Letters from KidsWhat It Is Like to Have ADHD
Written by Cameron
Grade 6, 12 years old
Ottawa, Ontario April 2007
Scribed by Mom
How would you feel if you felt like people were screaming at you almost all the time? That is what it’s like if you have ADHD: stop doing that, don’t run, sit still, pay attention….
ADHD is attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder
. You can get Hyperactivity, Distractibility and or Impulsivity.
Hyperactivity is when you move almost all the time. To have this you do have to be moving around all the time but you can also just be fidgeting a lot.
Distractibility is when you have a short attention span, so you might be able to concentrate a long time for fun stuff but if you have this you will have a very short attention span for boring stuff.
Impulsivity is when you do things without thinking of the consequences. You do this because you don’t pause long enough to think about if you should do it or not.
I know how it feels because I have all three.
What causes ADHD?
If your mom, dad, grandma or grandpa had ADHD then you could have it.
What are the behavior problems he needs to learn so he won’t get into trouble?
He could rearrange his room so he would know where to put things. He could also have a list of everything he has to do (somewhere he won’t forget it and he will see it). He needs to control his anger and his actions, and he has to learn to listen and answer when spoken to.
How could his teachers, parents and friends help him along the way?
They could at least try to understand why he does these things and that it’s not his fault. They could encourage him to do better and they could also help him along the way. The teacher could remind him in a nice way to pay attention and help him to divide his work equally during the time he has. The teacher could also encourage him and could make learning fun and interesting. It is easier to concentrate when things are fun. His parents could reward him when he does things right.
This is a real story about me that explains ADHD in a positive way
When you have ADHD everyone will think you’re bad because you do things you’re not supposed to do and adults like teachers will say things like don’t do that, or stop that or pay attention. All the kids hear that and so they think that the ADHD person cannot behave himself so they treat you badly too. I used to be embarrassed because I have to take three different kinds of medications every day.
But I went to a performance by a comedian on a cruise during March Break. There were 1,000 people in the audience. My mom, dad, and I sat in the middle of the theatre. After a while, the comedian told the adults in the front row that they were slumping in their seats and they were not laughing hard enough or long enough at his jokes.
He looked around and he spotted me because I was laughing so hard that tears were running down my cheeks and I was slapping my thighs. I couldn’t help it. This guy was funny.The comedian walked off the stage and came toward me. At first, I was scared. I thought he was going to tell me to stop laughing and sit still. He said to me, you look like a kid who has lots of energy and is a fast runner. He told me to run from the stage to the back of the theatre and back again. I ran as fast as I could and the audience clapped. He told me that he wanted me to be his runner and he ordered me to sit up front and sit between the adults. One man sitting beside me told me he was a grandpa.
The comedian told me I had to show all the adults what real enthusiasm is and how to laugh because they have forgotten how. At first, I felt surprised because I was just a kid. It sure was fun sitting there in the front and showing all the adults how to behave! Everybody was laughing and clapping.
The comedian told more jokes. One man got out of his seat and started to leave the theatre. The comedian said that I had to go after him and stand outside the washroom and wait for him to come out and make sure he came back to the show. If he took too long I had to bang on the door and yell for him to hurry up.
After a while, I brought the guy back and made him sit in his seat. The comedian told more jokes and turned toward me again. He said now is the time lots of adults always go to the bathroom so I’d better be on my guard and ready to sprint because maybe 4 or 5 might start to leave. I started thinking what if they all go to a different bathroom, I would be in trouble. I really wanted to please the comedian and do exactly what he wanted me to do. The comedian told me I was his best runner. That made me feel great but I was worried too. I didn’t know if I could keep all these adults under control.
After the performance, I was starving. When I loaded my plate with 6 pieces of pizza at the buffet, my mom told me it was enough. The man behind her said, “but he’s the runner, I think you should let him eat as much as he wants.”
The next day on the ship, everybody recognized me. Two little girls asked their mom if they could say hello to the runner. Everybody smiled at me and wanted to say hi. It seemed like I was a star. Even on the airplane on the way home. When we were in Montreal, a French Canadian man recognized me and said, “You’re the runner! And you’re Canadian?! That helps put Canada on the map. I feel really proud.”
Now I’m not embarrassed at having ADHD because I know that I’m unique and ADHD is just a challenge. And challenges can be fun. The comedian was like a teacher. If your teacher treats you like a star, then everyone around you will think that you are a star even if you aren’t really. The good thing about this is that it will make you feel like a star and then ADHD doesn’t seem like such a bad thing any more.