Adult Living with ADD

My mother would tell a story about me as a child. it went something like this:

"She was such an active child. I would watch, as she sprawled in the middle of the floor; coloring, doing a puzzle, listening to music, playing a game and watching TV, all at the same time. I almost started to make her stop and focus on one thing at a time until I realized that she was doing all of the different activities well."

This was back in the 60's before there was any such things as ADD, ADHD etc. Now, I was referred to as a hyper-active child that refused to take naps in preschool but other than those two things, I was thought of as a pretty average kid. As I moved through school, I found the classes painful to attend. The teacher would drone on about something and my mind would wander from thought to thought. Thank goodness, I had a slightly above average intelligence and a photographic memory. Both of those things served me well all the way through my college years. I managed to make good grade, while setting the record for attending the fewest classes.

I did graduate and went to work in the insurance Industry where both the ADD and photographic memory continued to contribute to my success in the work force. In my 30's, I finally discovered the diagnosis for my condition. By that time, I was having trouble focusing. I found myself obsessing about the smallest things, worrying about things I had no control over, what-so-ever. Literally, Driven to Distraction. (Great book, by the way)

My approach to most things turns to knowledge so in my quest for knowledge, I found my answers. Once I realized what was the cause of my distractions, I was better able to manage the negative aspects of ADD. Note, there are positive aspects to both a child with ADD and an adult. So, if you are the parent of a child with ADD, focus on the positives with encouragement and activities.

I once had a friend ask me to describe what went on in my mind. She questioned, "Is it like a big raceway, with lots of cars going around in a circle?"

I replied, "Oh, no, that is way too organized. it is more like, picturing an enclosed room and dropping about a 1000 ping pong balls in that room and keeping up with all of the bouncing balls at one time. Those bouncing balls are individual thoughts."

Some key facts to know:

We absorb information in a different manner.

Silence is NOT a good thing when studying. If fact, we would prefer other stimuli and believe it or not, it helps us focus.

We are not rude if we do not look at the teacher when they are talking. Eye contact is not a prerequisite for absorbing the information.

Let us have the additional body movement, if it does not disrupt others. (Of note here, I teach adults and when faced with an adult student with ADD, I simply place them in the rear of the class where they can move about freely, look out the window, etc without disrupting the rest of the class. They still absorb the information and pass the test just like the other adult students. And usually, with a better score.)

We are not bad employees. In fact, put us in a job that requires a lot of multi-tasking and we will excel. However, do not put us working a single, solitary job. It will drive us absolutely crazy.

The less classroom and the more hands on training is a better teaching mechanism.

Engage us in answering questions during the learning process. Do not assume we will not know the answer, simply because we were looking out the window while you were giving the lecture.

We are not necessarily behavioral problem kids.( Try to avoid dumping us into that category)

Just because girls sit quietly and make eye contact, do not assume they do not suffer from ADD. Little girls are taught from a young age to be little ladies so they turn the ADD inward and are better able to hide the outward signs of ADD through daydreaming.

Parents, read a few books on dealing with ADD.

 

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Katherine Born profile image

Katherine Born 7 years ago from Saskatchewan, Canada

Thanks for the advice. Just started homeschooling my potentially ADD kids (refusing to get them tested b/c I don't want them to be walking around with a big sign on their heads for the rest of their lives - and I think it's normal for a little kid to want to run around!) and it's great to know how to help them learn.

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