“Am I the problem?” Imagine asking yourself that question every time you get in trouble for not paying attention or being hyperactive. Imagine having a disability and never knowing because your parents wrote you off as a “problem child,” never getting you tested because having a child with a disability is “such a burden.” A reality for many, and it’s not until they’re teenagers that they find out they have had a disability their entire life.
These young people come to realize they were never a problem at all and just needed some help. No one knew they needed a diagnosis.
You aren’t the problem; it’s your late diagnosis.
Our grandparents grew up in a world where if you had a disability, you were labeled “dysfunctional.” So when they had children, the parents wouldn’t get them tested for disabilities. Doing this meant parents could keep their social status.
They label their children as “challenged” and continue with their lives. However, these children grow up asking what is wrong with them, only to find out they have a disability.
If school districts required testing for children once they reached a certain age and the Individualized Education Program was created for each diagnosed child, we would lower the number of people reaching adulthood before finding out they have had a disability.
Georgia State freshman Jordan Harrison opened up about growing up with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Harrison explained that her parents were very understanding about everything.
However, not everyone was as accepting of her disability. Harrison explained she grew up in a private school scene for most of her education, where they put her in a box because she was different.
“Before I was diagnosed, a lot of parents labeled me as a ‘bad influence’ on their children because I was really active and disruptive,” she said. “Teachers weren’t any better. Once they found out I had ADHD, they all started treating me differently.”
Most teachers aren’t trained to deal with “special education” students, but they should be.
Many students deal with mental health issues. These students often suffer a similar fate.
“I was actually working on a project about ADHD and discovered most people who have it tend to have depression, anxiety and dyslexia. I remember[ed] thinking about everything and realized I had acute dyslexia and seasonal depression,” Harrison said.
Harrison felt she should’ve been treated differently due to her disability, even if she could control it. Young adults should still receive accommodations for their disabilities throughout life. Growing up is hard; a disability only makes it harder. If the world were as accepting of disabilities as they are of reality TV show drama, children everywhere wouldn’t be sitting in their rooms, asking, “am I the problem?”
Society should think, “Maybe we’re the problem.”