Monday, February 13, 2006

ADD, a True Disability

Everyonce in a while it dawns on me that I truly have a disability: ADHD (inattentive type). It's not the kind of disability that is very noticible when you have it. I've always been this way, and as far as I knew up until I was about 13 was that everyone else was like me. It's not like I woke one day and couldn't concentrate. It's not like I got my attention cut off in an industrial accident. You can't see a lack of attention like you can other forms of disability.

Because of the invisibility of ADHD, some people just think that I didn't get hit enough as a child. I still get this from people sometimes, though usually in the form of "maybe your parents just didn't discipline you well enough?". I'm hesitant to tell people that I have ADD because I am affraid that this is what they'll think, or that they'll think that I use ADD as an excuse for being a slacker. This is especialy the case when it comes to teachers, bosses, and authority figures in general.

Here are some facts:
50 - 70% of people with ADHD drop out of high school.
8 - 10% of people with ADHD graduate from college.
Teen pregnancy rates are much higher among ADHD populations.

Considering these facts, I think I've managed to do pretty well. I have a high school diploma, I had my first child at 22 (I'm currently 24), and I'm about a year off from getting my bachelor's degree (it's only taken me 6 years).

I think a great deal of my success has to do with being medicated. My older brother hasn't had that benefit. He dropped out of high school, and got his GED. As far as I know he has no plans to get any higher education. Last time I checked the very thought of it made him have to swig another beer. He's a brilliant guy. I don't want to say that his brain is going to waste. He's doing the best he knows how to do. I hope the best for him.

This is for everyone out there that has ADHD:
Your are not undisciplined slackers. The modern environment puts us at a disadvantage, but we can succeed. It's not right to compare our achievements to "normies". They may have one-track minds , but we have the legal right to own high strength amphetamines!


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