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

Robin Williams

Henry Winkler

Thomas Edison

Whoopi Goldberg

"Magic" Johnson

Anne Bancroft

Hans Christian Anderson

Leonardo Davince

Walt Disney


Albert Einstein

Alexander Graham Bell

*ADHD Lifetips

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."

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Comments 5 comments

Julie A. Johnson profile image

Julie A. Johnson 8 years ago from Duluth, MN

veronica, It's good you can see the up-side to ADD. I think I know quite a few adults with ADD, and I'm quite sure my son who has asperger's syndrome probably has ADD too, just not the formal label. You're right, many with ADD really are quite creative and often provide unique solutions to difficult problems. Good information. Thanks. Julie

Angie 8 years ago

Yep, this is me! But I've learned to laugh about it and take more vitamins....

Excuse me but I must get back to cleaning my pool, typing invoices and ....what else was I doing?

Thanks for a great article!

marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

This is a wonderful article on ADD -- as a former teacher, those kids on meds who really needed them would change their behavior as though you had turned on a light switch, it was dramatic! I'm not in favor of medication just because a kid can't sit still for 5 hours for the teacher's comfort...but it is a great help for those who truly need it.

I often have many projects going at the same time and can have trouble completing them but it has gotten better with age. I'm sure I drove my teacher's nuts with my speed of completing assignments and wanting more. Guess what they did, they made me "write." Hmph! Who knew I would love that! =) good article...

Lissie profile image

Lissie 8 years ago from New Zealand

The sad thing is that you have been "diagonosed" with a 'condition" - I doubt that 90% of cases are ADD - they are just naughty or different kids. I can manage 6 programs and 10 browser tabs open all on a 14" screen -and think about tea and watch TV- its me - do I have ADD - maybe by some definitions probably - do I care or do I want a diagnosis - not thanks. I have learned to stop changing thoughts in mid-sentence with my partner it drivers him crazy! We need to stop labeling everyone who is not Joe Avergage as having a condition or syndrome. Oh and I probably have borderline Aspergers too because I prefer books and dogs to people!

htodd profile image

htodd 4 years ago from United States

Thanks for sharing the information ..Nice post

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