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You are HERE >>  Learning Disabilities : ADD/ADHD : 
Target Audience : Parents and Educators with ADD/ADHD children 

 Suggestions from a High School Student with ADHD
by Marty Weis
April 30, 2004

    ADHD and ADD today are almost always classified as a defect or a kind of fault in your child's mind that will make him, well, handicapped for the rest of his life. For those people that believe that ADD is some kind of defect, it definitely is not. I am a high school student with ADHD, the worst diagnosable disorder for the category "attention deficit". It almost literally slaps a label upon my forehead that says, "Hyperactive and Unfocused." Though through my personal studies of psychology, i have actually reasoned out several reasons why ADD and ADHD occurs and what triggers it. ADD is partly a deficit of chemicals in the brain that restricts thought and attention, and the other is psychological. I have dominated the chemical imbalance in my brain by using Adderol, but my symptoms still occur, regardless of the medication. I have discovered the reason why ADD happens just by reading this website.

    Simply enough, ADD sufferers are actually gifted. The gift that is given to them is high intelligence and creativity, not to mention an emotional drive to be what they want to be, and accomplish seemingly impossible tasks, as proved by inventor Thomas Edison. Using this as food for thought, why do you see children with ADHD and ADD spend so much time on games and watching tv if they have short attention spans? The answer is simple: they simply are interested in watching good shows on tv and playing fun games; things that they are interested in. Interest is a huge factor in reviving the attention span of students with ADD, and determining how much interest the student has, determines how much attention will be paid to that subject. If a student has an interest in dinosaurs, and you just happen to teach a lesson involving dinosaurs, the student will be extremely attentive and provide you with more than enough knowledge on dinosaurs. Though, if a teacher is teaching in a monotone voice speaking about king Tut's reign in Egypt, and asking ADD students to take notes, its not going to happen. Not in a million years. If you are a teacher who speaks in a monotone voice and just wonder why your students eyes are glazing over, now you know why. My choir teacher, Mrs. Christine Bass (one of the U.S.'s top-ranking choir teachers), makes our classes the highlight of our day. There is nothing more interesting than a teacher who is alive, moving, and very friendly. Teachers who stand still and look dead tend to be the teachers who cause the most boredom in class. Mrs. Bass keeps our attention by giving us compliments when we do bad, encouragement when we do bad, and a good laugh every once in a while. She pokes fun at us all the time and she really is energetic all the time.
 
    Be creative. if your class is doing spelling lessons, and if you find that your class could do better on spelling quizzes, try this idea my old 2nd grade teacher tried: If every child in your class gets 100% (yes, 100% for everyone), host a donut party in your classroom. Nearly every student you have will be studying hard to get the donut party. I mean, every week, sacrificing maybe less than 8 dollars to get your students to do good in spelling (and love you more), not to mention the donuts you get to enjoy yourself. Nearly every week that we had spelling quizzes, we'd all pass with 100%'s and get the sweet goodness of those donuts. If you have trouble thinking of ideas, try putting yourself in the perspective of your students. You'll listen to yourself speak and teach and you'll realize some ways to make your lessons more interesting. I believe there is no problem with giving your students set goals to achieve to win a food party or something of the sort.
 
    ADD students are very intelligent and incredibly creative. Give an ADD student a short story to write, on anything, and the student will write you a book. Tell an ADD student to construct a creature out of play-doh and the student will make you a sculpture. It may not seem like those ADD students are smart or even that creative, but ADD sufferers have hidden talents and skills that the normal person does not. Being labeled as ADD does not mean the person is stupid, but perhaps more literally, "not interested". Perhaps ADD is a mechanism for intelligent people to "shut off" their minds when taught factual knowledge or anything that requires no thought or creativity. People with ADD mostly are very intelligent and creative, and their strong point is independent activities and open-ended thinking. I have found myself writing 8 pages over the limit of 3 pages on a creative essay, finding alternate routes to math equations, and reading many books on psychology, my personal interest. If a child with ADD has a specific interest that requires them to think and to use their brain, hone that skill. ADD is a gift of intelligence and creativity that should not be looked down upon, but looked up upon as a blessing. Keeping an ADD child away from its dreams is like stopping a speeding train with your bare hands.
 
    Disciplining a child with ADD is a tough matter. From 6th grade to 10th grade, I've been yelled and hollered at, insulted, embarrassed, and being grounded for years at a time without anything at all to do, but homework. And through all my misery, I had still failed my subjects. Disciplining a child with ADD will not solve any problems if the discipline goes too far. During my years of being grounded, it was apparent to me that my punishment was only elevating my problems with schoolwork, because there was no reward for finishing my homework, and even if it was attempted that i only fail anyway because i lacked encouragement. During my punishment, i was not allowed to do something that all ADHD children need: exercise and a place to run around. I eventually became depressed, feeling like there was no solution to my problems, and basically being miserable. I became so depressed at one point that i spent time sitting in the corner of my bedroom crying and laying on the floor staring up into the ceiling. On the last day of school of freshman year, my friends and I went to an arcade to play games, and when i was there, i was stressed out about how well my report card looked, and i hyperventilated, went into a nervous breakdown, and passed out. It was no longer punishment to me, but just cruelty.


 
Submitted by:  Copyright © 2004 Marty Weis 
I am a sophomore in high school. For many years of my life i have struggled with attention problems and failing in school, and i was recently diagnosed with ADHD after my many stressful years of failure. Now I wish to partner up with educators and parents out there dealing with ADD and ADHD children to help unwrap the mystery of this disorder.
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