Motivational and inspirational writer, Bryan Hutchinson is the author of several books about life with ADHD including the highly acclaimed, best selling "One Boy′s Struggle: A Memoir" and the author of the hilarious eBook that went viral "10 Things I Hate about ADHD"

David Letterman – Sarah Palin and ADHD?

What do David Letterman and Sarah Palin have to do with ADHD? That’s a good question, one I intend to answer, in my own way.  Read on…

We can thank people like Ty Pennington, David Neeleman and most recently, author/ADD Coach Jennifer Koretsky for stepping into the national spotlight on TV to talk about ADHD. There are also people with ADHD sharing their stories openly in memoirs and in blog postings, as I do.

We need more awareness! I don’t mind the talk and belief in ADHD as a gift, because, when ADHD is managed well, some of our traits can be considered as gifts for some individuals; however, we need to realize and appreciate that most of the public still does not understand what ADHD is and how it affects people. I still read about others being ridiculed, joked about and chastised for their natural ADHD behavior.

ADHD is a disability, that’s how it is defined. If ADHD is not the cause of difficulties for the individual with it, regardless if ADHD provides gifts or not, then it is not ADHD, period. It used to be believed that ADHD was outgrown, but we know better now. First it was 10% didn’t outgrow it, then it was 20% – 30%, the percentage keeps rising… soon, I believe, the percentage will be closer to 90%. I believe this because of how we learn to cope as we get older and that many with ADHD find good situations where their difficult ADHD traits aren’t that obvious and they have learned to cope very well. With the state of the economy, and the saturated job market, prime situations for people with ADHD aren’t as available as they once were, this is making adults who may have thought they outgrew their innate ADHD tendencies realize that maybe they haven’t after all. 

People with disabilities are protected by law in the workplace and in the education system. However, this isn’t enough; anyone with ADHD can tell you that. We need more awareness, as well as acceptance. We are getting there, but, if anyone thinks we are there yet, they are sadly mistaken. We still have a long way to go. I am still reading about how ADHD is fraud and if people with ADHD would just ‘act’ right then it wouldn’t be a problem and, of course, the crowd favorite, ADHD is just an excuse.

Don’t get me wrong, I have also read about schools, employers and individuals who have stepped forward to find good fits for people with ADHD, where they can thrive not only for themselves, but, also for others. In the right situation, ADDers can be a boon and do very well, depending and on a person by person basis. However, these are usually situations where ADHD is taken seriously for the disability that it is – let’s keep that in mind.

All of this leads me to what I wanted to write about in the first place: Late night talk show hosts like David Letterman and what he said about Sarah Palin’s daughter(s) recently! I may not be a parent; however, what he said crossed the line. If we allow people like David Letterman to openly belittle people, the way he did, and get away with it, then why shouldn’t anyone else be allowed to get away with it? Okay, I realize this doesn’t have anything to do with ADHD. This has to do with folks feeling like they can say anything about anyone in any way they want to, no matter how low. If this is okay, how can we expect any better of the everyday person we come in contact with each and every day? The next thing we will hear is: “What’s so wrong with what I said? David Letterman says worse all the time and nobody’s upset about that.”

Well, the truth is, people are upset about it and just saying anything degrading about people, any age, to get a laugh, isn’t acceptable. Or is it?

I have enjoyed episodes of late night commentary from time to time. David Letterman hasn’t been all bad, but, there comes a point when we have to step back and wonder how far is okay.