ADHD deserves to be taken seriously



A brain with Attention Deficit /Hyperactivity Disorder also has impaired activity within each of the four other sections of the brain: frontal cortex, limbic system, basal ganglia and reticular activating system.

Amanda Kravitz, Sports Editor

“Do you actually have ADHD? You don’t have any of the symptoms.” “You’re so lucky that you take Adderall; you must be so productive at night.” “You get extra time?! Lucky! I could probably do so much better if I had extra time.”

These are the kinds of things that I, as a person diagnosed with Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), often hear. ADHD is a real disorder and it is time for us to start treating it like one.

According to The National Institute of Mental Health, in order for a person to legitimately be diagnosed, they must attain a comprehensive evaluation by a licensed clinician. There is no “one” test for ADHD, so a child must test for multiple cognitive disorders in order to test for ADHD.

ADHD is a chronic mental disorder that is commonly diagnosed in adolescents.  The most common symptoms include trouble focusing, hyperactive behavior, and impulsivity. Although ADHD is diagnosed frequently, this disorder is serious and many of the common stereotypes do not hold true.

Surprisingly, teachers are the ones who need constant reminders of this. There are some, although not many,  teachers who just do not believe you when you tell them you have ADHD. It becomes so much more difficult when a teacher thinks you are lying or making things up because “there is no way you have ADHD; your grades are too good.” Dealing with the school is just one of the challenges that comes with the disorder.

Some students have had frustrating experiences with the school. However, I learned that being able to advocate for yourself is key. During freshman year, I was placed on an Individual Career Academic Plan (ICAP.)  An ICAP is an informal accommodation plan; one that is not regulated by the state. It is different from and IEP and a 504-Plan. I was very persistent with my dean when it came down to moving my plan from the “trial” stage to the “finalized stage.” Sometimes, in a big school, it can be hard to advocate for yourself.

Although I constantly feel the need to “prove” my ADHD to my teachers, it is reassuring to know that there are some teachers who truly do care. In addition, some people believe that ADHD is not a true disorder because getting distracted is part of human nature. Yes, of course, getting distracted is part of being human. However, there is a difference between the chemical makeup of the brain of a person with ADHD and someone without it.

According to ATTitude, an online source, there are specific deficiencies in some neurotransmitters within the brain of someone with the disorder that cause them to have exhibit the symptoms. The ADHD brain also has impaired activity within four other sections of the brain. Frontal Cortex (attention span), Limbic System (emotions), Basal Ganglia (impulsivity), and Reticular Activating System (hyperactivity.)

Daily things that may seem simple to you can be extremely difficult for people with ADHD. For example, the basic task of organizing your school work and remembering to bring it to school is something you probably do without even thinking about it. But for someone with ADHD, they may need constant nagging because their brain isn’t wired to remember to pack that homework the night before.

The next time you think about asking the kid with ADHD if they really need that extra time to finish the test, remember that they actually do. ADHD is more than just trouble focusing, and we as a community need to start to recognize this.