“Does *insert name* have two heads?” “Why can’t you get good grades like him or even better?” “You’re the most playful kid I have ever seen and that’s why you’re failing”
How many people had to deal with comments like these from their teachers and/or parents growing up? How many kids out there are currently stuck in this same cycle? Way more than you think, trust me. “I try to read but I can’t” “I’d like to pay attention but I just can’t”. Can’t sit still, can’t stay put, these struggles and more are what children with dyslexia and/or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (simply known as ADHD) face on a regular basis.
Permit me to be a little schooly for a bit but what exactly does dyslexia and ADHD look like? Well I’m certainly not an expert but from the little I’ve learnt, a child with dyslexia has difficulty with reading and or spelling, and or writing. No, not because they’re not smart or blind and hence can’t read, on the contrary, they have normal intelligence and normal vision. Dyslexia is a learning disorder categorized with symptoms like slow reading fluency, directional confusion (eg issues with recognizing similar letters like m and w, b and d etc) You can read more about it here https://dyslexiaida.org/dyslexia-basics/
ADHD one the other hand is a medical condition that makes it difficult for a person to pay attention and control impulsive behaviors, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). It affects one’s ability to sit still and self control. Just learning about this is in my undergrad made me wonder how many kids around me had this growing up, how many classmates were tagged the bad sheep of the class simply because they were way too restless and “too playful”.
Not to over generalize but looking back at my primary and secondary education, I believe conditions and disorders like this that could very much adversely impact ones learning are unfortunately not given even half of the attention they need. In the US alone, about 6.1 million children have been diagnosed with ADHD according to the CDC. This just makes me wonder about other children, for example, children in my home country Nigeria whose teachers and/or parents might not necessarily have the adequate knowledge to suspect conditions like this, may not have access to quality healthcare to be diagnosed and about how they are treated by those around them.
Well, this is where you and I come in. This post by no means presents the full information on Dyslexia and ADHD but it’s just to spike your interest in it, to create awareness. Dear Parent, be more aware of the possibility of conditions like this in your seemingly restless child. Dear School Management, train your employees on how to look out for students like this and help them. Dear Teacher, be more observant of your student’s behaviors and how it affects their learning experience, be more accomodating of the “difficult child”. Be patient enough to find the diamond in the rough.
No child gets to choose where they’re born into and what they’re born with and no child should have to suffer for it. Be a voice to the voiceless today.
Thank you for reading, please do well to share with others too. Please comment your thoughts below, I’d love to hear from you.
I’ve cited some good articles below for extra reading if interested.
“Data and Statistics About ADHD.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 Oct. 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html.
“Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): The Basics.” National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd-the-basics/index.shtml.
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