Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

The teacher walks in a navy-blue dress, I know that perfume, it’s the same one that Auntie Rita used to wear. I go to tell her about Auntie Rita, but I hear someone say “sloth bear!“. I had just watched an episode on them, so I go and join the discussion. The teacher calls me back to seat and smiles a big sweet smile at me. I beam at her and tell her about Auntie Rita and how I think her new haircut suits her face. I sit on my desk and take out my notebooks, but just then a bird hits the glass of our classroom window! I rush to see if she is okay, but teacher calls me back again. The teacher gives us algebra sums, the same ones that we did last month. I tell her the answers, and she says “show me how you got them”. I open my notebook to write the steps, but then I remember I can probably check on the bird from the bathroom window. I am about to ask permission to go to the bathroom, when I remember that sloths only poop once every week. I am about to go tell the boys this information, when I see that Bina has a bug on her back. I call out and warn her when the whole class starts laughing at me. 

I frown and start writing the steps, when I hear the sound of badminton (!) from the field. I run to the window to see who is playing, the teacher calls me back again. She doesn’t smile anymore, and asks me to show her the steps. “But I already know these questions, why can’t we do something new?” She gives me five new questions, I smile at her, and do them on the board. Now that I am done with the lesson, I ask her if I can go play in the field. She scolds me and tells me there is still 15 mins left of the class. I am indignant now. The other children are still doing old sums; I finished five new ones! I am about to call her out on the injustice, when I see Karan has a band-aid on his knee. I go and ask him how he got hurt and he tells me his exciting adventures in the woods last evening. I sit down with him and do his sums for him, when I hear the airplane pass over the school. That’s when I remember about the missing airplane from last week, and I tell the class all about it. The teacher asks me to stand at the back. Good, now I can see all I want through the windows. 

ADHD, as the name suggests, is characterised by inattention and impulsive behaviour. “Inattention” or “impulsive behaviour” by themselves are perfectly normal attributes that every person experience sometime or the other. It becomes a “disorder” or requires help only when these behaviours are extremely frequent and are beyond the control of the person. Many ADHD children grow up to become super-achievers (like the famous Michael Phelps) and are able to use their excess energy in positive ways. But in order to do that, it is important that the disorder is diagnosed, recognised and treated. Treatment does not mean letting go of their innate gifts and personality; but treatment gives you the tools to have control over them- to dictate when and how you want to spend your energy and attention.

ADHD is one of the most common neuro-developmental disorders and is generally diagnosed during childhood. If you want to know more about it, CDC is a storehouse of information, click here. And if you’re a parent reading this, you can read these mothers of ADHD super-achievers talk about how they managed to channel their children’s energies here.