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Am I Mentally Challenged?

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I always had a problem growing up being slow and being put in small classes in school. I was told I have ADHD and that is why I am so slow. But my mom told me 2 days ago that im mentally challenged. I am 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 believing my mom. but also my mom told me i got tested and that what the doctor told her – that i am Mentally challenged but what i wanna know is can i grow out of it if i am or was???

Am I Mentally Challenged?

Answered by on -


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.

Additionally, 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 has the ability to learn, even if it takes more time and can be very frustrating. But always remember you always have the ability. I want you to know you should never give up and push forward and you will always find a way – that works best for you- to learn.
I hope this helps,

Dr. Diana Walcutt

Am I Mentally Challenged?

This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on May 20, 2009.

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D.

APA Reference
Walcutt, D. (2019). Am I Mentally Challenged?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 20 Jun 2019 (Originally: 20 May 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 20 Jun 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.