• October 2, 2023

Everything is wrong with it…..

I’ve heard of some well-intentioned but misinformed teachers implying that their student does not require specific (often mandated) supports and accommodations because “everyone has adhd.” While it is true no one has perfect attention habits, this is the equivalent to telling someone with depression to not take their medication because “everyone gets sad from time to time.” The statement is fallacious and ignores a real medical diagnosis in need of support and intervention.

Americans living with ADHD are also protected from discrimination under section 504 of the Disability Act and if an accommodation if provided under a 504 accommodation a school and instructor has to comply or risk legal consequences.

ADHD Brain

Looking into the ADHD Brain

There’s a neurotransmitter in our brains that responds to the stress we feel from our environment. It’s called norepinephrine. As part of the body’s response to stress, norepinephrine influences how the brain pays attention or focuses on its environment.

In the brain of a kid (or adult) with ADHD, there are usually low levels of norepinephrine. Norepinephrine combines with dopamine to help people pay attention and focus on their daily activities. When the supply of these chemical transmitters are low, it can yield ADHD symptoms.

On a deeper note, the ADHD brain shows some unusual forms of activity that affect four specific regions of the brain. These regions are the prefrontal cortex, limbic system, basal ganglia, and the reticular activating system. Together, these regions of the brain influence attention span, emotional regulation, and information relay in the nervous system.

The unusual activity discovered in an ADHD brain follows complex patterns that then make a kid (or adult) with ADHD different. While it should not be the case, that different in every person living with ADHD is often seen in a negative light.

Living with ADHD

When you’re living with ADHD and someone else (a teacher or maybe a parent) says everyone’s got ADHD, your initial response to the comment would vary depending on how you view and experience ADHD.

Maybe it could even feel comforting, right? To not be alone? Except, you also know that it’s not true, NOT everyone’s living with ADHD. The next feeling that typically comes up is the feeling of being invalidated. What’s worse is said invalidation can lead to the restriction of supports and materials you may require for success in the classroom, workplace, or other specified environment.

Let’s Wrap This Up…

Everyone does not have ADHD. Making a statement that says everyone does invalidates the experiences of people living with ADHD who really interact with the environment in a unique way from everyone else.

It’s important that these kinds of invalidation do not come from figures that kids look up to such as their teachers, parents, or older siblings and relatives.

I hope this helps!

Desmond utilizes his knowledge of education policy from his undergrad, his Masters of Education from Johns Hopkins, and a variety of advanced certifications such as CHPC and LWT to construct prime academic intervention programs and homework/executive functioning support for all his students.

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