(I wrote this ages ago and just found it buried in evernote.)
I was diagnosed with adhd when I was around 10 years old. I have a number of other neurological conditions and visited a lot of doctors as a kid. shrinks,speech therapists,etc. I don’t remember a lot of details. they put me on ritalin for a while, and it helped, but by the time I was in high school I wasn’t taking meds or going to the doctor anymore.
however, the administration at my school knew I was “special” so they cut me some slack.
in university I didn’t have such luck. not till near the end when one teacher sat me down and asked me. maybe I should’ve spoken up sooner. I don’t know.
anyway, while at uni I ended up going back to the doctor,this time for depression, and I was once again tested for adhd and given new meds. I also got an official diagnosis of autism, which I’d known for a while.
but all the meds in the world can’t always help so I’ve developed my own strategies for coping.
before the test starts:
- wear comfortable clothes. ones that you like.
- Have a workout before. go for a walk. climb up and down the stairs. jump and down,whatever. exercise helps. shed some nervous energy.
- check your materials: do you have everything you need? pen,eraser,water,tissues,etc?
- take your meds if you didnt that morning. have a cup of coffee if you can.
- Dont sit by a window: this should be obvious. windows have way too many distractions. adhd kids should sit near the front and away from windows.
- Look at your test,not your surroundings.letting your eyes wander leads to distractions.(or teachers to think you’re cheating)
- but do take breaks! just short ones.
- ask about everything, clarify the questions, don’t assume anything
- if possible,start by the end. the hardest questions tend to be there and at least my mind tended to feel tired when I got there,but starting with the hardest questions made everything after seem easier.
- take your time: I have a tendency to hurry and not double check and that leads to mistakes. so I’d think of a traffic light. stop,think,check,go. I still find myself trying to apply this. to avoid panicking and making mistakes because I went too fast. this part is also important cause adhd kids tend to have bad handwriting, and the only way I can make my handwriting somewhere near legible is by s l o w i n g d o w n. And often I had teachers give me bad grades cause they couldn’t understand my handwriting, or they’d have me rewrite everything or read it aloud to them.
and the most important one:
- ask for help if you need it: I still have trouble with this. you can ask for accomodations. I hardly ever did and I regret it a bit. I had to work harder and my grades were not as good as they could’ve been. my whole academic career has been like that. in some instances I really was the lazy genius stereotype, but a lot of other times I tried very,very hard and still had issues. and in the end , at uni, I was having issues with the whole ‘trying to act like a teacher’ thing and finally a teacher decided to help and I was allowed to graduate without having to do the final internship, but I wish I’d asked for help earlier and I probably would’ve had a better/easier time. things didn’t quite develop like I wanted them to.