Is The Current Education System Bad For People With ADHD?

               Is the current education system really good for people with ADHD? Many of us struggle on a daily basis in school because we can’t keep still, can’t focus on what the teacher is saying, and only have one thing on our mind: being done with school already. After going through many years of this hell, it’s time to look into whether the current education system is actually able to help people with ADHD or if it just drags us down.

Advertisements

               Diagnosing a child with ADHD has become very common within the past few years. The symptoms are an inability to concentrate, impulsivity, and overactivity. According to statistics from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 11% of children between 4-17 years old have ADHD. That is 6 million kids in the US alone, and more are being diagnosed each day.

               The first two years of school are crucial for a child’s development, according to many specialists. But if you can’t sit still through an entire lesson simply because your brain doesn’t work that way, you will find yourself struggling throughout all those years of education. With this newfound knowledge of ADHD, I would say that it’s time to take a second look at our current education system.

Advertisements

               Doctors claim that children who are allowed to learn at their own pace have better grades than those who attend regular classes within the public school system. However, there aren’t any schools specialized in teaching students with learning disabilities, so most people with ADHD or similar disabilities are forced to go through normal classes.

               “It was really sad to see that most of my friends couldn’t participate in class because the teacher moved on before they were done with what they had to say,” says Sarah, who is diagnosed with ADHD and was bullied throughout school because she often didn’t finish her tasks on time. Many times she had to stay after hours, even though she had already done all her homework, simply because there wasn’t enough time left for the next lesson.

Advertisements

               As a result, Sarah now suffers from a lack of self-esteem and lack of confidence which makes it hard for her to socialize at times. She also feels like she had missed out on many opportunities during school simply because she was forced to learn when her brain simply wasn’t able to.

               ADHD and Autism are very common in kids and teens these days, and the system we have isn’t giving them a chance. Schools should be able to provide each student with their own pace of learning, allowing them to excel just as much as normal students. The current situation forces people with disabilities such as ADHD and Autism into a corner, away from everyone else, where they can only watch the fun while feeling left out themselves.

Advertisements

Reading about how it is so terrible for people diagnosed with ADHD in school made me burst into tears. I really hope that one day I will get offered an education better suited for my needs. What do you think? Shouldn’t kids get to learn in a way they can actually focus on? What do you think is currently wrong with the education system, and how could it be changed for the better?

What are your thoughts on this subject?

               In order to make things easier for people with learning disabilities, we need to change our current school system. We need schools that offer students different kinds of programs depending on their diagnosis. Kids who struggle most should get help and opportunities to excel just like everyone else and not be bullied during all those years of school simply because they don’t fit into what our society has labeled “normal.”

Is the current education system bad for people with ADHD? Yes, I think so…

Autism and High School

What Teachers Got Wrong

I grew up in a small town where we only had a Primary School. Inadvertently I was booked into a hostel when I had to attend High School in a neighboring town.

I remember how difficult it was for me to understand why Teachers did not like my approach to answering questions. In my mind, when a Teacher asked a question the following sequence of events unfolded in my brain:

  1. Teacher asks question.
  2. My mind started extrapolating relevant information from all the knowledge ‘files’ already present in my mind.
  3. My mouth spoke the answer even before my hand was raised.
  4. I felt a sense of achievement for being able to repsond so quickly and accurately and was ready for the next question.

Apparently, the Teachers did not find my method that amusing. They explained to me time and time again that I had to:

  1. Raise my hand first.
  2. Wait for the Teacher to acknowledge me.
  3. Speak slowly and succinctly.
  4. Allow other pupils to also answer the questions without immediately pointing out when they were wrong.

The effect

This had an effect on me which would alter my recall ability significantly for the next 2 to 3 decades. This caused me to start keeping my answers to myself. I was reprimanded for knowing all the answers, but I couldn’t help myself, it was just there in my mind.

I got more reclusive and started to engage less in class. My marks took a tumble and where I had a 98% average in school when I was 13, I ended up with a 60% average when I finished school at 18. I just wasn’t interested in playing their game anymore. I never studied and wrote all my exams on general knowledge. I also did not answer all the questions because according to one Teacher, it made the other students ‘look bad’.

It is a pity now that I did not have a mentor who could see that I was on the spectrum, and could guide me through my academic life phase.

To the Teachers

Perhaps read up on Neurodivergent pupils and how to include them. Try to see their potential and help them develop their unique self instead of trying to make them fit in with other Neurotypicals.

Today

Today, for fun, I dabble in science, math, engineering, biology, psychology, geography, writing and martial arts…

At least now I do not keep quiet and I am my authentic self. Finally…

Nominated at 12 to attend a School for the Gifted – Autism

Body

The human experience is one that has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. I had a difficult childhood which only Neurodivergent folk would be able to relate to. Confused, anxious, high-strung, always alert, always watching, always analyzing. I was a skinny kid with low muscle tone. My appetite was just enough to keep my mental resources running and I burnt up so much energy that I think my body did not have a chance to develop properly in my preteen years.

Advertisements

I remember when puberty hit and all the hormonal changes flooded my system. There was a Nurse from the Government that visited our school and all the boys had to undress and queue only in their underwear in the school hall. She would sit on a chair with a file and a pen and call each student to stand in front of her, one at a time. This experience was a strange one for me, I have never really understood boundaries with regards to nudity and why we wear clothing and who may see you naked and what your ‘private parts’ were. I was still figuring it out. I did know that I should let someone other than my mother see me naked. So, when it was my turn and I had to stand in front of this Woman, I was not sure what to do and waited for her to give me instructions. She asked me to pull down my underwear and expose my bits. She inspected it and I remember thinking that something must be wrong because I could not read her expression. I was also wondering if I was allowed to this because she is a stranger. I also looked down as she was looking at my genitalia and I felt a strange sensation in my nether region. Blood was flowing towards a body part which, up to this point was mainly used to try and hit flowers or leaves or bugs when I urinated outside in the garden. I played outside a lot so it was the most efficient solution to relieve myself I figured at the time 🙂

Advertisements

Anyway, back to that moment. So here I am, skinny kid, in my undies, exposing myself to this lady who had an unreadable expression on her face, and my private member decided to ‘rise to the occasion’. I was alarmed and amazed at the same time! So was she! She made eye contact with me, I blushed and giggled, and she said: ‘It’s okay young man, at least we know everything is working fine.’ and she gave me a slight smile and motioned to me that I can pull up my pants and go put on the rest of my school uniform. I passed the examination, and I felt a sense of pride. I still don’t know why she was there to look at so many penises and I probably never will. I do however remember being fascinated by the changes I experienced during puberty but also the changes I witnessed in the fairer of the species, the females. But that is a whole different story. The pure magic of our physical world has been capturing my imagination ever since.

Mind

The one area where I felt kind of ahead of the developmental curve however, was mentally. I remember being able to ‘see’ an answer while the teacher was still explaining the concept. This caused a lot of ‘answering out of turn disrupting the class’ – situations. I had to bite my lip because it was the ‘polite thing to do’ to give the other students a chance to answer the questions.

In my final year in Primary School we wrote our National IQ tests. I was 12 years old. It was a fantastic experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I experienced a sense of delight for being able to answer almost all the questions.

After a couple of weeks a different lady from the government visited our school again and we each had a session with her where she explained what we might want to be when we grow up. My session went like this:

  • Well done on your IQ Test
  • The results are great
  • You have talents in various fields
  • You can actually become anything you want when you grow up.

That’s it, no additional guidance or pointers so I left it at that.

Advertisements

A week or two later the Principle at our school summoned me and explained that I have been earmarked as one of only two kids in our entire province who were invited to attend a School for Gifted Scholars at the University of Pretoria that coming winter. He will arrange everything with my mother and he was honored that they chose a pupil from his school to attend.

My mother made the arrangements, we drove three hours to the University that winter, I checked into the dormitory, and waited for the program to start the next day.

I woke up the next morning, got dressed and went to the first class on the roster they gave me. I took a seat in the front and the Teacher started talking about mathematics and the definition of a square. Whilst she was asking pupils to list what qualities were needed one would say 4 equal sides, or four equal corners, she kept on asking as if the answers weren’t entirely correct. I shouted out: “All of the qualities need be present!”. She looked at me and chased me out of the class because I did not raise my hand.

I took my books and left the classroom, embarrassed and confused because I did give the correct answer. I did not know where to go, so I phoned my mom and asked her to come and fetch me…

Advertisements

Looking back now I wish the teacher knew I was on the spectrum and handled the situation better. I wish I knew I was on the spectrum too. This might have put me on a different trajectory in life perhaps ending up designing rockets to go to Mars like my fellow South African, Elon Musk!

Alas, I was thrust onto the difficult journey that would bring me to where I am today. Do I have regrets? Only one, and that is that I have regrets…

I always felt like I didn’t fit in – How autism feels when you don’t know you’re on the spectrum

I grew up in a small town.

I have 3 brothers and 1 sister. I am the 4th child.

Ever since I can remember I was alone. I was labeled as a weird kid. I remember that I was confused about the fact that I was not allowed to be in the same company as my siblings. They were always of the opinion that I ‘should play outside’, so that’s what I did. I would imagine the most wonderful adventures with dragons and warriors and magic!

I recall the first time I saw a Hollywood movie, I was 6 years old. I live in a country where we drive on the left side of the street and we grow up learning to speak a second language, English, in school and with a British accent. So when I watched the first movie I was absolutely amazed at how fantastic it was that they drove on the right side of the street and spoke with a totally different accent! I remember thinking that the filmmakers had a huge imagination!

You can imagine how my brothers laughed at me for not knowing that America was a real place…

I was ridiculed but I was also determined to visit this magical place one day!! My number 1 item on my Bucket List is to see New York city!!!

I was mesmerized with movies and I started a lifelong journey that year, I started to watch each and every film I could find!

Now, I also felt excluded from everyone and everything by that age. I never understood how to communicate with others my age since they were not interested in movies like I was… It seems that not everyone memorized the dialog and knew the names of the actors and the characters in the film. They also did not know who the director was or they didn’t know what other movies he directed. They were more interested in playing with a ball or tackling each other. I didn’t like physical touch so I was shunned very quickly.

I remember that when my mother told me that I had to go to school the next year that I didn’t really want to. I got dressed on the first day in my new uniform and I recall it was very itchy. Material on my skin feels foreign and I have only certain pieces of clothing that I wear. Anyway, on the first day of school I walked into the classroom, took a look around and told the Teacher : ‘Good morning, Miss. Thanks for inviting me to come to your school but I don’t think I want to join your class. Have a great day!’ and I walked out of the school yard and started heading home.

The local Doctor happened to pass me by on my way home and stopped by the side of the road. He offered me a ride to my house and he was very impressed with my choice not to attend school. He explained to my mother what I had told him and he left.

She took me right back to school and told me that unfortunately school was not optional and I had to be there. I asked why and she said that if I didn’t go that I would get a hiding.

My father was very strict and it would not have been my first time getting a hiding either.

I didn’t understand what you were expected to do at school but I didn’t want to feel his belt on my butt either!

So there I was with 26 other kids in a classroom and I was never allowed to tell them or the teacher about movies and the wonderful magical place called America!!!

I was told to keep quiet and to pay attention or else I would have to be sent to the Headmaster and he was then going to give me a hiding…

So I did what I was told…

Coffee brings people together!

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to buy me a virtual coffee! By doing this you are joining me on my adventure! I only visit Normal, I don’t get to stay there…

$3.65

Read more on: