A young student with ADHD is frustrated since she struggles to focus on her homework. Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Opinion

Column: Students with ADHD need educational assistance during COVID-19

In order to unlock their potential, these students need proper educational attention and support.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/nathanshindich/" target="_self">Nathan Shindich</a>

Nathan Shindich

April 14, 2022

I have ADHD, and the best word that could describe most of my middle school and high school experience is dreadful. I would habitually run out of time on algebra tests. I would also keep forgetting to submit my biology homework. All of my peers with ADHD underwent similar, demoralizing experiences.

However, I know that I am one of the lucky ones. I have been provided with psychological resources that help me cope with my ADHD. I also attend a private school that has always offered a normal 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. schedule, even in the midst of the pandemic and online school. This regular schedule has allowed me to forge better connections with my teachers.

I am aware that most students with ADHD are not so fortunate. According to a 2019 study by Lehigh University, at least one in five students with ADHD receive no school services despite experiencing significant academic and social impairment, a gap particularly evident for adolescents and youth from non-English-speaking and/or lower-income families. Another study found that children living in low-income households had an increased risk of ADHD compared to children from the mid-high household income group.

The pandemic has worsened this education gap. According to the New York Times, there was a 15% increase in D’s and F’s among Los Angeles Unified School District students during the pandemic. This was credited to the lack of in-person instruction for the nearly 80% of students who are living in poverty.

LAUSD students with attention disabilities did not receive the proper attention, ultimately causing them to get D’s and F’s. While most LAUSD students have already transitioned back to in-person education, the year of distance learning caused long-term damage to many students, especially those with ADHD.

In addition, a Chinese study found that the lockdowns during the pandemic made certain ADHD-related behaviors worse. Many parents of students with ADHD were unable to provide them with a structured routine during the lockdowns, which is crucial to their academic successes.

In order for low-income students with ADHD to succeed academically during the pandemic, the government and school districts should provide more funding for individualized instruction for these students, especially since these students are some of the worst victims of the pandemic.

In addition, more resources should be given to parents so that they can help provide a calmer and less distracting learning environment for their children. Without such assistance, the education gap will only worsen.

The reality is that students with ADHD have the potential to become successful nuclear physicists, world leaders, and businesspeople. For example, the founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad, had ADHD.

However, in order to unlock their potential, these students need proper educational attention and support. Such assistance can only benefit everyone, from students to our entire nation.

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