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Learning Disabilities Awareness Month: Growing up with ADHD

by Emily Kranking

Not everybody knows that October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month. So, let me shine on this month by talking about my learning disorder. All of my life, I have had ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). ADHD is the most common learning disability with 6 million students diagnosed with it. The type of ADHD that I have is attention-deficit. Symptoms of attention-deficit ADHD include being distracted & zoning out, missing details during assignments, being forgetful with things in daily life, and losing things easily. I actually have all of these symptoms.  

The first time I noticed that something was wrong with me was when I started second grade. I had just started my siblings’ Catholic school after attending a public school with a special education program. Obviously, I was used to a very stimulating environment like I had at my old school: To move around during very interactive lessons. Right away on my first day at a private Catholic school, I had a bad feeling. I was expected to sit in a singular place (a desk) all day. Just stay there and listen. I had to read along to textbooks all day with my teachers. I had to do worksheets. My focus was on the rocks. On the first couple weeks of school after doing my assignments, I walked around the classroom to move around. I felt awkward, but better after moving around. Most of all, I found myself daydreaming and never found myself paying attention. Every single day, I was met with, “You have to pay attention, Emily!” and “U”s (unsatisfactory) on my work.  

Spanish was especially so hard to me. At my old school, we didn’t learn about foreign language. In the afternoons, I would go to a special sensory class for students with disabilities, where we would play games and have therapies. I guess my other classmates did Spanish and science in the afternoon. So, imagine my shock at my new school where I had a teacher speak a foreign language that I didn’t get. Clearly, my siblings and my classmates had Spanish very early on and knew what was happening. I intentionally spaced out the whole time. Not even her colorful wolf puppet was enough to keep my interest.    

As I grew older, my ADHD caught up with my child development. I still had attention problems, but I got better at focusing. As expected for each year at school, the curriculum became more challenging. So, I naturally knew that I had to pay attention to be on par with my classmates and pass my classes. Because I was patient with my ADHD and stayed on task, I persevered. I ended up being accepted in my dad’s Catholic high school and a four-year college after my community college. Society shouldn’t treat ADHD so badly. It is something that is common and something can be accommodated. People with ADHD, like me, can succeed in anything!