Indian American Teens From Illinois Spread Awareness About ADHD, Bust Myths
Three students from Stevenson High School try to create awareness about ADHD through Project A Squared.
Three school girls from Illinois have started a campaign to spread awareness around ADHD or Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder. Meha Krishnareddigari, Riya Khandelwal and Gulnaz Sayyad are 17 year olds from Stevenson High School and through ‘Project A Squared’, they try to educate and inform people about the condition.
“These kids, they are six or seven years old, they can’t pay attention and they do not know why they can’t pay attention” co-founder Meha told The Quint. The girls through posters around community spaces and by collaborating with organisations like the Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), try to give information so that kids needing medical attention can access it at a younger age. It is important that they start treatment early.
Not a lot of people know about it, especially our families.Riya Khandelwal
“People think kids are just behaving badly, that these kids don’t listen to their parents, said Gulnaz. “There is a negative perception and societal stigma around the condition,” she added. “That is exactly why we started this in October 2020,” the girls said in unison.
Kindergarteners, schoolgoers and even adults can be suffering from this condition. “Children can be suffering from this condition before even they enter school,” said Riya. There is no particular age or gender that the disorder targets. It is completely normal for people to be suffering from the disorder, almost about 4 percent of American adults have this condition, healthline reported. They might have trouble concentrating, staying still and might even be forgetful.
What Is ADHD?
ADHD is a disorder, a neuro-developmental condition that cannot be cured but it can be treated by medication. “It is not a learning disability, it has whatsoever no cognitive implication,” Meha said. “Nor does it have anything to do with how much attention parents give kids,” Gulnaaz added. “When you have a broken bone, you treat it and so should be done with ADHD,” said Meha.
Having the condition does not mean you can never pay attention. Sometimes it actually makes you better at things you are interested in and restless while doing things that are not of much interest.
The girls explained to The Quint about how the disorder can affect different people differently. It can make you hyperactive and it can also make you drift away. Usually, symptoms that girls face are generally that they just drift away and do not necessarily show physical evidences.
“That is probably one reason why girls remain undiagnosed, their symptoms are more internal. People suffering from the same condition may not seem similar to us. What they are going through is same but what we see is may be different,” said Meha.
There are three types of ADHDs: (a) Primarily hyperactive and impulsive; (b) inattentive, also known as ADD; and (c) the combined type.
Visible symptoms are inattention, distractibility, impulsivity and even hyperactivity in some cases. Courses of treatment include psychostimulant medications and psychosocial methods treatments.
"The Pandemic Brought Us Together"
The virtual world brought the community together, the girls said. “It was easier to schedule calls and set up appointments now because everything is virtual. It was a great push for us to work on this project.”
The pandemic has heightened the community spirit, people have come closer and there is a spirit of giving back to the community, and that is what the girls said they want to achieve through this campaign.
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