Am I Mentally Challenged?

By Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D.

Q: i always had a problem growing up being slow and being put in small classes in school. i was told i have ADHD and thats why im so slow. but my mom told me 2 days ago that im mentally challenged. im not sure what that is or if i have that or what. but i do find it hard to wright read and do math well it takes me longer than most people my age. am a really mentally challenged??? how do i find out if i am becouse i am having a hard time beliving my mom. but also my mom told me i got tested and that what the DR said i am Mentally challenged but what i wanna know is can i grow out of it if i am or was???

A: Hello and thanks for your question:

When I read your letter I was saddened by the fact that someone would say that to you. We all have different ways of learning, and not everybody can be a rocket scientist, can they? I know that I have always struggled with math and in spite of that, I became a doctor. Mentally challenged just means that something can be hard for us to learn. You could say that I’m mentally challenged when it comes to math, but I have learned ways of coping, of dealing, with this over time. It can be really tough sometimes, and very frustrating, but I manage to get by.

If you do have ADHD, it just means that you have a very hard time with paying attention. That doesn’t mean that you are slow, just unique in how you need to learn. Not everyone can learn the same way. You are old enough to have been tested in school. Did they do testing, and did they give you a diagnosis of ADHD? Did they have anything else they discovered with testing, or did teachers say that you have a learning disability in math, reading and writing? You are pretty good at writing, so I would have to wonder what the tests showed.

Find out what the school thought was your problem. Then, here’s what you do: If you really have ADHD then there can be help out there. Medicine and treatment such as Neurofeedback can help fix it.  If you have a learning disability, find out what it is, and you can get some help there too.

Everybody can learn, even if it takes more time and can be very frustrating. Don’t give up.

I hope this helps,

Dr. Diana Walcutt

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 May 2009

APA Reference
Walcutt, D. (2009). Am I Mentally Challenged?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/05/20/am-i-mentally-challanged/