Here is the full transcript of ADHD coach Stephen Tonti’s TEDx Talk: ADHD As A Difference In Cognition, Not A Disorder at TEDxCMU conference.
Stephen Tonti – ADHD coach
Hi, my name is Stephen Tonti, and I’m a director, a writer, an actor, a drummer, a scuba diver, a soccer player, a camera operator, an airbrush artist, a physicist, a stargazer, a rock climber, a snowboarder, a model maker, a stage manager, a camp counselor, a PA, a DJ, a club president, a magician, and for a brief stint in May 2012, I was called upon to repair two stopwatches which had stopped working.
Who am I, you ask? My name is Stephen Tonti, and I have ADHD. ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactive disorder, and I was first diagnosed with ADHD not by a diagnostician, or a private practice, or a pediatrician, but by a second-grade teacher who was interviewing me for a spot at the school she was working at.
My family had just moved from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Dallas, Texas, and I was in a search for a new academic home. During this particular interview, this particular teacher received a message ahead of time from my first grade teacher back in New Orleans to check me for any signs of ADHD. Just as she reached the series of questions devised to evaluate whether a child between the ages of five and 17 is ADHD: Wham! I fell out of my chair. No, I didn’t slip.
And no, the chair didn’t crumble beneath me. Behind the teacher’s desk was this giant window, and through that window was a giant field, and on that field were what appeared to me at the time to be hundreds of thousands of kids my age. They were all playing with a great, inflatable, rainbow beach ball, and as they moved all around the field, all I could do was keep track of them. So I leaned a little bit to the left, and I leaned a little bit to the right, a little bit more to the left, a little bit more to the right before the disaster. I still maintain today that window was a trap, and I was setup.