By Lindsay Endicott
For as long as I can remember, I have always had fun in school, but I was treated as though I was stupid. My teachers only ever seemed to show interest in what I was fiddling with, or how messy my handwriting was because I had too much clutter on my desk to have any room for the paper and pencil. This was all I knew up until the start of the sixth grade. By the end of the first week, I had already lost all of my pencils, and most of my books. I remember always getting in trouble for forgetting to turn in my homework and having detentions almost every recess for speaking during class repeatedly after being told to stop. I would swear I was not trying to cause trouble, I just simply forgot their instructions.
This carried on until the seventh grade when the workload was increased, which means more work that I would lose or forget to do. I failed not only my first English vocabulary test, but every other one after. I failed almost every test I was given, and my grades were never above a C-. This would have bothered most people, but I truly did not care. All I cared about was if I was having fun.
My parents were worried after receiving my report cards because now they assumed it was not just a phase. I was given countless tutors, all of which none helped. My parents never stopped to think maybe I needed a different kind of help. I had a reputation for being one of the dumb kids, so naturally, that was what I, and eventually my parents, were beginning to think. I was in the lower level math class in seventh grade, which had me on a set path in the “dumb classes” all the way until I would graduate. I continued with my poor study habits until the summer before eighth grade. Then, one day, my mom and I were in the car and she explained to me that I had ADHD, that I was diagnosed when I was five years old. I was in tears because I thought having ADHD made me stupid. I was embarrassed so I did not tell anybody.
When the start of eighth grade rolled around, I started on medication, and I thought someone had put a spell on me. I was doing so well, no more bad grades at all. I made excellent grades consistently on my own. I was so pleased with my work and so were my teachers.
After I was finally doing well, I realized that ADHD does not make me stupid at all, my brain just works differently than most brains do. The only problem I had was the fact that my parents did not have me on medication for such a long time and I did not know that I had ADHD. If I was put on medication sooner, I would have been released from all the stress I had been experiencing before it surfaced.
Now, I am a freshman in high school and cannot imagine what I would be like without medication. My organizational skills are extremely different and have immensely improved, as well as my study habits and personal desire to succeed in and out of the classroom. Before I was medicated, I had dreams of being a candy-maker in my own whimsical land. Now, I dream of attending Stanford University to pursue my interest in psychology so I can help people like myself, partially through empathy, while addressing ADD/ADHD and finding the best ways to accommodate each person.
My story is extremely important for all parents who have children with ADD or ADHD to help prevent the mistakes that have effected me so greatly. But also, my story shows the effects of the right medication and how vital it is for some children for school. In all of my time at school, I was treated as though I was incapable, stupid, and was not given the help I needed for my condition. My wish is for all children with ADD or ADHD to be addressed correctly and have specialized education accommodations available. No child should be pulled down in school and treated differently for a mental disorder for which they have no control over. I hope this story can offer insight to parents, children, and teenagers about the importance of recognizing and accommodating ADD/ADHD.