To Clarify | Mark’s Remarks

marksWhen I wrote my column about ADHD a couple of weeks ago, I wrote it in frustration. This happens to me from time to time. I get passionate about a topic and then I furiously plunk out a column. I should know better.

My main point in writing the column was to comment on how many people overuse terms like ADHD, OCD, ADD, etc. Many of these folks haven’t seen a doctor or gotten any examination. It’s a self-diagnosis.

I heard someone talking the other day, commenting on how OCD they were. If you were to actually look at this very real disorder, you will see there are many characteristics to it. Just because you are particular or like to keep a neat house does not make you OCD. I would venture to say many of those folks who call themselves OCD are merely control freaks. I’m one of them.

Then there are the many people (and I wrote about them in the column) who want to say their child is ADHD because they can’t pay attention. These kids are out of control or too active. We slap a label on them, even if we don’t know what ADHD is all about.

In the article, I commented on poor parenting and how many kids who are labeled ADHD aren’t dealing with that disorder at all. Many of these kids aren’t disciplined properly nor have parents who don’t pay enough attention to them. The environment they live in is the reason they are unfocused or hyper. They don’t really have ADHD.

I do not believe parents of all children with ADHD are bad parents, and I don’t believe all parents with ADHD children can find an easy fix. I hope no one thought that was where I was coming from.

ADHD, OCD and all of the disorders people overuse these days are very real. There are folks who are on medication who really deal with these disorders. I was certainly not saying I didn’t believe ADHD or OCD exist. I was simply saying that many of these terms now days are being overused and even abused at times. When we actually educate ourselves about them, we might be ashamed of ourselves for taking it all too lightly.

I have been so proud of our kids lately. All around us, we hear of sports teams and schools embracing kiddos with special needs. A girl with down syndrome is crowned homecoming queen. A boy with special needs is allowed to play in the last few minutes of a basketball game. It’s amazing how our society has changed and how we are teaching our children to reach out to others who have struggles.

But I think there is more to be done. These folks who deal with disorders such as ADHD and OCD look just like the rest of us. In fact, we may not notice anything is wrong at all.

Many of them, aware of their disorder, work very hard to overcome obstacles. I have had students with ADHD who, because of their work ethic, have been able to do so much, succeed in school and do quite well.

These folks who deal with these disorders may be misunderstood. Some may be viewed as rude because they are unable to carry on a conversation without getting sidetracked. Some may be viewed as “quirky” or “strange.” Sometimes the same students who embrace those with special needs will pick on those who suffer from ADHD. As I said, it’s misunderstood.

It is my hope you will understand where I’m coming from. I think we all need to get educated about these disorders be- cause many of us, including myself, don’t know enough.

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Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.
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