Our teacher Miri said to me in a stern voice, “If you talk one more time without permission, I will have to ask you to leave the room.” Miri is our new history teacher. What do you think? Did I manage to hold back? Right you are, there was no way for me to stop talking. So Miri told me to leave the room for ten minutes.
I thought, “Ten minutes is a very long time, what should I do?” And in the end I let my feet take the lead.
I walked around the schoolyard, trying to collect my thoughts. This was a very hard task for me. What do you think, that I don’t try to concentrate in class, that I don’t try to stop talking? It is simply that I can’t help myself. I just can’t stop. Every night before I go to sleep I make a decision to be quieter in class, to be more orderly, and not to forget my notebooks and the workbooks. And not to be late wherever I go…
I kicked at the pebbles that I came across in the yard, and I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. Imma always tells me that I am very smart and creative. But whenever I sit in front of a teacher and try to listen, I can hear a lot of different sounds together with her voice. Ruthy is sharpening her pencil, Vardit is shaking her foot. A butterfly is flying over Chagit’s head. And at the end of the lesson, I am never sure what the teacher wanted to teach us. Just try listening to five radio stations at once, and you will understand how I feel.
I arrived at the school playground. This is shared by boys and girls, but except for sports lessons we girls can’t get onto the playground, because the boys are always playing soccer there every chance they get. But this time I found that the whole area was empty. What a pleasant surprise! I had the whole area to myself! I ran from one end to the other, ridding myself of some of my frustration and my pain. I ran without thinking – one round of the yard after another.
On my fifth round, I suddenly heard a sharp whistle. Ohed, the sports teacher, stood in front of me, amazed. He said, “Wow! What a great talent! I have said to you in the past that you are fast and nimble, like nobody else that I know!” He said this to me, from under his thick mustache.
I was breathing very hard. I said, “Thanks for the compliment.” The running calmed me down, and Ohed’s words were a great compliment. And then he looked at me, and asked, “But wait a minute – why aren’t you in class?”
I wanted to answer, but Ohed answered for me. “Let me guess – the teacher sent you out of the class, didn’t she?” I said, “Yes, for ten minutes…” And I saw that I was late again. And without thinking, I kept on talking: “I am always late, I am not organized, I talk in class, and I have trouble concentrating… And I often also say things before I think about them, and then I am sorry. Abba explained to me that I have a disability that has to do with concentration, something like DDED or DEHD.”
Ohed laughed, and he said, “You must mean ADHD, right?”
“Yes, that’s right. How did you know what I meant?” Ohed walked back to the class with me, and he told me, “I am just like you. When I was little they all scolded me for the way I behaved. Today I understand that G-d gave me a special challenge. He created me in such a way that I do not have enough dopamine in my brain. This compound helps make sure that there are no shortcuts in the brain, and if it is lacking I tend to lose my ability to concentrate…”
And I started laughing. “You have a shortcut in your brain? What does that mean? Wait – I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to get personal. There I go again…”
Ohed joined me in laughing. He said, “You know what? Even though I do not have enough dopamine, I am very happy. I manage to succeed in many things because of my strong will, and when something interests me I can stay focused on it for a long time. I spend a lot of time practicing.”
“What do you mean, you practice running?”
Ohed laughed again. “No, I teach myself not to be late, to be orderly, not to get angry quickly, and even to concentrate. And you know what? I even practice running, because physical activity compensates for the lack of dopamine. If you want, I will help you practice,” Ohed said as we reached my classroom. “And I think you should tell your teacher Miri about our little talk here. Ask her to let you go outside now and then to run around a bit, so that mister dopamine will be happy and you will remain calmer.”
I said, “Thank you, you have been very helpful. I can’t wait until our first training session…”
Ever since then, I have been meeting Ohed for training exercises, and I can arrange my time much better than before. I pause and count to twenty before I start to say anything, and I can even finish my tests to the very end, without skipping any questions. For children with enough dopamine all of these things are simple, but even without enough dopamine I manage quite well.
What makes me feel very good ever since I started practicing with Ohed is that I have learned to love the EDAH, or whatever it’s called, because I feel that I am smart and creative, and I can cope with tough challenges.
If G-d didn’t give you enough dopamine in your brain, like me, I want to tell you: Don’t despair! Ask your mother and father to have you meet an expert who can help you exercise. Always remember that you are smart and creative, and you are probably good at sports (at least, that’s what Ohed says). With G-d’s help, you can succeed!