Feeling Separate and Unequal with ADHD

Image via Additude Magazine

People with any kind of learning difference are bound to feel “separate and unequal,” because of their difficulties navigating in a world that expects them to fit in. Dr. Dodson describes in this slideshow what this is like and how kids with learning differences can develop a deep shame. Click here to read more:  Feeling Separate and Unequal with ADHD.

It made me aware of how I need to be sensitive to how my reactions can effect the kids I work with as a tutor. I need to keep reminding myself that many of the behaviors are due to the learning differences.

“For ADHDers, shame arises from the repeated failure to meet expectations from parents, teachers, friends, bosses, and the world. It is estimated that those with ADHD receive 20,000 more negative messages by age 12 than those without the condition. They view themselves as fundamentally different and flawed. They are not like other people.–Dr. William Dodson”

It is so important for kids to receive the message that they are accepted and do not have to be perfect. The message that they are worthwhile people and are loved for who they are.

Dr. Dodson points out it is important for kids to feel they have a cheerleader:

“Having someone—a friend, neighbor, coach, or grandparent—who accepts and loves a child or adult with ADHD, despite his faults and shortcomings, is vital in overcoming shame. This is the opposite of perfectionism, in which approval is contingent on what the person has done lately. The accepting person acts as a vessel that holds the memory of you as a good and valuable person, even when things go wrong.”

10 thoughts on “Feeling Separate and Unequal with ADHD

  1. kimicalreaction

    This is such a powerful line: “The accepting person acts as a vessel that holds the memory of you as a good and valuable person, even when things go wrong.”
    Thank you for the reminder that we can all do a little more to support the people in our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. Dan Antion

    “…who accepts and loves a child or adult with (insert issue), despite his faults and shortcomings…” – Should be standard operating procedure for adults. I don’t mean to diminish people with ADHA, but there are so many issues that so many people choose not to accept these days that it makes me mad.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      Yes it can be very difficult for these kids at school. Making sure the child/ person has a safe haven and feels accepted is important because the world is telling them they are coming up lacking or failing.

      Liked by 1 person

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  3. Kat

    Kids are very different these days and they are dealing with so many things that we did not have to face at their age. I’m reminded of this when talking with the kids in my reading group- 7-8 year olds. I think it’s important to keep that in mind when dealing with them.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      Yes even the curriculum is so accelerated. I do not think it is a good thing. But I am talking about kids that have learning problems and attention problems and how hard it is for them to be called out about it all the time.

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. Kat

        Yes, Deborah. The group I read with is kids who join- we don’t get to choose- and we do get kids who have learning or attention problems. It’s never more magnified than when it’s only 5 kids sitting in a circle. I also dealt with it when I was a Scout leader way back. I think the added stresses of the world today make it that much harder for them.

        Liked by 1 person

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