I'm linking up again with "Coffee and Conversation"! This is this week's prompt:
"What does it mean to you to have made a difference in this world? What are you doing to achieve that change, and how has it been made possible?"
If I make one person’s life better than it would have been otherwise, I will feel that I have made a difference in the world.
One way in which I hope I am planting seeds for a better world is guest-speaking in some of the special education and early methods classes in the education department where my husband teaches. I talk about girls with ADHD, specifically the ways ADHD symptoms manifest differently in girls than in boys. My own ADHD went undiagnosed until I was a couple of months away from my college graduation, so I never received the kinds of services that I should have in grade school.
The primary symptom of my ADHD was extreme disorganization that caused lots of trouble meeting deadlines, and I still struggle with both of these things to this day. In school, I was – to put it mildly – an underachiever, and it was frustrating because I KNEW the materials and I WANTED to turn in my homework, but I just couldn’t seem to follow through on these things. I had no idea what was wrong with me. And because teachers and the general public didn’t understand much about how ADHD manifests in girls, my teachers and parents didn’t know what was wrong with me either. It definitely impacted my self-esteem, and is probably at least partially responsible for the depression I have lived with since I was about ten.
I enjoy getting to speak to classes of future teachers, presenting the research I have done in grad school about girls with ADHD (you can read a little bit more about the differences in this blog post or this article), and the students seem to enjoy hearing about my personal experiences as an undiagnosed, untreated girl with ADHD as a primary, secondary and college student. My prayer is that one young teacher remembers the day I spoke to her college class and reconsiders why one of her female students may be struggling, with the possibility of ADHD in mind. If this little girl is spared the mental health and academic struggles I had, I would feel I had made a difference in the world... and I would feel blessed and thankful for that opportunity!