preferred to stay anonymous told me about their experience with ADHD in school.
“School is really hard for me. People always say not to let stuff like ADHD define you, but sometimes it's the reason that I act or do certain things.” Sometimes for this student, they can't process anything during a class period. If it's a topic that they aren’t interested in it's harder for them to make themselves do the work. Homework is hard for everyone, but with ADHD, students can literally do everything else before even looking at the homework. ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, but it's so much more than just not paying attention. Some kids get extreme anxiety and depression, which makes it harder to try to keep positive when they feel like their world is falling apart.
Medication is hard for some people to talk about when they need it just to function. This student takes 20mg of Adderall. Without their medication, they feel like they can’t get a single thing done. “Every little movement, to a small noise, and even if something if a bit different then the day before distracts me. Sometimes I can catch myself staring off in space, stuck inside of memories or my own thoughts.” Someone’s personal life always distracts from work or school. ADHD can make you relive both good and bad memories in your head. Sometimes they can be stuck in this memory and other times they can distract themselves from it by doing something else, which is quite hard depending on what happened.
Since there is no cure for people with ADHD, you have to find out ways to cope with certain situations. Everyone has their own ways to cope with things, but this student chooses to listen to music. “When I just need some time for myself, I put in my headphones and listen to my comfort playlist. It kind of feels like someone recharged my social battery.” The kids who can’t handle social situations very well mostly find music helps them most in some situations. “Without music, I get so burnt out, and then I can't push myself to do anything.” ADHD is a pretty big mental illness to try and handle on your own.
Since this student has an official diagnosis and doesn't get help from the special education room, they go to their doctors regularly. Medication is the only way you can get a break from ADHD for a few hours, but it can take multiple tries to get the right medication for you. They also go to therapy to try to cope with the extreme emotions they deal with during school. “Without therapy, I would still be in a deeper hole than I already am in now. I’m grateful for how much I’ve improved and I can't wait to see how far I’ve come in the future.” As time goes on, the illness can get worse or better, but this student is doing pretty well on their own and is able to look forward to a brighter future.