The contrast between expectations and actual ability is stark but invisible when it comes to ADHD. Individuals with ADHD don’t have any outwardly visible signs of having a disability. So ADHD behaviors are often interpreted as willful, defiant, oppositional, disobedient and disrespectful. I think this is toughest for kids with ADHD in the classroom environment. Kids with behavioral and developmental disorders often look like “bad” kids. I want so badly to change that.
1. The struggle is real. I’m trying hard to not be different from my classmates and friends. It takes a lot of work to look like I don’t have any problems at school.
2. Things are a lot more complex to me than you imagine. What’s intuitive to you is a long and difficult thought process that I often don’t have time for.
3. I worry a lot! I’m constantly worried that I’ll look different, that I’ll forget my homework, that I might say something wrong, or that I’ll get in trouble. I probably worry almost every minute I’m at school. Sometimes that makes me tell wild stories to try to get out of school.
4. I feel stupid when I can’t accomplish what my peers can. I’m not stupid, but I sure feel like it when things are hard for me but simple for others.
5. I’m emotionally sensitive. I might look like a cry baby, but I feel things deeply.
6. I am a literal kid. I cannot tell when my friends are teasing. I take everything they say and do at face-value. I often feel like my friends are being mean to me.
7. I’m smart! When given the time to fully process or a way to show what I know that doesn’t involve completing a worksheet, I can shine. Give me the opportunity to surprise you.
8. I’m not lazy! There’s a lot more going on in my mind than most people. Plus, I struggle with planning, sequencing and organization. That can slow me down or make me not want to do the work. And my ADHD brain is interest-based — I can focus better on the assignment when it interests me.
9. My weaknesses often make me feel like a failure. You can help me a lot just by believing in me and encouraging me.
10. I don’t intend to make you angry. I want to do well. I deserve love and respect, just like my peers.