Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimming champ, struggled with ADHD while growing up. He disclosed experiencing learning challenges as a child and a teacher told him he won't succeed.
In a video for the Child Mind Institute via People on Facebook, Phelps revealed he was that kid in class who kind of "bounced off the wall" and couldn't sit still. He noticed he experienced a different treatment from his teachers compared to the other kids in his class.
"I had a teacher tell me that I would never amount to anything and I would never be successful," he said, as per People. It wasn't until he saw someone and sought help for his condition that he finally understood his struggles. He learned to develop coping mechanisms for his ADHD.
Phelps' mom, Debbie, told ADDitude her son got his ADHD diagnosis at 9-years-old. "That just hit my heart," she said. "It made me want to prove everyone wrong."
Debbie, a teacher, worked closely with her son on keeping his focus. The Olympic champ also managed through ADHD medications until he was in the sixth grade when he decided to stop taking the meds.
Debbie hired a Math tutor when she determined her son struggled with this subject most. She asked the tutor to prepare Math problems using words and specific to his interest in swimming to compound on how her son could manage his ADHD.
She and her son also devised hand signals for his swimming competitions to help him focus and channel his frustrations and stress differently. Debbie said being in a swim team also helped her son learn structure and self-discipline, which were big factors for him to overcome his ADHD.
Phelps said that while ADHD was a "challenge and a struggle" it made him who he is today. "I look at myself every day and I'm so proud and so happy with who I am and who I was able to become."
ADHD struggles must not define a person for the rest of his life. Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz of the Child Mind Institute encourages parents and kids with ADHD to get a diagnosis and help so they will still be able to live to the fullest.
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