I envy those who live in a structured world. Those who have only one radio station in their head, those who can focus on one thing. There is so much else going on in my head, it feels like I have 5000 radio stations in my head at the same time.

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This is what Cecilie, who has ADHD, says. The case is published on The Oslo School's website. Here are some key points in her case.

 

Misunderstood as stupid and lazy

She tells: In primary school, she was perceived as stupid - but she was not.

She was perceived as lazy, as if she did not care, as if she were somewhere else.





This was far from the truth, which was that she really did the best she could. She spent much more energy at school than it seemed at first glance. 

The first time Cecilie suspected she had ADHD was in 7th grade, after a science test. She understood the structure of the task, but could not put it into words. The mind failed to create a logical explanation on the sheet so that others could read it.





It was not a problem of understanding, but of performance. This is a common experience among people with ADHD: namely that it is not the knowledge that matters, but the ability to use it in an effective, orderly and structured way. 

 

Another way to learn

Cecilie gives a very interesting look at how to learn - and not learn - when you have ADHD. She tells: 

Subjects such as math and science are much more difficult than other subjects. I think it has something to do with structure, the way it is built. It also begins at one end and finishes at the other end. I almost feel like I'm self-taught the way teaching is now. I might as well have dropped out of class. In other subjects, such as language and social studies, it is easier to gain an understanding of the topic.

ADHD is another way to learn.

She talks about how difficult it is to concentrate when it is calm around. It is much easier when there is constant movement and sound around her, she says:

Even though teachers know I have this diagnosis, many still fail to understand it. They think it's about hyperactivity, but I'm not hyperactive so it seems I'm hyperactive in my head. Maybe it's not so easy for people to understand or believe what one cannot see?

 

- Most teachers do not understand ADHD

An overarching message in her post is that she believes that most teachers think they understand ADHD - but that they actually don't.

Even though they know what it means, they are unable to arrange the proper teaching for individuals such as Cecilie.

She calls for teachers to actually UNDERSTAND more about ADHD.

For a person who has 5000 radio stations in her head and does not find structure in the mess, it is important to help find structure, remove some of the conceptual noise, and build a feeling of mastery. 

One of the calls is the following: 

I want the teacher to sit down with me. Talk with me. Visualized the problems. Maybe make a mind map. Help me with the structure of the task. Find a common thread. Simply helping me get started.