Combating ADHD


Hasana Abdullah

Photo of Kathryn Reinl portrait-style

Hasana Abdullah, Contributing Writer

Many people often associate Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder symptoms in school with the students. However, some teachers struggle with it as well, but are just overlooked.

Franklin Learning Center’s World History teacher, Kathryn Reinl, has struggled with ADHD-like symptoms for a while, but it wasn’t until this year that she was diagnosed. 

“It was really validating because so many other doctors had kind of dismissed it. And I felt like someone was finally listening to me,” Reinl said. 

Many people often have misconceptions about what ADHD is, which is most likely a reason why Reinl had difficulties getting a proper diagnosis up until this year. A majority of people often believe that ADHD is about not being able to sit still and focus, but there’s more to it than that. 

“It’s more like you have trouble organizing your thoughts or prioritizing tasks,” Reinl said. “There are, you know, fidgeting and distractions as well, but it’s more about what they call, executive dysfunction, where you have trouble making those brain level decisions.” 

The executive function part of ADHD has had a big effect on Reinl. It’s been difficult for her to keep and build relationships with other people due to this. 

“I tend to just disengage if I’m getting overwhelmed in a conversation or I’ll just forget to respond to someone,” Reinl said. “Trying to make new friends or build connections with new people can definitely be hard because I’m not always on top of staying in touch with people.”

World History teacher, Kathryn Reinl, hard at work. (Hasana Abdullah)

Being able to build strong connections with new people is an important skill for a teacher. Reinl started teaching in the Fall of 2018. Her experience as a new teacher wasn’t one that many would approve.

“It was hard. I was in a really underfunded school, and I was teaching two content areas. I’m only certified to teach one and I didn’t feel like I had a lot of support. It was overwhelming,” Reinl said.

As a teacher with ADHD, struggles are bound to come. Reinl and her endeavors made her the person she is today.

“I just feel like having had that experience makes me more empathetic to students,” Reinl said. “Even if they don’t have ADHD. Being able to understand, most of the time, that it’s really hard to sit and be quiet for a period of time.”