I just received this in my inbox from one of my most talented friends:
“My oldest brother was diagnosed with severe ADD in his early teens. He took Ritalin, Adderal, and a few other drugs through high school. He struggled through much of it. I have two other brothers, and both of them, myself, and my Dad all exhibit behaviors that resemble what doctors would consider symptoms of a disorder. We think we’re all a bit ADD.
That oldest brother eventually found art school, went off medication, and has had an amazing life as an artist and educator. Another brother and myself ended up in design school. My dad is a voice actor. My youngest brother is still figuring it out (but is interested in film and move makeup).
ADD is shorthand for a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For us, we associate it with a different learning/cognitive style. I like calling it a "style”. We do things a little bit differently, process a little bit differently. And sometimes that can cause some difficulty in a rigid system that is optimized for the majority learning style (that’s why I did pretty terribly in High School but killed it in college).
I think my youngest brother has been told over and over about his limitations and he can’t help but believe some of it. It pains me. He’s a guy with a different learning style bumping up against a rigid system.
We are a family of creative people. We may not be the best at remembering that the gas stove is still on, but we all create things that we are proud of. I’d much rather be that than the guy who can keep everything safe and in order.
Anyways, thanks for sharing. It’s something that I’ve thought about through my adult life and wish I could shake some of these kids into realizing that there are opportunities built for them, for their style.“