From an InsideADHD.org subscriber
I first remember struggling in school during the 3rd grade. It got so bad that my teacher recommended that I be held back. Thankfully, my mother knew I was smart and thought holding me back would only make things worse. I just needed time to catch up in a few places. She had me tested at a local university hospital, and they determined that I had a learning disability and ADHD, which were causing me to fall behind the other kids. With the help of some special classes, I was able to catch up academically by the end of that year.
From then on, I managed to do just well enough in school to get by, but my behavior was always a big issue. Looking back, I think that it was due largely to my inability to pay attention to what the teacher was discussing. On countless occasions in high school, I remember the teacher explaining that the following material would be on the test. As all my fellow classmates paid special attention for the next few minutes, I simply couldn’t. The class would end, and I would look down only to see a blank notebook page, or one filled with drawings. When I wasn’t lost in my own world, I was often disrupting everyone else’s.
By the time I was a senior, with the help of some medication, I turned a corner of sorts and graduated on time and with decent grades. Knowing I still wasn’t ready for college, my parents had me attend a prep school for a PG year (post-graduate year of high school). By the next year I was enrolled in college, and actually got better grades than a lot of the kids who went straight from high school. By my 2nd year of college, I made the decision to stop taking the medication and instead relied on my own intelligence, self-determination, and self-discipline to succeed.
Since then I have gone on to graduate from college (in 4 years) and then onto law school. I’d like to tell parents who are learning to manage ADHD that with guidance from your child’s doctor, try different techniques and evaluate what works best for your child. Don’t compare your child to others; everyone manages ADHD differently. And remember, I succeeded, and your kid can, too.