There’s a great blog by an American author called Tess Messer, a mother of an adopted ADHD-er with Combined Hyperactive and Inattentive, and an ADHD biological son who is Primarily Inattentive. She herself had it as a child and writes eloquently, in an All-American fashion about what it is like to sit in 5th Grade with it here on her blog
“I wanted to give you a sense of how a child with Primarily Inattentive ADHD might appear at school.
Do you see that kid in the corner of the room. She is in 5th grade and is lost in her own thoughts. She knows better than to look out the window. She is staring straight ahead. She has not heard a word the teacher has said. She is thinking about why her teenage cousin is so obsessed with that boy with the funny hair.
Now everyone has reached for their math books. Now all the math books are on the desks. Now everyone is writing. Where is my math book? What page are they on? Where is my pencil? She wonders. She finally finds her book and her pencil and manages to sneak a look at the desk in front of her to find the correct page but the lesson is over. The teacher is talking about homework. She is confused and way behind.
She puts the math book away and is now thinking about the house she has built with her sister in the backyard. It is made out of hedge and branches and has a real door. The door will fall down if it is not reinforced somehow, she thinks. The class has moved on to Science. They are repeating something that has a nice ring to it, kind of like a song, “Inertia is the ability to stay still, if still, and if moving to keep on moving, in the same direction, unless acted on by a force”. She sings it a couple of times and memorizes it.
It is time to go outside. She slowly gets up. She never plays with anyone at recess so there is no point in hurrying. It is not that she is disliked. No one really even knows that she is there. She goes to sit in the beautiful tree on the playground and thinks some more about the house that she is building. It will need furniture but her sister will insist on decorating it herself because she complains the girl is too messy.
Her sister comes by with a friend, they are playing Red Rover and are looking for more people. The friend asks her to play Red Rover, the girl’s sister tells her friend that her sister never wants to play anything at school. They move on. She would have liked to play Red Rover and now they are gone. She did not think fast enough. She wishes that the school day was over but it is only lunch time. There is nothing at school that is interesting to her. There is nothing there that she cares about. School is a big waste of time and everyone there thinks that she is dumb. She hates school.
She would like to just stay home. She likes to play quietly in her head and no one bothers her too much. Her mother likes that she plays quietly. Her sisters can be loud and difficult. She has learned to fix broken appliances for money and she babysits. She has amassed a bank account of over $320.00. She is the only kid around with any money to speak of. Her sisters beg her for loans. At home she is not stupid or slow, she is respected.
Her teachers meet with her mother. She is very well behaved, the teachers say, but she is not keeping up, she will have to repeat the 5th grade. Her mother tells them that she will keep up and that she will pass 5th grade. The mother tells the teachers to give the girl another chance. The mother insists that the girl is smart. They send the girl, and her mother, to a Psychologist. The Psychologist does all the tests. The mother is right.
The mother speaks to her daughter. The mother tells her to pass 5th grade. The mother has had this discussion with her daughter every year since first grade. The girl is obedient. She knows that she has to pay enoughattention to pass the grade. She is lucky, somehow she has figured out what enough is.
“What is inertia ??” The teacher asks her on the day of the final exam. “Inertia is the ability to stay still if still and if moving to keep on moving, in the same direction, unless acted on by a force”, the girl chants. The teacher’s mouth drops. An angel is watching me, the girl thinks. The girl knows that she has learned nothing in an entire year of school. It doesn’t matter, she is on her way to the 6th grade.