By Theresa Rothmiller
After recording artist and music engineer Deejay The Singer, 26, was diagnosed with attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), his intentions were to consume his prescribed medicine and try to enjoy his childhood.
“In kindergarten, I used to pee on myself and kids would tease me,” Singer said. “My mother didn’t take good care of me, so I went to the teacher for help. She gripped me up and said, ‘Why do you smell like that?’”
Following his diagnosis, Singer said his doctor prescribed Zoloft and Adderall when he was 10 years old. Until 16 years of age, Singer was sent to multiple behavioral schools and once a juvenile detention center.
One in particular was the Silver Springs Martin Luther school on Township Line road in Plymouth Meeting.
According to Singer, he was forced into juvenile detention because he and many associates decided to steal another boy’s wallet.
“Wide in the open, in our bright uniforms we got caught,” Singer said. “We didn’t hurt him or nothing, but how they saw it, it was a robbery.”
After a week in a juvenile detention center for attempted robbery, Singer said his grandmother paid the bail for him to be released. Thereafter, he was sent to an advocate program while waiting to be tried for the attempted robbery case. The victim never attended court, so all who were involved were released and free of conviction, Singer said.
Singer is one of many formerly incarcerated youth who suffer from a ADHD In fact, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that 50 to 70 percent of youth in the juvenile justice system meet the mental disorder criteria.
In comparison, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 20 percent of children, either currently or at some point during their life, have had a seriously debilitating mental disorder.
The most common disorder among children eight to 15 years of age is ADHD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition examination survey.
In 2014, the National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect reported that children with disabilities are also physically maltreated at lower rates, but stand a much higher chance or being emotionally neglected.
The NIH also reports that children with unemployed parents have a higher risk of experiencing maltreatment.
Experts say this population is most at risk for incarceration.
Eighteen percent of the youngest prison entrants under 25 years old are taking mental health related medications such as Adderall and Ritalin, according to the Authoritative Information and Statistics to promote better Health and Wellbeing.
As for Singer, he said he stopped taking his prescribed medication when he was 18. “Without the medicine, I couldn’t control my moods and behaviors,” Singer said. “They were controlling me and draining my creativity. Now, I just deal with it. I think differently than other people. I’m more uppity than others, but it’s not something I need to tone down.”
Singer’s talent has opened many doors such as performing before Jay-Z, Kanye West, Young Jeezy, and more. Singer said he is also creating music for a new CD titled, “Singer and Friends,” and leads his own movement called The Rise Of A Nation (TROAN).
He said the movement emphasizes rising through every situation. According to Singer, they’re not a group, but rather local businesses working together to help all people in need.
“Like the dam over in California that’s about to overflow,” Singer said. “We’re already talking about how we can help them if something happens. A lot of the things that happened prepared me for now. Being put away kept me from being a product of the environment out in the streets.”
Contact Theresa Rothmiller at firstname.lastname@example.org