ADD/ADHD Shaming Leaves Emotional Scars
Note: This blog posts first appeared on http://www.bobosslerchaplain.com
by Janice Hall Heck
This morning I read an article on the Internet about a middle school student who received an end-of-year award in front of his classmates.
His mother later reported: “He had tears in his eyes. He’s embarrassed because he had to accept it in front of his entire class.”
Most likely to be distracted by….look something shiny!
Having ADD or ADHD is no fun. Classmates label children with ADHD “dumb,” “stupid,” or even more insulting names, usually out of hearing of the teachers or other adults.
Frustrated teachers, tired of the excessive talking or movement of children with ADHD sometimes drop remarks that singe the child’s emotional well-being. Being called a “space cadet” or a “talking machine” invites snickers from classmates. Other students receive the subtle message that it is okay to tease students whose learning style is different.
Educators know that children easily recall those things tied to emotions.
Negative remarks affect us more than positive remarks. We play them over and over in our heads. We recall the full emotional impact of remarks made to us as children: who said what, where we were, what we were wearing, who was nearby. We can even remember what the weather was like that particular day. Stinging remarks have strong, long-term emotional impact.
Negative remarks ferment in our memory banks. They may be tucked away and forgotten for awhile, but they resurface in inconvenient times, even years later, complete with full emotional impact, when a similar event arouses them out of their reverie.
Facial expressions and body language can be just as bad. A frown, rolled-eyes, a deep sigh, a head shake, a pointed finger. All these send messages to the child or adult who learns differently.
Sad stories hit the news. Really? Do these thoughtless things happen?
Yes. Too often.
Have you had a similar experience with derogatory remarks or actions being made towards you because of your learning differences?
Note: future blog posts will suggest alternative responses that teachers and adults can use in situations where a child’s ADHD interferes with learning–his or her own or others.
*AD/HD is the official DSM-V diagnostic label for children who have attention, distraction and or hyperactivity behaviors to such an extent that they have difficulty with academic and social learning. (The slash is often dropped for ease in writing.)
ADD is an earlier term used for this disorder. It is often interchanged with ADHD, especially with adults where hyperactivity is not the main issue.
New Book (not yet titled) on ADD/ADHD
Janice Hall Heck and Bob Ossler are working on a book about the challenges and difficulties of growing up and living with ADD/ADHD. Bob Ossler’s shares stories of difficulties he faced in life with his undiagnosed ADD, the lessons he learned in managing his learning style differences, and where he is today. Janice Heck adds strategies for assisting learning in academic and social settings. Check this website for information about the release of this book, most likely in 2019.
Click here to order Triumph Over Terror on Amazon. This book is about Chaplain Bob Ossler’s experiences at Ground Zero after the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
via ADD/ADHD Shame