Wu Chin-chieh (吳沁婕), who was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), recently told her story at workshops hosted by the New Taipei City Government’s bureaus of education and health for first and second-grade elementary-school teachers to help them better understand children with the learning disability.
Wu, 33, authored a book titled More Than Wonderful (我的過動人生) that was published in 2009 in the hopes of overturning the stereotypes about children suffering from ADHD.
She said she had been called a “brat” for constantly causing trouble when she was in the fourth grade.
She was held back a year in high school, then almost expelled after failing half of her subjects at National Taiwan University. She had little patience and a short attention span, which she said limited her interests to insects and small animals.
Looking back on her childhood, she said she had always wanted to be a “boyish little princess” because she was careless like boys were. She said she never remembered to bring her umbrellas home and once forgot her book bag on a bench at a bus station.
Wu said her things were always bulging out from her drawers, so whenever she took a book out, everything would fall out, and she sometimes mistook her face wash for her toothpaste.
It was not until her first year in college that she was diagnosed with ADHD, which finally provided an explanation for her problematic life.
Thanks to therapy, Wu said her attention span significantly improved. After taking three transfer tests at National Taiwan University, she finally fulfilled her dream of majoring in entomology — a field in which she has been interested since childhood — and went on to become a teacher.
Hsuang Cheing Elementary School principal Lin Mei-hsiu (林美秀) said children suffering from ADHD tend to have a rougher time with their relationships with others. Teachers should adjust the learning environment to accommodate these students to prevent them from being distracted, she said.
Children with ADHD should not be scolded for the way they behave, otherwise they may lack confidence, she said, adding that the Ministry of Education has provided three levels of guidance programs to help these children realize their full potential and find confidence in life.
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