I'm dedicating my ADHD coaching practice to childhood friends who, like me, had ADHD but went undiagnosed.
They were the kids labeled as troublemakers, lazy and unmotivated.
You weren't bad kids. We weren't bad kids.
Our teachers didn't have the resources available today to best support neurodiverse kids.
"Good kids sat still and didn't fidget; they paid attention and didn't doodle."
We now know all kids are good. And kids with ADHD may focus better if allowed to doodle. We were often shamed for not comprehending school material right away. We were expected to study in study hall, with so many distractions surrounding us. Our notebooks and folders needed to be organized in a certain way. We were chastised for our messy handwriting. We were called out for twirling our hair as we spoke.
Well-meaning teachers often embarrassed us, thinking it would motivate us to focus, not knowing how sensitive we were. As we became emotionally flooded with shame, we were expected to continue with our schoolwork, schoolwork we couldn't comprehend. We started to skip class, not because we didn't want to learn, but because it was embarrassing not to understand what was being taught and for us to be so utterly misunderstood.
School was challenging for many of us growing up in the 90s; girls went undiagnosed, and we all spent Saturday mornings in detention.
I believe we all did the best we could with what we knew. Our parents, teachers, and social workers wanted us to succeed; I refuse to believe anyone had malice in their hearts. But it wasn't enough.
ADHD is never an excuse, but it explains why you self-medicated and sought out excitement in dangerous ways.
To you, my friends, and others whose paths I didn't cross, who made bad choices and ended up in the prison system where you remain or, worse yet, lived fast for a short time. I'm sorry.
I haven't forgotten about you. I won't forget you. You're my inspiration. You are why I became an ADHD coach. I will advocate for better resources for children whose brains are wired differently. And I will do whatever I can to support those like me who are fortunate as we continue living our lives.
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