By Olivia Buster ’20
As Sophomore Cam Clark listens to his geometry lesson his mind starts to wander. Equations start to melt into daydreams as his medication wears off. The bell rings and suddenly everyone leaves. He frantically tries to remember the words and examples his math teacher gave him. Clark has ADHD, along with 3.3 million adolescents diagnosed across America.
“I couldn’t focus on a single thing and school was mentally difficult. I couldn’t understand a single concept. My mind was just everywhere but there,” Clark said.
ADHD wasn’t recognized as a mental disorder until the late 1960s by the American Psychiatric Association. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines ADHD as “A persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.” ADHD can be separated into three types; inattentive type, hyperactive-impulsive type, and a combination of the two. Inattentive types find staying on task difficult. Hyperactive-impulsive types constantly feel the urge to be active and tend to take actions before thinking them through. Combined types struggle with both inattentiveness and acting impulsively. The cause of ADHD is a result of decreased activity in the right hemisphere of the brain. The right regulates social behavior, alertness, and impulsivity. According to Healthline a health information site, the average age of diagnosis is seven. Clark was diagnosed in the sixth grade.
“I was borderline for almost my entire elementary school years. When I went to middle school I got officially diagnosed as ADHD so I started taking medication. Being diagnosed I was able to get the right medication, and the right approach towards life.” Clark explained.
Medication such as Adderall helped retain Clark’s focus in class.
“Beforehand I was completely scattered brained. I couldn’t focus on a single thing and school was mentally difficult. I couldn’t understand a single concept. My mind was just everywhere but there. The medication did help with the ability to focus and the ability to actually grasp concepts that would’ve been unable to grasp without the medication,” Clark said.
School services can be offered to students with ADHD however whether or not the services can be offered to that student depends on that individual. School psychologist Rachel Graver has dealt with multiple students with ADHD.
“It depends on the person, it depends on the severity, it depends on the type, it depends whether or not there is medical intervention, strategies they learned throughout the years through outside counselors, it depends on a lot of things,” Graver explained.
School psychologists look for a formal diagnosis of the disorder. If the individual appears to have a disability that significantly impacts a life function such as learning then that person can receive a 504 plan. The 504 plan grants extra time on tests and accommodations such as selecting a seat in a classroom instead of a teacher.
Freshmen Joe Smith* who has ADHD believes that teachers can assist students with ADHD inside the classroom. Teachers need to sure that they are clear and articulate when they are teaching.
“They need to reiterate and say it multiple times” suggests Smith to teachers when they give lessons.
*Source requested anonymity