Spreading the Unknown Truth: ADHD Awareness

Kara Berg, Pastor at Watseka First United Methodist Church, always knew she was creative, couldn’t sit still and was overly talkative at a young age, so she wasn’t surprised when she found out she has ADHD, she said. 

Berg’s son, Cary Berg was also diagnosed with ADHD and the two decided to treat the disorder together, Berg said. 

“It was probably one of the best things I did because it completely changed my life meditating and regimented and working on structures and systems,” Berg said. 

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Setting deadlines, trying to stay as organized as possible and finding motivation are huge factors to overcoming ADHD symptoms, Berg said. 

Berg will reward herself with sweet coffees every once in a while to build the dopamine in her system in addition to getting enough sleep, exercise and a healthy diet, she said.

“During my time at SIU [Southern Illinois University Carbondale], my friend would always say, you are like the ADHD poster child, and I kind of took offense to it because I didn’t even understand what she meant,” Alexis Wica, an ADHD awareness advocate, said. 

Wica said time management and short term memory are the two main struggles she has to deal with because of her ADHD. 

Berg said she wants those struggling with ADHD to know that they are not alone and that learning your brain type is a huge factor for success. 

I heard a quote the other day that I absolutely have to get a shirt made out of: ‘ADHD sabotages my life on a daily basis’,” Berg said. 

Brehm Preparatory School is a nonprofit boarding school located in Carbondale, IL. whose mission is to teach students with learning differences and disabilities from grades 6 through 12, Director Jeremy Robbins said. 

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Brehm empowers students to look at their disabilities or disorders through a positive light and see how much potential they have, Robbins said.

One third of the students at Brehm are on the autism spectrum and many have unidentified anxiety or depression that affects learning, Robbins said. 

We have students who have dyslexia, or what is considered a language based learning difference,” Robbins said. 

Brehm has an education plan that looks at the aspects of a student’s learning and life skills such as independent living skills, social and communication skills, and academic skills, Robbins said. 

The class sizes at Brehm are typically no more than six students in a small group in which teachers teach to meet a student’s individual needs, Robbins said. 

Robbins’ hope for Brehm is that the students there will build success in college/university and beyond, he said. 

ADHD diagnosis depends on the demographic and environment, it’s usually detected during early childhood though, Robbins said. 

Yeah I mean, a lot of it depends on the environment in which the young person is identified and how attitudes and mindsets, you know that accompany I think having a growth oriented mindset, you know is crucial,” Robbins said. 

Wica is part of an online group called adhdactually, run by an Australian woman with around 300 members, she said.

“We don’t all hop on at the same time or anything like that but we do body doubling sessions for accountability purposes…” Wica said. “I don’t think that my medicine without my body doubling session group, would necessarily be as effective by any means.” Wica said. 

Eating disorders are common in the ADHD community because of the lack of dopamine and control, most of the time without even knowing it, Wica said. 

There are a lot of misconceptions about having ADHD, so being part of the ADHD community will provide the support needed, Wica said.

“Finding this group and other people with ADHD genuinely has changed my life and would love to spread the resources with folks” Wica said. 

Staff reporter can be reached at [email protected]. To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

 

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