From Primary to Secondary school, hear first hand what it’s like to experience living with ADHD and the impact it can have on school.

ADHD: My brain won’t sit still

Having ADHD means that I find it hard to concentrate and hard to sleep.  It’s like my brain won’t sit still, it’s always jumping around from one thing to the next.  It means that I am different from everyone else. I need help in class from support staff and sometimes I get taken out of class to work as the slightest noise distracts me.  It feels like no-one else needs as much extra help. I feel singled out, I can’t just fade into the background like everyone else.

Feeling different at Primary school was my normal

Primary School was full of lots of trial and error.  As well as ADHD I have Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, APD and Essential Tremor. 

Once someone told me I had won the lottery of neuro-developmental difficulties, I don’t exactly feel lucky.  Apparently this is pretty common with ADHD, most of us have other challenges.  There were lots of ‘interventions’ – exercises, diets, glasses with every colour of lense under the rainbow. 

Looking back I didn’t really understand how I was different then because it was just normal to me.

My experience of living with ADHD at Secondary school

Secondary school was scary.  I was nervous because it was a new school and it might be hard to make friends.  At the same time I was excited because it was going to be different.  I hoped it would be a chance for a new start.  However, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  From the beginning I was forgetting lots of homework and not writing down dates in my diary.  I am really bad at keeping everything tidy and organised and remembering equipment and books.

Teachers began thinking I didn’t care, I really did care and I wanted to do well but I just didn’t know how to prove it.

I was falling further and further behind, I started to feel like there was nothing left in me and no-one saw any future in me.

A new school year and a big change

But the start of a new year at school, S3, saw a big change.  Over the summer between S2 and S3 I started a new medication for my ADHD.  I could concentrate more easily, I could remember and learn almost as easily as everyone else. I felt very proud knowing that I had always been capable; it was just the ADHD that stopped me being able to show it.

I can’t just fade into the background like everyone else.

In S2 I failed everything.  In S3 I got much better.  These results meant that some of my classes changed.  After my terrible S2 results I was placed in a Maths class with other people who had lots of difficulties, it was so noisy and chaotic it felt like a zoo to me.  I have inattentive ADHD, which means I’m the quiet, dreamy person staring out the window and in a chaotic class I just couldn’t focus.  I kept asking to get out of the noisy class, I didn’t belong there and it was even harder to concentrate.  The teachers were a bit reluctant to move me until they saw my test results!!

There is potential in people

There are benefits to having ADHD.  I get more support in classes and it helps me to understand what people in my old maths class are like and why.  If people are struggling to do something, or get a word mixed up, I can understand why.  It shows me that there is potential in people they just need a chance and the right help.

This is just one pupil’s experience of living with ADHD and the support that worked for them. For more information and support take a look at the Scottish ADHD Coaltion website.