Taarika Foundation (TF): What exactly is ADHD and how does it affect people who have it?
Leah Anderson (LA): ADHD is also known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and it affects the ability to concentrate and to sit still. It generally affects children and manifests itself in impulsive behaviors and being overly active. It causes people to have an inability to sit still for a long period and to focus on a task for more than a few minutes.
How can ADHD make studying and school challenging?
LA: With school, obviously you have to sit through school for 45 mins. My classes are 80 mins which is even longer to sit still and focus. It is harder to sit down and take a test or sit down and study for a long period or to focus during school.
Is there a way to teach people to cope with their ADHD so that it has little to no effect on them?
LA: For mental disorders such as ADHD I have learned that the most important thing is coping skills. Coping skills in this context mean figuring out the ways to learn that work for you. Some people with ADHD can sit for 15-20 minutes while some people with ADHD can only sit for five minutes. The biggest thing for me is to have enough breaks so that I can walk around and move, and learn how to focus myself in a way that I can learn.
What help/treatment have you received for ADHD? Has it helped?
LA: So I take medications to help with my ADHD, but unless there is an effort put in, for me to realize that I have this hindrance, the most important thing for me is to use my skills because the medication can only do so much. I have a learning specialist to help me with the things that I have issues with like essays and taking a test.
What advice would you give to the teens who have ADHD?
LA: The most important thing is getting tested, and knowing that you have this diagnosis. If you know you have this diagnosis you can go to your school and talk to them about accommodations which for me, have been very helpful in the past. Another thing is to take breaks and learn about yourself. It is not about how well your classmates learn and how your teacher teaches you, it is learning how you can best take in information and sit for longer periods of time. Talking to a psychiatrist is also helpful because they can prescribe medications to you that can help lower some of the effects of ADHD.
TF: Today, we interviewed Leah Anderson, a senior at Harker High School. We learned a lot about ADHD and how it can affect study habits and skills. We also learned how you can cope with your ADHD to form good study skills and to be mindful. Again, special thanks to Leah Anderson for helping us with this podcast. We are from the Taarika Foundation, and you are listening to Mindful, Beautiful, and Thriving. Be sure to stay safe and stay home.