glen-carrie-2092 (1)

I like to think of my learning differences as an umbrella. After all, they are just disgnoses. How could anyone point at a thing my brain does differently than others and say, that one is dyspraxia, but that one is dyslexia and every really know for sure, because my brain works as a system and these differences work as a system too. I don’t like to call them difficulties because they have given me the incredible gift of being able to use my brain differently than others, and I don’t care if I will never really understand grammar or spelling and I will never  properly walk in a straight line.

Concentration is hard for me. It tires me out. Staying in the same room for too long is physically painful in a way I can only describe as feeling like I am a small winged insect repeatedly flying into a window pane. I need a change. Staying still is also hard for me. I need to move, even a tiny bit. I do not like to sit still.

My mind wanders and I think. I think about memories and about things I will do and philosophical problems. However hard I try, I can not concentrate when someone talks for an extended period of time and I am not engaged with them. My mind flies away and no matter how interested I am in what they are talking about I end up thinking to myself, and not listening.

I forget. A lot. I lose things constantly because I do not pay attention to what I am doing. I forget directions, and birthday presents, and essential items I have been reminded over and over that I need to bring. Like my ID on a night out.

School was hell for me. I was supposed to sit, every day, in various, similar rooms, learning things I either understood immediately and then had explained over and over again or I was not, no matter how hard I tried, able to grasp the concepts everyone else could. My way of thinking was misunderstood and I didn’t listen and I felt bad and I drifted away.

Today, I am an adult. I do not have to focus on things that do not interest me. I have learned to control my impulsivity when I am upset and angry. I am not forced to sit in a classroom feeling like a dying fly, having to listen to my own irritating buzzing. I am trusted to know when I am able to learn and when I am not and days when sitting in a lecture is impossible, or knowing that three hours of learning in a row is impossible I can leave. I can draw during lectures because it helps me listen to what my professor is telling me and is not the opposite, as is presumed in school.

2 thoughts on “ADD AND ME

  1. geraldine mernagh says:

    I would like to use this piece with some of my students who although working at third level are still trying to learn according to rules which applied in National school. I think it would provoke some very useful discussions about how they learn and perhaps more importantly ‘how they don’t learn’. I loved the metaphors you create around what it feels like to be forced to learn in ways which are intolerable to you.


    Liked by 1 person

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