I've dealt with ADHD without medication for my entire school career. It's been a lot of difficult times and stress, but I feel as though I've accomplished something after all these years, without sacrificing my individuality in the process. Kindergarten was a great trouble for myself and the rest of my family. I'm pretty sure I was diagnosed with ADHD by one psychatrist and another said I might not have it. My parents decided not to medicate me for the problem, going against the teacher's suggestions. They did take her suggestions to limit my sugar intake and other various things, I can still see my cake from my 6th birthday, a catterpillar of some sort, it tasted very odd. I continued misbehaving through most of early elementary school.

Not everything there was bad. I was pretty introverted as a young child, still am in some ways, and it led to me learning about all sorts of things. I remember the fifth grade girls talking to me when I was about 7, they would go around the school parking lot covering name plates of cars and asking me what they were, I knew every one, even the obscure Toyota Cressida. I had few real friends, but I still tried desperately to fit in. I didn't seek the superficial playtime friends of my peers, I wanted more than that.

The school system did little to help me. Conversations between them and my parents always revolved around molding me to fid the school, never them coming anywhere close to meeting me halfway. They didn't like what they didn't understand, I was punished for programming BASIC on the school's Apple IIs. I was told to "go play" when I sat on the bench during recess learning binary. I read every technology related book in the little library of the school, it fascinated me, robots, motors, computers, all of it. My parents couldn't afford to buy that kind of stuff, and the school failed to realize my abilities.

In fourth grade, my family moved into a nicer house, further out from Philadelphia. My new school experience was unremarkable, the same lack of friends and parent teacher meetings to discuss "the andrew problem." It was during this time that I met Ramsey, who was also interested in computers, but had trouble dealing with me at times. My fifth grade teacher was one of the few who actually appreciated how my different method of thinking could be beneficial to others. She listened to what I had to say and let me do what I wanted on the classroom computer. Eventually my hyperactivity subsided, and I became more appreciated by my peers.

Middle school was a time of great change, I made and lost friends, learned how to deal with problems, and managed to get out generally unscathed. I had difficulty with doing my work in class though, which affected my grades quite a bit.

In high school I have my major problems pretty much under control, though I do have a lot of difficulty with procrastination and lack of motivation to do much in the way of schoolwork. But the ADD also brings me the ability to hyper focus on tasks which I find important, which even includes schoolwork on occasion. I have an excellent ability to remember various obscure details about events. When it comes to finding solutions to problems, I look for more than the obvious, I'll consider anything and everything, often coming up with a (somewhat odd) solution which works better than something more normal. I use these abilities on a near daily basis, and they make my life much easier, and often can be used to help others.

If I were in the position to speak to a parent of a child with ADHD, I would recommend that they avoid medication if at all possible. The road to success is long and hard, but when you get there, it seems worth it. Life is meant to be a journey, a "magic cure" does nothing but put off real personal growth. Through my dealings with the issues of my own personality, I've learned a lot about how people fail to see the value in those who are different, even when they have a lot to offer, and it isn't good.