A Dundalk teacher who has an ADHD diagnosis has spoken about the condition in a bid to highlight ADHD Awareness Month.
Katie McDonnell from Priorland told the Dundalk Leader that she was diagnosed earlier this year.
According to the 26-year-old – who has been teaching in Lordship National School for three years – it is common for girls to get diagnosed later in life.
“In school I did quite well. I was bright and I worked well at being organised. It wasn’t until I started college that I thought I might have ADHD,” said Katie.
“I studied special and inclusive education while at college and we explored the traits of ADHD in males and females.
“I hadn’t realised all of the traits. If I hadn’t studied it, I’m not sure I would have ever realised I had the condition.”
October is worldwide ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) Awareness Month. It is a time when individuals and advocacy groups raise awareness about the chronic condition.
ADHD is a neurological condition that creates a range of persistent symptoms such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour.
Adults with ADHD may find they have problems with:
• Organisation and time management
• Following instructions
• Focusing and completing tasks
• Coping with stress
• Feeling restless or impatient
• Impulsiveness and risk taking
• Some adults may also have issues with relationships or social interaction
“The main areas affecting me were my disorganisation. I’ve had a problem with that since I was a child,” she said.
“Other traits include procrastination and clutter. Procrastination has been a huge problem for me since college as a lot of assignments would be due in the same week.
“There were countless nights when I would have to stay up late working on assignments. I’d also have difficulty listening especially in a group setting.”
Katie added: “I’m very hard on myself at times. I see a lot of these traits as negative. Last year I decided I needed to do something about it.
“I approached my GP and talked about my history. I explained that it wasn’t something I experienced every now and then.
“I was referred to a psychologist. We spoke and I filled out assessments and a few months later I got a diagnosis.”
She continued: “I found I already had a lot of coping strategies for it. Simple things like laying out my belongings, list making and alarm reminders. It helps to keep me on track.
“A lot of people were surprised when I told them about my diagnosis. I hide it very well but it can be overwhelming to try and hide it.
“I have to say everyone who knows has been very supportive. They are willing to listen and try to understand.”