Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder should not be categorized as a learning disability and the word “disorder” should be avoided to prevent a negative stigma for those who are diagnosed.
I was diagnosed in the second grade and I had social anxiety that was directly caused by the stigma of having ADHD.
My friend Nissa Rolf, a California Lutheran University senior psychology and music double major who was diagnosed with ADHD in high school, also rejects the word disorder in the formal name.
“When I think of disorders, I think of like something wrong in the brain,” Rolf said. “Debilitating and helpless.”
According to HealthCentral.com, having a learning disability means “the regions of the brain aren’t effectively communicating with one another, resulting in processing problems… which in turn can result in difficulties with speech, reading, writing, following directions, and problem solving.”
Rolf said there is nothing wrong with her because of ADHD; her brain simply runs differently.
ADHD causes inattention, excessive fidgeting and lack of impulse control, which “can cause problems with learning and look similar to a learning disability, but not because of processing problems in the brain,” according to HealthCentral.com.
Ironically, after most people told me that my disability would prevent me from succeeding, my ADHD is responsible for my success by making me a creative, outside-the-box thinker.
The truth was that my teachers did not know how to teach me. Having ADHD does not erase a person’s ability to learn, it only changes the way we learn.
According to MentalHelp.net, “there is a large school of thought that views ADHD ‘symptoms’ as simply an extreme expression of normal human behavior.”
ADHD is not a learning disability because it does not keep people who have it from learning, it just means we learn in a unique way.
ADHD should be removed from any list of learning disabilities and the word “disorder” should be removed from the name because it is disparaging to those who struggle with it and demeaning to those who thrive despite it.