From LD OnLine: Jack, a sixth grade middle school student with ADD, wrote this essay and won the 2007 Breaking Barriers Essay Contest. The contest is based on the values exemplified by the life of Jackie Robinson, the first black man to play in Major League Baseball in 1947. LD OnLine presents this essay to its readers as a model of self-determination. There are also some tips to help students with ADD focus at school.
Have you ever been working on something important, when a song pops into your head? Then that leads you to think of something in the song about flying, which leads to play with your remote control glider? Next thing you know, its dinner time and you haven’t finished the homework you started two hours before.
That’s what its like to have Attention Deficit Disorder. I know because I’ve had ADD for as long as I can remember. For me ADD means that I can’t focus whenever I really need to. It’s something I will live with for the rest of my life. And it’s no fun!
When I was younger, people told me I was really smart. But I never got good grades to show it. When I was at school, I would get bored really quickly. Then I would look for something more interesting to do. Sometimes I would try to help other kids with their work. The problem is, I didn’t finish my work, and that would lead to trouble. There were lots of days I even felt like quitting school.
My parents were confused. They knew I was smart, but I wasn’t showing it. My doctor suggested that I see a specialist doctor. He gave me a bunch of tests. When it was all done, he told me and my parents that I had ADD. Sometimes it’s called ADHD. The H stands for hyper. He said I didn’t really have the H, so I guess that was some good news. It was also a little surprising, since I was a sugar freak.
To help me focus, the doctor gave me some tips to follow. One of them is to keep a special journal with me all the time to write down things like what homework I have and when things are due. I try to keep the notebook with me wherever I go. It really helps.
I came up with another tip myself. When I have a test or a quiz I challenge myself to get it done by a certain time. That keeps me focused on the test and not on the pretty girl sitting in front of me or the lizard in the aquarium. Ah, lizards. I really like lizards. Where was I again?
Oh yeah, my focus techniques. With the help of my parents and my older brother, I started doing some other things that help with my ADD, like going to bed a little earlier so I get a good night’s sleep. My brother and I share a bedroom, and he has agreed to go to bed earlier to help me out. Another thing our whole family has started doing is eating a healthy diet. I used to eat a lot of junk food, but now I only eat a little bit. Ah, junk food. Oops, I’ll try not to do that again.
I’ve been working hard, using these focus techniques for the last year and guess what? My grades have started to go up! In fact, on my last report card I got five ‘A’s and one ‘B’. That’s the best I’ve ever done!
My teacher, Miss Ryan, suggested I write this essay. I’m not sure if I knew who Jackie Robinson was before this, but I did some checking. Turns out, he was a great man who had to overcome one of the worst things there is, racism. He did it using the values of courage, determination, teamwork, persistence, integrity, citizenship, justice, commitment, and excellence.
I have used some of these same values to help me overcome ADD. For instance I am committed to use my focus techniques, and I am determined to do better in school. Plus my family has helped me with things like diet and sleep, and that is being a team. Yay team! Also when I focus, I am a good citizen and don’t bother my classmates as much. Last but not least, using these values has helped me to get almost all ‘A’s on my report card, which is an example of excellence. Thank for being such a good example, Jackie!