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Neurodivergency at Marlborough

Naomi ’24

Contributing Illustrator Sam ’24

I’m Naomi ‘24, and I’m a co-president of the Neurodivergent Affinity Club. I came to Marlborough as a 9th grader. It was the year of COVID-19, quarantine and classes over Zoom, as I am sure you all remember. I have moved between multiple schools in my schooling, and because I already knew many students in my grade at Marlborough, the social transition into this community was not hard for me. What was hard was getting used to the stress culture and stigma towards my ADHD. 

The stress culture at this school makes all of us, incredibly promising students, doubt our academic abilities. As a neurodivergent student, I doubted myself to the point where I felt like the worst of the worst. Though I knew my academic strengths, and knew that accommodations like extra time were necessary for me to show my best work, it was hurtful to see how other classmates reacted to them. Over time, I have come to understand that there is a difference between wanting to make sure you master your knowledge in a subject and wanting 100% on an exam. For me, systems like extended time are put into place so I can show my best work. And yes, while I am lucky to receive this time, it is not super fun like many play it out to be. Spending 100 minutes instead of a normal class period working on an exam is not enjoyable, but it is necessary.

As a neurodivergent person, I have also gone through multiple situations where my peers have doubted my work, even when my teachers validated my answers. Though I have never fully known whether it was because of my ADHD or not, my doubt impacted me in a negative way and it hurt the way I viewed myself and my capabilities in classroom settings. I am a person who asks a ton of questions in class; I love receiving answers, but I hate feeling judged for asking. I have grown tired of feeling like I am not academically strong enough in this environment, and I want people who identify as neurodivergent to feel more confident in themselves and their intellectual capabilities.

 After a long time, I now view my ADHD as a gift and not something to be ashamed of. I am vocal to all my classmates and teachers about my ADHD, and I don’t let the stigmas define me. I want the general student body to feel like they can ask for help, get what they need and not feel bad about doing so. I hope our community here at Marlborough can learn how to be confident in our intellectual abilities, and I hope that members of our community will aim to educate themselves on the learning differences that come with being neurodivergent.

To the neurotypical student body, be non-judgemental to people who receive extended time, be grateful for those who ask questions in class (you may learn something unexpected), and never assume that because someone is neurodivergent, they are less academically capable than you. 

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