Teens with ADHD: You’re Not Alone!

Some teens with ADHD or ADD feel embarrassed by, or alone with, their diagnosis. Teens with ADHD face challenges that many of their peers don’t have and often don’t understand.

Feeling “different” can be uncomfortable and can make it hard to want to admit the diagnosis. Sometimes, as a result, teens can feel reluctant to use accommodations or develop personalized strategies to support success, feeling that “I just want to be normal.”

In reality, no teen with ADHD is alone. Some 3 – 5 % of American teens  – about 2 million teens in total – have ADHD, although as many as 50 percent of teens with ADHD may never be diagnosed.  These numbers mean that in an average high school classroom, at least one teen is likely to have ADD or ADHD. (For these and more statistics on teens with ADHD, see this page on teenhelp.com)

If you are a teen feeling alone with a diagnosis of ADHD, meet these young people:
Nathan (age 12), Katie and Kyle (both age 13), Kati (age 14), Tyler and Ari (age 15), Adrian and Khris (age 16), Perry and Jeremy (age 17), Erik and Amelia (age 18).

Each of these twelve teens has ADHD, and they all share their experiences and advice in A Bird’s-Eye View of Life with ADD and ADHD by Chris Zeigler Dendy and her son Alex Zeigler, who himself has ADHD. In this very readable book, you can learn from these teens about how they handle the following common ADHD challenges. (Any of these sound familiar?) 

  • disorganization
  • inattention
  • forgetfulness
  • impulsivity
  • time management
  • procrastination
  • sleep
  • handwriting issues
  • regulating the pace of work
  • writing 
  • math
  • managing emotions
  • restlessness or hyperactivity
  • taking medication
  • succeeding in school
  • making and keeping friends
  • accepting help
  • driving with ADHD

Here’s Amelia’s advice on accepting ADHD, from Chapter 3 of the book:

“Don’t let it get you down. I first found out that I had ADHD in the sixth grade when I came home upset because I had failed a class at school. My disorganization was so bad that I did the homework but would forget to turn it into the teacher.  At first I was really angry about having ADHD. I hated being dependent on medicine, hated having to take the medications, yet knew I really needed them so I could do well in school. I hated that I couldn’t be a “normal” kid. My advice is, “Don’t let the ADHD get you down. If people make fun of you, don’t listen. Believe in yourself!”

This is a very readable book – and useful as well.  Check it out!

Photo credit: Ambro, freedigitalphotos.net

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