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.
Help Guide’s website explains more about an ADHD diagnosis by stating, “Students with ADHD may become so easily distracted by noises, passersby, or their own thoughts that they often miss vital classroom information. These children have trouble staying focused on tasks that require sustained mental effort. They may seem as if they’re listening to you, but something gets in the way of their ability to retain the information.
Psych Central’s website states, “Everybody has things that they’re good at and things that they’re not as good at. People who have ADHD tend to be less good at paying attention to uninteresting things, tend to be forgetful and disorganized, etc. and while having ADD/ADHD may require extra time and effort for some tasks, many people diagnosed with the disorder have achieved success despite it and, sometimes, because of it.”
Everybody can learn, even if it takes more time and can be very frustrating. But always remember you have the ability. Don’t give up.
I hope this helps,
Dr. Diana Walcutt
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on May 20, 2009.