As a child, I had my problems focusing during class. I was somewhat of a cut-up and often a guest of detention. I rarely studied and rarely took notes yet maintained an average GPA. My contributions to class during Jr. High included arguing the details of established accepted curriculum. Later, science did prove me correct that Pluto is not a planet and that objects of different mass do in fact fall at the same rate of speed.
By ninth grade I was placed in classes for children with learning disabilities while my friends were taking prep courses for college. I soon dropped out of high school and took my GED. I scored high enough on the SAT to attend Jr. College. I had completed 1 year of college before my class graduated high school.
What is typically misunderstood about children labeled as having learning disabilities is that they quite often possess above average intelligence. A series of aptitude tests will often reveal this. In these cases, the child does not require less challenging studies but highly talented and motivated teachers.
My two other disruptive high school friends who were deemed learning disabled along with me also grew up to be successful. One operates his own business in Atlanta and the other is a pediatric surgeon in Louisiana. My success as a writer/novelist is arguable. I would argue my success is in making a living doing what I love.
What is apparent today is that my friend who operates his own business would have been classified as ADHD as would I. And my friend who is a surgeon would have met some of the criteria of autism. He was prone to panic around loud noises and would compulsively state aloud what he was thinking even if wildly inappropriate.
Being stigmatized with the label of behavioral/learning challenged was disabling enough for us as children. I wonder if we would have gone on to be as successful had the labels of ADHD and autism been available to our high school counselors.