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My Original Disability

If you had had any experience of me as a child, and I were to say to you that I believed that my mother deserved a medal for raising me, you may actually have burst out laughing. Suffice it to say, I was a bit of a nightmare. As far as little boys go, I was about as loud and out of control as they come. I could never sit still. I could never concentrate on one thing for longer than a few seconds at a time. And I had zero impulse control. You would be forgiven for saying that I was a bit of a problem child.

At the age of eight, out of sheer desperation, my mother took me to a child psychologist who promptly informed her that I struggled with something called Attention deficit/Hyperactivity disorder, otherwise known as ADHD. In 1981, this wasn't as nearly well-known as it is today, much less understood. The doctor shoved a box of Ritalin into my mother's hands and advised her that I would have to swallow one of these tablets twice a day if she had any hope of getting me under control again. And so my journey of understanding myself, my triggers, and my challenges began.

ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. Children with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors (may act without thinking about what the result will be), or be overly active.

It was thought prudent that my teachers should have my daily dose of this new wonder drug at hand, and that they should be the ones to give me my mid morning dose. Of course, word got out and, children being the cruel little monsters that they are, I was made the object of ridicule by my classmates. Of course, seeing as I came ready armed with a healthy dose of "you shall not make fun of me and get away with it", I was forever getting into scraps and ending up in the headmaster's office. In those primary school days, one thing was for sure – if you picked a fight with me, I would end it.