A well ignored issue more and more kids (and adults)are facing
I recently read an article from Meg Conley about ADHD and it resonated so deep in me that I need to share this with you! Of course, I recommend you read Meg’s article, entitled People Said I Was ‘Special.’ Really, I Just Had ADHD.
Meg Shares with us her story as a child, teenager and adult with ADHD without a being diagnosed and a lot of people commented her incredible story.
First of all, important point to mention, I am French, I have been raised in France and I followed the French educational system, until college where I decided to study in an American Business School. I was said to be a “she is trying but doesn’t succeed” student, working hard to pass my classes but always ending with a mid or low grade that wasn’t reflecting at all the efforts I put in! I was said to be hopeless at maths but I finally got an A+ during college years on a very specific topic that most students hate and fail at…! My father even laughed at me when I came back home with this exceptional grade…!
I have never been diagnosed with ADHD, neither when I was a child, nor during adulthood. But a lot of people around me showing the same thinking and acting patterns have been! And they keep telling me that I have an ADHD issue I need to solve. Well, without a proper diagnosis, since I am not qualified as a doctor, I still wonder… Actually, since childhood, I am absolutely unable to focus more than 5 minutes on anything… BUT… I am a translator interpreter being able to stay in a translation booth four hours in a row with the same translation quality… I couldn’t imagine that I would succeed in such a hard job and love it! I realize that being an interpreter is like healing myself from ADHD, step by step, one translation at the time! It is already two weird contradictions I can identify here!
As a child, I was quiet because I was shy and my self-confidence level was close to the absolute zero , but while growing, I turned a lot more agitated, even in class, and I had to force myself keeping quiet (being a student in a private catholic high school in a prestigious district of Paris helps… I promise!) to avoid punishments from my teachers.
My daughter turned eleven a couple months ago and she is facing exactly the same issues. She is struggling with grammar, spelling and simply writing her own language properly, but she knows who painted La cène and is able to ask me, early in the morning, when I am just sipping my first cup of coffee, how the Universe was created…?! Gosh! She hates the way teachers teach her notions, doesn’t succeed to memorize anything (or at least this is the feeling we have, while listening to her!), but I taught her how to search an answer to her questions and how to keep questioning herself. Guess what? It works!
Last year, I read a book from a French author I highly recommend: Je pense trop (from Christel Petitcollin). Good news, the book is also available in English! If I found the title very simple and not really accurate ( it is much more than just telling you about how not to think too much!), the content still drives me nuts! Not only is she putting words on notions I barely could explain, but actually, she swipes all the situations where I found myself regularly, not knowing how to cope with on the moment!
What I found absolutely crazy in Meg’s article, is to read that there is a belief that in France, ADHD doesn’t exist… LOL! This is not Meg’s belief but she just mentions it. If this was the case, then our students would probably learn with much more ease and fun! But this is not the case, of course, and a lot of them are struggling like I did! I had a conversation with my partner right after having read this article and all the comments because I identified at least 6 points I don’t understand at all…
- a vast majority of the people I know, who have been diagnosed ADHD, are adults, and not specifically young adults. Does this mean we don’t know how to diagnose a child or a young adult with ADHD?
- even when diagnosed, they keep struggling to understand what they suffer from and how to heal themselves. Sometimes they are taking medication, sometimes not. Does that mean we don’t really have the necessary experience to find sustainable solutions to help adults with ADHD? Are medications always working? If no, what are the alternatives we have? Could we imagine to let people choose between a treatment based on medication and another one, without?
- teachers seem not be trained to recognize and teach ADHD students within the current educational system (at least in France!). Does that mean our educational system could and should do better with ADHD students? (actually, the whole educational system is France malfunctions…)
- are doctors, nurses, pediatricians, psychologists… not well equipped enough to detect such a pathology and to act, in coordination with the parents who, of course, have a critical role to play?
- curiously, adults with ADHD are parents of children with ADHD also (not always, let me be clear, but quite often!). Does that mean that we, as parents, should and could heal before having kids? Is it really possible to heal from ADHD?
- ADHD is definitely a pathology that can have disastrous effects, not only on the global apprenticeship of an individual but also on their psychological construction. No, a kid who is completely messy at school is not necessary bad tempered or not well educated, they may just be suffering from this ADHD pathology and feel they don’t fit the system (which is equal, for a child, to growing with this idea they are not “like the other kids”!)
- am I wondering uselessly why ADHD is a topic more and more discussed and depicted? Is the number of ADHD cases around the globe really dramatically increasing or is it due to the fact that we all can access information much more easily than 50 years ago? Why do we see more and more citizens digging this topic while our governments seem to ignore it?
I feel sad and angry, thinking that in Lausanne, Switzerland, (approximately 1 hour from where I live), there is a human brain project created in October 2013, initiated by the hospital of Lausanne and its university (CHUV and UNIL, two main institutions in Lausanne!). It looks like France and Switzerland don’t collaborate in this project, or maybe are they keeping their results secret…?
Anyway, people with ADHD disorders don’t get the consideration they deserve and the treatments they need. And nobody can say they don’t care anymore. ADHD is damaging the apprenticeship process of an individual. With ADHD, the construction of your psyche is complicated too! Isn’t education supposed to be a right for anybody? What if we didn’t have the resources to keep this promise? Last but not least… what can I do, as an individual, to make things change…? Vast question… some ideas emerging…!