Old School Attention Deficit Disorder
I was ADD when ADD wasn't "Cool"
Yeah, so I borrowed that heading from a song...but it's true. Now, I'm about to sound like I am in an ADD anonymous meeting. "Hello, my name is Veronica, and I'm ADD." What makes this unique is the fact that I am 47 years old, and was just diagnosed with ADD within the last several years.
I am one of the few 5% of Adults with ADD. I am also, happily, one of the 15% who KNOWS I have it. That's right. Of that 5%, 85% do not even know they have it. I have a theory for this; ADD is a relatively "New" Diagnosis. The Medical community is so busy trying to identify signs of ADD in children, few stop to realize that the condition did not materialize overnight. There are, indeed, adlults, even seniors with ADD.
Pharmacuticle Companies are scrambling to develop and distribute medications for Children diagnosed with ADD. Children (and I have such a chld) are being labeled and put into special classes and schools. Educating the world on ADD is a priority among school officials, doctors, Child advocates and many others. Bravo! Now, let me focus, if I may, on those of us who grew up "Old School."
Old School classifications
I was born in 1960, and started school in 1964. Back then, there were only three types of children; Bright, Normal, and "Thick." I suppose I was classified borderline Normal/Thick. Oh, my IQ was good. It was high in fact. There was just something not quite right. My mind wandered, my thoughts raced, and I had a very difficult time "keeping up" with whatever the subject matter was at any given moment. Let me remind you that back in the day, you didn't get sent to the "resource room" when you did something wrong. You got a ruler across the knuckles, and more often than not, publicly humiliated by your teacher or classmates.
Let me explain it this way; It was as if my life was a file cabinet. Each school day was the bottom drawer of the file cabinet and was open. Now, the drawers ABOVE the bottom, (past experiences, thoughts) were open as well, and there was a hole in them. Therefore, papers (thoughts) kept falling down into the bottom file. Each file I would try to access in the course of the school day would be interrupted by a previous thought or concept. Make sense?
Teachers, for the most part, were not "sympathetic" of this condition. Of course not! It didn't exist, remember? As a result, children then learned to cope and compensate for the condition. There were no medications or parenting classes. While I don't dispute the benefits of ADD medication, I think something can be learned by how the now "Adults" handled it.
The Plus side of being an Adult with ADD
The Adult person with ADD has a mind that is set to "Rapid Fire." Our brains process information at break-neck speed. We have learned to accept and deal with this. We have become experts at generating ideas. We can access information from every part of our experience and imagination at once. Need an idea? Ask an ADD'er.
Concentration Overdrive: Once Add'ers have gone into their "zone," they can completley shut out the outside world. A person can stay in the zone for hours, even days once they have become focused. This is why many ADD adults are excellent artists, writers, technical engineers, and Marketers. Remember, we have learned this primarily because there were no medications to slow our minds down and help us focus. Even with the Young-blood ADD'ers, if they train themselves AND have the medications, there is no limit to what they can acheive.
We are the Masters of multi-tasking. If I have 10 things going on at once, I can switch back and forth without much thought. This is why I often have several, well, ok, 10 or more Windows open on my computer at the same time, AND can be writing an article and cooking dinner at the same time.
Thinking Outside the Box is a natural for Add'ers. We are easily distracted so we have learned to view problems from several different angles. There are no blinders. We do not come at a problem head on, exactly, we surround and conquer it!
Famous Adults who have/have had ADD
John F. Kennedy
Hans Christian Anderson
Alexander Graham Bell
Misconception of ADD
To summarize; Adults with ADD are not "slow,"
in fact we often have a higher than normal I.Q. We just
learn to process things differently. People with ADD are quick
According to Adult ADD Strengths;
Dr. Ed Hallowell, who HAS ADD,and has written several Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder, said he stopped teaching Psychiatry at Harvard University because the non-ADDers brains were just too slow and they took so long to get it.
ADD can be a very difficult thing to adjust to, but if you accentuate the positive and work with the advantages, it need not be a "handicap."
Attention Deficit Disorder
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