Obviously all ADDers have different challenges and won't all experience these things
Some of these thoughts below are from my own experience, some from clients, some from Dave and some from my observations in relationships around me.
Please feel free to add to the list from your personal experience, we can maybe end up writing a book as I'm sure we all have a lot of frustrations from feeling misunderstood!
If you don't have ADHD but have ADDers in your life, this is not an attack on you, it's a desire for us to help you understand us, so that our relationships can be strengthened.
So let's begin
- I sometimes feel like I'm going to 'explode' because all my senses are overloaded, and I don't know how to get rid of this 'edgy', awful feeling. When this happens I sometimes do things I later regret, just in an attempt to get rid of the feeling (or to be sent out which gives me a chance to walk/run outside to release it)
- I often 'switch off' during class through no fault of my own. Either my own thoughts distract me, or outside noises and things I see. I don't choose to do this and would give anything for it NOT to happen. Please don't humiliate me by 'catching me out' and asking me a question when you can see I'm not focussed, but rather help me by occasionally touching me on the shoulder or mentioning my name if you can see you've 'lost me'. It is no reflection on you as a teacher, so please don't take it personally or reject me because of it.
- I need to move around during class, it's a real need and not an excuse to have a break from work or get up to mischief. Try and suppress the need to go to the toilet yourself and see how it affects your concentration, this is similar to my need for movement.
- If you see patterns of behaviour in me that you dislike, put consequences in place to stop them, but PLEASE separate me and the behaviour. I still need you to accept me and 'like me' like you do the other children.
- If I don't look you in the eye I'm not being rude, I find it really difficult to do and am self-conscious about it.
- If I'm grumpy and miserable it's not because I dislike you, it's because I've been moaned at since I woke up because my time management is so poor. It's really hard for me to pull myself out of negative emotions and 'cheer up' because I'm feeling like a failure at something that others seem to get right with no effort! You moaning at me for being 'grumpy' or bad-tempered adds to those feelings.
- If I blurt out answers or interrupt you I'm not being rude (I can't help my impulsivity) and I'm very embarrassed about it.
- I don't want to excuse bad behaviour, I just want you to understand WHY it happens and that it's not on purpose. Together we can work out ways to help me not do it so much.
- Please notice the things I CAN do even if it's only one thing - not many people do
- My shocking behaviour is sometimes a cry for help - please don't leave it for someone else to step in, it may be too late or never happen - I need you!
- Please don't use the 'good children' as an example constantly for us to match up to - we can't and resent being made to feel like we can never 'match-up' or compare. Their brains probably work the same way yours does, so school is easier for them, we 'think' differently and find it hard to 'think' like you
- Please make every lesson visual in some way, just talking is extremely difficult to stay focussed on.
- Please find an errand for me to go on if you see I'm about to 'burst' (meltdown)
- Please don't judge unless you see with your own eyes, the other kids always blame me because they know you'll believe them.
- Please try not to use anger or negative emotions in addressing the class, I always take it personally and feel bad the rest of the day (and can't concentrate as well). Stay factual and assertive please.
- If you don't understand me or the way I work, please ask me.
- I find it hard to get going on a task and it's helpful if you just give me the first step to get me going.
- Self-destructive behaviour = 'Help me!' I hate myself and feeling physical pain is better than this emotional pain (eating disorders, cutting, alcohol/drug abuse)
- I may take a long time to answer you, it's because I have to go through a million thoughts inside my hyperactive brain to get to the one you want, please be patient (the thoughts in my head are like planes landing and taking off at Heathrow Airport - NEVER letting up or slowing down).
- I sometimes pretend not to care, it's easier than admitting failure, but I care VERY MUCH.
- Because some kids know my triggers and find my 'explosions' amusing, I am very vulnerable to emotional bullying and a 'target' when the class feel like a distraction
- Please don't mention the label 'ADD' or my medication in front of anyone, I want to choose if my peers know or not.
- I don't want special treatment, just understanding and acceptance
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