A moving short film explores what it’s really like to live with ADHD.

Do you know what it's actually like to have an attention disorder?

We've all heard the stereotypes. Symptoms of learning disabilities and attention disorders are often dismissed as laziness, too much energy, a result of bad parenting — or worse, that it's all in the head. There are even those who think it's completely and utterly made up.

But one Swedish filmmaker is shining a light on these often-misunderstood conditions. His moving four-minute silent film, "Bokstavsbarn" (or "Falling Letters"), gives viewers a glimpse into the life of a kid that struggles with attention issues.


You can check it out right here:

Erik Rosenlund was inspired to make the short film after becoming a father and remembering his own experiences growing up. Though he was never formally diagnosed with ADHD, the cause is still near and dear to his heart.

"I think it’s a large chunk of myself to some degree," said Rosenlund. "That’s certainly how I felt sometimes when I was as a kid. It can be very difficult to get my attention when I’m thinking about something."

Though not intended to depict one attention disorder in particular, Rosenlund's work has clearly resonated with those affected by ADHD. Which is important when you consider an estimated 6.4 million children in the U.S. between the ages of 4 and 17 are diagnosed with ADHD. They can have trouble focusing, reading, remembering things, and, sadly, even making friends.

Because of this, people have many misconceptions around ADHD. But as Rosenlund's short film illustrates, an attention disorder such as ADHD is a very real and serious condition that requires patience and — most importantly — love.

That's why understanding its effects is so crucial.

All of us have run into trouble learning something new and getting distracted at one point or another. But individuals who have learning disabilities are experiencing those things on a level that is hard to grasp for others.

"I remember reading homework and nothing was more interesting than reading completely different passages in the book that weren’t included," Rosenlund added. "I frequently read completely different things — even if it was in the same book."

There's a lot that goes into a diagnosis of ADHD that's often misunderstood.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders breaks down a detailed list of symptoms that must be present. And an ADHD diagnosis requires children to exhibit six or more of the symptoms. So if you immediately associate inattentiveness with ADHD, remember that there's a whole lot more to the story than meets the eye.

"Everyone’s different," said Rosenlund. "My imagination runs away with me rather than me being physically hyperactive. I have no problems sticking to a singular activity."

No doubt a little awareness on the subject can go a long way.

In fact, people who have ADHD often have to work even harder and put more effort into the same task than someone without it. It's an intense struggle that they have to overcome constantly.

But it has nothing to do with intellectual capability. Many people with ADHD are extremely smart and creative thinkers. They're just doing it in their own style.

The feeling can be isolating at times. But that's why works such as Rosenlund's film are key to debunking these myths.

When gifted storytellers are able to share their experiences in such a profound and impactful way, our eyes are opened to a much bigger truth.

More importantly, the short film also touches on the importance of having support from your family.

Yes, dealing with ADHD can be difficult. But there are so many ways to foster a healthy environment at home. From talking about coping strategies to exercising regularly to going out and having fun, each one plays a part in bringing out the best in everyone.

"The best thing [family] can do is find an outlet for their child’s creativity. I think we too often try to fit everyone into a single mold that isn’t made for everyone," Rosenlund said.

The more we understand ADHD and other learning and attention issues, the better we can understand and support those who have them.

Aging is a weird thing. We all do it—we truly have no choice in the matter. It's literally how time and living things work.

But boy, do we make the process all kinds of complicated. The anti-aging market has created a 58.5 billion-dollar industry, with human beings spending their whole lives getting older spending buttloads of money to pretend like it's not happening.

I'm one of those human beings, by the way, so no judgment here. When I find a product that makes me look as young as I feel inside, I get pretty giddy.

But there's no doubt that our views on aging—and by extension, our perspectives on our own aging bodies—are influenced by popular culture. As we see celebrities in the spotlight who seem to be ageless, we enviously tag them with the hashtag #aginggoals. The goal is to "age well," which ultimately means looking like we're not aging at all. And so we break out the creams and the serums and the microdermabrasion and the injections—even the scalpel, in some cases—to keep the wrinkles, crinkles, bags, and sags at bay.

There's a big, blurry line between having a healthy skincare routine and demonizing normal signs of aging, and we each decide where our own line gets drawn.

This is where Justine Bateman comes in.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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