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ADHD Year by Year

Here are some of the challenges faced when your brain works differently, as written from a grade-school perspective.


(page 1 of 2)


I was so excited to go to kindergarten. I couldn’t wait to play with the other kids! It did seem like a lot to get used to, though.

There was something called “circle time,” where everyone had to sit around the teacher. Sometimes she would read a story and sometimes she would play the guitar and sing songs. But I needed to move during circle time. I ran around the circle and talked to all the kids. I couldn’t understand how everyone could sit still and listen without talking for so long. My brain wouldn’t let me sit quietly.

First grade

My friends got mad at me a lot. They said that I got too close to them when we had to form a line and that I always butted ahead to be first. My brain wouldn’t let me take turns. I thought that the teacher told us to pull out our science book and turn to page 10. As she started teaching the class, I looked around to find everyone else looking in their social studies book on page two. My brain wouldn’t let me listen.

Second grade

I didn’t like raising my hand to answer a question. Yelling out was important because I needed to show everyone right away that I knew the answer. My brain wouldn’t let me keep the answer in my head until I was called on. The teacher told us to write down our homework assignments, which were always written on the board. One day, I was going to write them down—but then I heard a lawn mower. I had to look out the window to know what color the lawn mower was, how big it was, what was being mowed, and who was mowing it. Suddenly it was time to leave to go to our buses, and I had forgotten to write down the assignment. My brain wouldn’t let me focus on what was going on inside the classroom.

Third grade

I came home with homework, and my mom wanted me to start doing it right after I had a snack. I refused to do it then, stomping my feet and yelling at her that it was hard and I was tired. My brain wouldn’t let me obey my mom without getting frustrated and angry.

Fourth grade

I brought home my book to do homework, but I brought home the wrong one and left my notebook with the assignment at school. My brain wouldn’t let me be organized.

Fifth grade

I took a test in science class, but I kept worrying about how fast the other kids were finishing. I didn’t want to be last and I couldn’t focus on anything else, so I randomly picked answers and moved quickly. My brain wouldn’t let me slow down and concentrate.

Does it get better in the Middle School Years? -->

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