Does this sound consistent with ADD?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My whole life I have been told by teachers and everything that I have ADD. I was always in trouble, failing stuff, talked to much, made noise and never could sit still. I even always had reading comprehension problems. My teachers even tried to tell my mom but I have a mother that doesn’t believe in it. Now i’m in college and still having almost all the same problems. I’ve Always been the kid that thinks there listening but is tapping there pencil staring out the window or moving my feet around which makes people around you mad. It takes me forever to read something i even have to read the questions close before i tAke it in. Im a good reader it’s just like my mind doesn’t know what it just read. I don’t know how to explain it. I want to be a teacher so bad but Im still having problems at school now I’m on academic probation. I still am close to one of my teachers I had all threw high school and she still tells me she thinks I have that. Im very impulsive and always full of energy Ive even had a run in wihh the law. Does this sound consistent to ADD to you?? Im at my witts end and really wanna suceed And dont know what to do..

A: It must be terribly frustrating to know what you want to do academically but feel so helpless to do it. You know you are smart enough to do well in school but something keeps getting in your way. I’m not sure if the problem is ADHD. What you describe could be accounted for by any number of learning disabilities as well as by an impulse control disorder. You absolutely need to get an accurate diagnosis.

Most colleges these days have a counseling service available for their students. You can get some testing there to help you understand just what the problem is. Your parents don’t have to know about it unless you want them to. Once you have been evaluated, you and the counselors will then have a solid basis for developing a plan to help you manage school. It’s also possible that you will need some accomodations to help you do your very best.

There are lots and lots of smart kids who have learning differences that make it difficult for them to be successful in school. Being able to sit quietly for long periods of time, to change subjects at arbitrary times, to focus on several different subjects every day, to take timed tests, etc. may be the traditional demands of American schools but they are not necessarily reflective of someone’s intelligence or abilities. Let’s face it. You’ll never have to do things like that once you get out into the work world. Even teachers get to walk around and to change things up a little when they get restless.

I hope you will take steps to learn more about your own learning style and how to use it. Then I also hope you will stick with your goal of becoming a teacher. Too often kids with undiagnosed learning differences decide they are stupid and develop terrible self-esteem. We need more educators who understand that being different doesn’t mean being deficient or dumb. It just means they need to work a little differently. Good minds like yours (and your future students) shouldn’t go to waste.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 Jan 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). Does this sound consistent with ADD?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/01/11/does-this-sound-consistent-with-add/