Picture Julian L.
Meet Jillian L.
Part of the NCLD Team
LD: ADHD, Dyslexia and Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

ADHD is defined by inappropriate levels of hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention. I can tell you from personal experience that those characteristics are indeed true. When I was a kid my parents would always tell me to “sit still” or “stop fidgeting,” as I was constantly moving around. Still to this day, I find it difficult to sit in the same position for a long period of time. I marvel at people who can sit down and stay in seated in the same position for longer than five minutes. I found this internal restlessness especially difficult to control during school. Trying to stay focused during a 40-minute class while sitting in an uncomfortable chair was pretty torturous for a young student with attention issues. I remember asking to go to the restroom during most classes, not because I needed to use the facilities but because I needed a minute to get up a walk around.

I often found that my attention issues affected my ability to follow classroom norms. At a very young age, you’re taught to raise your hand when you want to participate during a classroom discussion or when the teacher asks a question. This idea made perfect sense to me; in reality, though, I would blurt out the answer or comment on a topic as if there were no other students in the classroom. My teachers would get annoyed that I was speaking up out of turn and not giving my classmates a chance to share their thoughts. This behavior really wasn’t intentional, and for a long time I didn’t even notice that my behavior was disruptive. In middle school—before I got my diagnosis—I remember thinking, If I know the answer to a question, why wouldn’t I say it proudly…and loudly?

It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I was diagnosed with ADHD, Dyslexia and Auditory Processing Disorder. Some may say that this is late in the game, but me? I didn’t care. I finally could point to a reason for the restlessness and impulsive behavior. The diagnosis validated all of my stereotypical ADHD symptoms. It was then that I started to work with my family and teachers to manage my symptoms in a calculated way. I was given an Individualized Education Program (IEP), which had specific accommodations in it to help me with my learning and attention issues. For example, before my IEP was in place, I was frequently distracted by other students during exams. Whether they were handing in their exam early or tapping their desks nervously with a pen, these distractions really threw me off my game. With specific accommodations established, I began to take my exams in a separate location in order to diminish classroom distractions and allow me to concentrate, which lowered my anxiety level. In time, my grades and self-esteem improved, and I began to feel excited about college knowing that there were programs out there that could continue to help me with my learning and attention issues.

Throughout college, like any other student, I became more self-assured and in tune with the strategies that helped me succeed. I figured out which studying tactics I needed to use in order to perform well on exams. Over time, I realized the most impactful resource I had to help me with my learning and attention issues was organization. By organizing my classes into separate folders on my computer and color coordinating my assignments in a semester calendar, I felt that I could manage. It was so helpful to know when things were due so that I could figure out where my attention should be focused, instead of freaking out that I wasn’t going to have time to complete my assignments. To this day, I use these organization skills when I am working, and I believe these skills help me when I have time restraints on high-stress projects.

I am fully aware that having ADHD is a lifelong experience. Everyday I have moments where I feel restless and irritable. However, I try very hard to not let my learning and attention issues control my life.

"I’m always working to understand why certain situations may trigger symptoms, moving forward with the knowledge that I’m not perfect and that mistakes—whether intentional or not—are human nature."

This story is credited to NCLD.org. Read her story HERE. Learn more about Jillian HERE.

What is the Difference between ADD and ADHD?

Picture of child not paying attention to his teacher

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are both brain-based conditions that affect people’s ability to stay focused on things like schoolwork, social interactions and everyday activities such as brushing teeth and getting dressed.

The biggest difference:
  • Kids with ADHD are hyperactive—they can’t sit still and are so restless that teachers quickly notice their rambunctious behavior and begin to suspect there might be attention issues involved.
  • Kids with ADD might fly under the radar a bit longer because they aren’t bursting with energy and disrupting the classroom. Instead, they often appear shy, daydreamy, or off in their own world.

ADD is considered one of three subtypes of ADHD.
  • ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive Type.
  • The other two subtypes are ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type, and ADHD Combined Type, which involves both hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive symptoms.

Kids with the inattentive type of ADHD may have trouble finishing tasks or following directions. They tend to be sluggish and slow to respond and process information. It’s often difficult for them to sift through relevant and irrelevant information. They may be easily distracted and appear forgetful or careless. Their symptoms are less overt compared to an individual with hyperactive and impulsive symptoms. Unfortunately, as a result, many individuals with the predominantly inattentive subtype of ADHD are often overlooked.

What is AD/HD?

This video can be viewed HERE on YouTube, submitted by The National Center for Learning Disabilities

What is ADD? (part 1)

This video can be viewed HERE on YouTube, submitted by ReliablyOnline

Learn More

Picture of Brian
Brian C.
Age: 26
Currently residing: Dallas Texas
LD: mild Autism, ADHD, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia

I currently own my own business. I do errands, house sitting, pet sitting, chauffeuring and car detailing. 

When I was in school, I had a hard time fitting in. I knew I was not like the other kids. I was teased and made fun of often. I had a series of tests run on me and was diagnosed with a form of mild Autism, ADHD, Dyscalculia, and Dysgraphia.

In July of 2000, my family and I made the move from Washington D.C to Dallas, TX, so my sister and I could go to Shelton. I started my first year at Shelton in the 7th grade and I was a little intimidated. A new school with new kids, a new start. I made friends quickly and the teachers helped me learn subjects I always had trouble with in the past and I actually started to enjoy school. Over the years, I began having more success with math, my handwriting was improving.

I graduated Shelton in 2006 and went off to college, an new adventure. I found that college wasn't for me, but I knew I liked helping others. I started helping people that had too much on their plate to get everything done. I'd drive kids to and from their schools and their activities, run errand, house and pet sit, and more. At the age of 23, I started Brian's Errand Service.

I am now 26 years old and I have never been happier!
LD awareness month is almost over but that doesn't mean we have to stop spreading the word about LD. Eye to Eye, a national mentoring movement that pairs kids who have LD with college and high school mentors who have been similarly labeled. This movement is spreading, it gives students going through school hope.

A Mentoring Movement for Different Thinkers

This video can be found HERE, subscribe to Eye to Eye on YouTube HERE.

E2E Mentors 2

This video can be viewed HERE by Eye to Eye.

Eye-to-Eye Voices: David Flink, Executive Director

This video can be viewed HERE by Eye to Eye.
Picture of Karen O'Donnell
Karen O'Donnell, a documentary filmmaker from Toronto. While making Odd Kid Out, a film about her son, who has ADHD, O'Donnell got her self tested at age 52 and was also diagnosed with ADHD. Her son, Kail (age 19) said he felt more comfortable with himself after she had been diagnosed.

O'Donnell had suspected that she may have ADHD when she went camping with her family. "I lost my car keys three times," she says. "I wasn't overwhelmed or distracted, so the fact that I continued to lose my keys for no apparent reason upset me." (ADDitued) Growing up she was always haunted with this never ending plagued of loosing things, forgetting, and never able to keep her though and things organized. After many years O'Donnell has learned a few tricks like time management strategies, to help her live a normal life every day. She went to York University and earned a Degree in Fine Arts. (World Production Inc.)

O'Donnell has written, directed, and produced a series of short documentaries, including:
  • If I Were An Artist,
  • The Don Lisk Story
  • Working Without A Net
  • Odd Kid Out
  • A Mine Like Mine

"Try to be honest about your strengths and weaknesses."

"Cut at the Door" clip from A Mind Like Mine

A Mind Like Mine - Trailer

"Cut at the Door" and the "Trailer" can be found on YouTube, submitted by wordshopproduction.