Ceramic Tiles on the Wall

December 7, 2008
By Mallory Gilbert, Metairie, LA

Four hundred sixteen faded blue ceramic tiles, 53 interstices between the floor tiles, 17 students, 34 shoelaces, and 6 buttons on my teacher’s blouse. This is how my school days are usually spent—counting numerous things around the classroom that catch my eye. One could say that I get distracted very easily. It will come as no surprise to discover that I have Attention Deficit Disorder -- A.D.D.

It all started back in the fifth grade when my mother decided to get me tested for A.D.D. Although I knew my brother had it, I was not sure what A.D.D. was. My mother brought me to a specialist to get tested. He sat me in front of a computer and opened up a computer game. The doctor told me the point of the game was to click on only the letter X when it popped up. So I simply nodded my head and figured this was a test that could be aced. This was easier said than done! Once I clicked the start button, one-by-one bright, colorful letters began flashing upon the screen- then they came faster and faster. It sort of reminded me of the “I Love Lucy” episode with the chocolates on the conveyor belt. The letters came so fast that I immediately forgot the instructions and began clicking the mouse as fast as I possibly could. Therefore, I failed this part of the test. After a series of tests with results similar to the first, this man did not have to go to college to determine that I had A.D.D.

The medication first prescribed was Adderall. Unfortunately, this medication had some negative effects on me--no sleep and no food. Many nights I found myself awake and staring at the clock until four in the morning. Another side effect was no appetite whatsoever, causing me to lose a ton of weight. My mom felt that Aderall was an extremely harmful drug and persuaded the doctor to switch medications. Strattera is now the drug of choice with no noticeable side effects.

Although there is medication, it does not cure me completely. Some people relate having A.D.D. with not being smart. This is not the case at all. My mom always said there were smart A.D.D’s and dumb A.D.D.’s, just like everyone else. This disability causes me to work twice as hard because it takes me a lot longer to complete assignments. Everything I study must be put on note cards for repetition. The writing also helps me learn the material. Moreover, passages must be read multiple times before comprehending. Comprehension is a skill that has always been difficult to master because my train-of-thought keeps getting derailed. I can read an entire passage and not remember a single detail.

Now, as I sit in class, I can honestly tell you that I have no idea what the teacher has been explaining for the last 65 minutes. The second hand on the clock moves round and round, yet only 5 minutes have passed since the last time I checked. I hear her, see her mouth move, and watch words come out, yet I comprehend nothing. I am lost in my own train of thought. Now don’t get me wrong. I do not sit in class and stare at a wall all day. I take great notes during class and complete all my class work. It is just when I am doing those things, I get distracted and gradually daze off. My mind has wandered to the soccer game played last weekend or the conversation at lunch. It doesn’t take much. So, for homework, I have to teach myself all the material that everyone else has managed to absorb in class. A.D.D is very time consuming, but by never procrastinating, I have managed to get by fairly well in the past seven years with my coping techniques. I hope only to improve with my disability in the future.

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This article has 1 comment.

vern said...
on Jan. 9 2009 at 7:21 pm
Great job! Keep up the good work.


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