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Inattentive ADHD

Updated on September 11, 2014
photo by my hubby
photo by my hubby

All about an overlooked but impairing ADHD subtype: Inattentive Type ADHD

Inattentive ADHD is a lonely road. I remember listening to an expert--an M.D. with ADHD himself, and a well-known author on the subject--describe the classic ADHD kid: "They're like sports car engines with no brakes." Around the room, parents' heads nodded knowingly. All except mine.

After the talk, I approached the expert: "My son has inattentive type ADHD. So he's not really like a sports car with no brakes. He's more like..." I searched for the right vehicular metaphor: A stalling engine? No accelerator? A winged car that lifts itself clear off the road?

"A butterfly," said the speaker with a smile. And he was right.


The "butterfly brain"

Just as butterflies alight on plants briefly and then quickly, unpredictably flutter off, the inattentive type ADHD mind won't stay put. It may start out with the best intentions--do the math assignment, listen to the history lecture, fold clothes and put them away--but somehow, something gets in the way.

Often, it's something from within. External distractions--a conversation in the next room, a TV turned on, a quarter on the floor--can all derail attention, but with inattentive type, often the derailing comes from inside the brain itself. Daydreaming and "mind trips" force out whatever the inattentive person is supposed to be paying attention to. The inattentive ADHD mind can be very easily bored, although you'll rarely hear people with this subtype complaining of boredom. Why? They internalize their issues rather than sharing them with the world. And in many cases, they don't even realize they're bored with a subject at hand, because they've moved on to an entirely different one, without having made a conscious choice to do that.

This internal distractibility means that a quiet, organized space for work or homework -- while a good start -- is often not enough for an inattentive ADD person to get the job done. They're up against their own "butterly brain."

Just as butterflies move gently and silently, the inattentive ADD child or adult rarely disrupts anyone. Without hyperactive or impuslve behavior that affects others, inattentive ADD folks don't call attention to themselves, which is why they're often diagnosed later than those with other ADHD subtypes. The problem is, inattention can create just as big an academic, social and even safety risk as the better-known ADHD problems of hyperactivity and impulsivity.

~~ More ~~

"Inattentiveness: The Quiet Disorder"

But that description doesn't sound like ADHD!

That's right; it doesn't...which is why experts like Russell Barkley, PhD, have suggested inattentive type ADHD might best be split out as its own disorder.

The fact is, inattentive ADHD almost looks like the opposite of hyperactive type or combined type ADHD. Where hyperactive or combined type folks tend to be overactive and disruptive, those with inattentive type are underactive, passive & withdrawn. It's hard to imagine more different types of people, yet they all currently fall under the same diagnostic "umbrella."

~~ More ~~

ADHD subtypes, from webmd

CDC fact sheet on ADHD

Diagnosing inattentive type ADHD

For a long time, inattentive has been listed as a subtype of ADHD. While some experts advocated for separating out the inattentive type as its own condition, it appears from the just-released DSM V (the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) that that didn't happen. What apparently did happen, according to this very short blurb, is that a new subtype was added, called "Inattentive Presentation (Restrictive)," for those who meet the criteria for predominantly inattentive ADHD but have no more than 2 of the hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms. (My son would fit this "new" subtype, though I'm not sure what difference that makes.)

To be diagnosed with inattentive type ADHD, you need to demonstrate at least 6 of these symptoms (or 5, if you are an adult) from the DSM. You need to have shown symptoms before age 12 (was age 7 in the DSM IV, and personally I have mixed feelings about the increase to age 12); they must significantly impair your social, school or work functioning; and (this is important) the symptoms must be present in more than one setting -- e.g., school AND home or work AND home, not just school or just work or just home.

~ Lack of attention to detail; careless mistakes at school, work, activities

~ Trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities

~ Seeming not to listen when directly spoken to

~ Failure to finish schoolwork, work responsibiltiies, chores, etc. -- NOT due to lack of understanding or to oppositional behavior

~ Trouble organizing activities

~ Avoidance of sustained mental effort (e.g., with schoolwork)

~ Frequent loss of items needed for tasks/activities

~ Easily distractible

~ Forgetful in day-to-day activities

With inattentive ADD, these symptoms aren't combined with hyperactivity or impulsive behavior. Also, the symptoms can't be better explained by another disorder such as PDD/autistic spectrum disorder, anxiety disorder, mood disorder, etc.

~~ More ~~

About.com -- signs of inattention in ADHD

DSM V criteria for ADHD, including Predominantly Inattentive type

TEN TIPS To Help ADHD Inattentive Students SUCCEED
TEN TIPS To Help ADHD Inattentive Students SUCCEED

An e-book by Tess Messer from the above YouTube clip. I haven't yet read it, so can't provide a specific recommendation, but it is so rare to find a book specifically on inattentive type ADHD that I figured this was worth pointing out.

 
Lifting the Fog: A specific guide to inattentive ADHD in adults
Lifting the Fog: A specific guide to inattentive ADHD in adults

Another targeted e-book, this time on inattentive ADHD in adults.

 
Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary "Executive Skills" Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential
Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary "Executive Skills" Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential

"Smart but scattered" sound familiar? Here, some well-reviewed advice on helping kids with executive functioning problems.

 

Foolers: Rule these out first!

Some other problems can mask as inattentive type ADHD, so it's important to rule them out first, as we did when our son (now 15) was younger. (A neuropsychologist evaluated our son for ADHD and was able to rule out anxiety disorders. But before that, we consulted with his pediatrician, 2 audiologists, and a neurologist specializing in seizure disorders to rule out the other potential "foolers." Phew!)

~ Chronic inadequate sleep can look just like ADHD. If the person in question is not getting 8 hours (ages 18 & up), 9 hours (ages 10-17), 10 hours (ages 5-10) or 12 hours (ages 3-5), don't even think of asking the doctor about ADHD. Ask instead how to help them meet their sleep needs. Getting more sleep can be a simple as turning off all electronics and lowering house lights an hour before bed, or getting more exercise during the day so you fall asleep faster. Sometimes, it requires a lifestyle change like cutting down extracurriculars and even homework. Work with the doctor to get there, and when you do, see if that makes a difference in inattentive symptoms.

~ Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland, can create the sluggish or foggy demeanor often seen with inattentive ADD. A simple blood test will confirm or deny.

~ Absence seizures show up as staring spells that last a few seconds, sometimes (but not always) with fluttering eyelids and a nodding head. This is what our son's school nurse believed he was experiencing as a young child, but 2 EEGs ruled it out.

~ A hearing issue can make someone less responsive -- they're not answering 'cause they're not hearing the question, or not hearing it well. This is especially worth checking out for kids who've had chronic ear infections.

~ Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD): This is an ear-brain coordination issue that makes it hard for kids to process what they've heard, especially if there's any kind of background noise (e.g., reality). An audiologist can evaluate for this, but not 'til around age 7.

~ Anxiety: This is a tough one. Anxiety can cause inattention, especially the "internalized" type that is characteristic of inattentive ADD. It's hard to focus when you're chronically anxious. So what looks like ADHD could be anxiety instead. On the other hand, a genuinely inattentive child who's getting chastised a lot for not paying attention, not keeping up, etc., can develop anxiety because of all this negative feedback and the bad feeling of being behind, or out of it. This kind of anxiety is "secondary" to his or her attention problems. How to tell the difference? This is why doctors get the big bucks. It's important to have a specialist sort this out, as treatment approaches may be different for primary than secondary anxiety.

~~ poll ~~

Do you know someone who has, or may have, inattentive ADHD?

See results

If you have experience with inattentive ADHD, what has helped the most?

See results

Processing speed problems

"Processing speed" is how quickly we react to incoming inforrmation, understand it, think about it, and respond to it. Processing speed and intelligence are two different things. A very bright person can be a slow processor of information. This problem can be mainly visual, mainly auditory, or both -- and it's commonly (though not always) seen with inattentive ADHD. Processing speed problems are hard to remediate, even with ADHD medication, so patience, understanding, and appropriate accommodations are important.

~~ More ~~

Study abstract on processing speed and inattentive ADHD

"Tortoise" gifted kids with processing speed problems

tip:

Try the Time Timer

This visual timer is probably the most valuable tool we found in our inattentive ADHD struggle. When our son was young, we'd set it for each homework assignment, or even for each section of an assignment, and offer a small reward for completing on time. As he got older, he set his own time targets and rewards. We also began setting it for total time until dinner or bed, so that he could practice managing a block of time and see that the more quickly he finished his work, the more time would be left for play and relaxation. While this didn't--couldn't--erase his processing speed problems, it did help him build a sense of the passage of time and motivate him to stay as focused as possible. He now uses portable, standard digital timers for getting ready in the morning, etc., but for years the visual timer was the only kind that really helped.

Sluggish Cognitive Tempo

I admit, I have a hard time understanding how this newer descriptive term differs from the concept of slow processing, but basically, with Sluggish Cognitive Tempo, slow processing seems to fall into a broader profile of mental "sluggishness" or foginess. Lethargy, daydreaming, staring, and even sleepiness are seen with SCT, which is not to be confused with the old-school "slow" euphemism for intellectually impaired.

Researchers are still trying to figure out whether SCT is a subset of inattentive ADHD (in other words, a subtype of a subtype!), affecting 30 to 50% of inattentive ADHDers, or its own distinct condition.

Limited studies have shown kids with SCT are more at risk for anxiety symptoms, even disorders, and possibly depression. They can appear to lack motivation in everything from mundane tasks to maintaining friendships. Their minds tend to be "underaroused," but like the broader ADHD population they can get very engaged in an activity that stimulates them.

~~ More ~~

Sluggish Cognitive Tempo

Wikipedia writeup on sluggish cognitive tempo

About.com writeup on sluggish cognitive tempo

Summary of a study suggesting sluggish cognitive tempo is not a subtype of ADHD

Study abstract on sluggish cognitive tempo, ADHD & anxiety

ADD forum discussion on sluggish cognitive tempo

Problems with working memory

Some experts believe the core underlying problem in inattentive ADHD could be a deficit in working memory -- the "mental clipboard" we employ to store and use info within a very short period of time. Examples would be mental arithmetic, where we hold numbers in our brain long enough to add them and say or write the answer, or repeating a phone number we've just been given.

Our experience: When our son has just read from a textbook and is supposed to be answering questions but is stalled out or staring, it's hard to know whether he's having trouble retrieving & using what he's just read (working memory), processing the info (processing speed), or daydreaming.

Studies show that working memory problems are more commonly linked with inattention symtpoms of ADHD than with hyperactivity or impulsivity. Working memory problems also tend not to respond much to stimulant medications commonly used for ADHD. On the positive side, working memory "training" (including computerized methods) is showing some promise.

~~ More ~~

ADHD and working memory

A workout for working memory

Analysis of inattentive ADHD that argues working memory is its primary deficit

recommended:

DHA supplement

Our family avoids untested "alternative" ADHD treatments for fear of short- and long-term side effects, but a moderate dose of fish oil can help ADHD symptoms and has long been recommended by doctors as a brain, mood & memory booster, with or without ADHD. The neurotoxin mercury is a concern with any fish product, so we use this brand, which is third-party tested for heavy metals. Older kids can swallow the slightly lemony Ultimate Omega capsules, while little ones like the tangerine-flavored gummies. Either way, purity is a priority.

Social issues

Some experts say inattentive type ADHDers have fewer social difficulties than their peers with hyperactive or combined type, because they don't do disruptive things like blurting out answers in class; interrupting conversations; breaking rules in a game or activity; and generally being fidgety, grabby, impatient & loud.

Others say inattentive ADHDers are more at risk of long-term social problems because they tend to be (especially those with the "Sluggish Cognitive Tempo" profile) socially withdrawn, which makes it hard to form & maintain friendships. They also tend to be passive, which means that the "work" of a friendship may be carried more by the other person, which can get tiring and over time make the friendship seem less worthwhile. From a practical standpoint, it can also be frustrating to have a friend who constantly spaces out in conversation, forgets to take his/her turn in a game, etc.

~~ More ~~

Inattentive AD/HD: Overlooked and Undertreated?

What can you do about inattentive ADD?

~ Cover the basics: Adequate sleep makes a world of difference, as does regular aerobic exercise. It's not an overstatement to say that both sleep and exercise function as medication for ADHD...without the side effects.

~ As with other ADHD subtypes, stimulant medications can help. Finding the right one can take time and usually involves trial and error. Most importantly, you need a good doctor--preferably a psychiatrist (or child/adolescent psychiatrist, for patients under 18) with plenty of experience in treating ADHD--to guide you through this process. Opinions differ on whether inattentive type ADHD responds as well to stimulants as the other subtypes, with some experts saying it doesn't. When it does respond, that often happens at lower doses of medication than with other ADHD subtypes. The "start low, go slow" (with dosage increases) idea is smart with any subtype, but perhaps especially with inattentive ADHD. Some inattentive ADHD folks will find nonstimulant medications helpful, either alone or in conjunction with stimulants.

~ Kids/teens who truly fit the diagnostic criteria for inattentive ADHD will need specialized help at school through a 504 plan, which provides for accommodations such as seating near teachers, extended test time and homework modification; and/or an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), which sets specific goals for the student, pairs these with appropriate services and supports, and states how progress toward goals will be measured. Most schools will require a formal ADHD diagnosis before developing a 504 and/or IEP with the student & family.

~ Behavioral techniques at school and home are almost always needed, even when medication is helpful, to help manage responsibilities. Teachers and parents should work together to help kids break tasks down into component parts, plan & execute each part, and celebrate successful completion. Over time, kids can take more and more responsibility for this planning and execution, but remember that as kids mature, school and life demands increase, so independence is a "moving target." Some with inattentive ADHD may need tutoring, coaching or other assistance well into adolescence and adulthood, or even indefinitely, as a) 1/4 to 2/3 of those with ADHD (depending on how strict a definition is used) will not outgrow it as adults, and b) inattention tends to be more persistent over time than hyperactivity and impulsivity, which often resolve through brain maturation.

~~ More ~~

ADHD and sleep

ADHD and exercise

Stimulants for ADHD

Non-stimulants for ADHD

recommended:

Straight Talk

Even with an excellent child psychiatrist on board, four years of obvious symptoms, and a diagnosis we absolutely knew was correct, starting our son on ADHD medication at age 7 terrified me. A friend recommended this book, and it became an invaluable resource as we discussed options with the doctor. Having the Wilens book at home is like getting a "second opinion" on each option and helps immensely with risk-benefit analysis.

Are you, your spouse or your child diagnosed with inattentive ADHD? How have you managed it? What's helped, what hasn't? Please share your experience!

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    • profile image

      Andrea 2 years ago

      I myself recommend fish oil for ADHD! Although there isn't a lot about it yet, it truly has shown benefits in many people!

      http://adhdmedication.net

    • Canterburybelle profile image

      Canterburybelle 3 years ago

      I have 3 kids with adhd but only one with the inattentive type. He also has speech and language issues as well as atypical autism......so it can be hard to know which symptoms are from which condition. I know that getting enough sleep and taking dha both helped him a lot. He was not staying in bed at night or even in his room, but was up all through the night, from frear, worry, anxiety and compulsive thoughts, and general insomnia, and this made his attention, motivation, and focus SOOO bad during the day. I homeschool him, and school became ridiculouslyhard because he had about 1/4 second of listening, focus, and attention, and absolutely zero willingness to expend energy at his schoolwork-for example to apply a writing instrument to paper, let alone move it. Finally, I started sleeping outside his door to make sure he wasn't up all night, roaming the house, watching tv while the rest of the house slept, and I took him off wheat, and added dha and acidophilus. Those things alone made all the difference. His focus and concentration became better than I'd ever seen in him and he actually began to show initiative and will, which he'd always lacked, being a very passive, lethargic, "tired" person who didn't start things and didn't finish them. He started responding in conversations, and speaking more clearly as well. I am all for the natural, no side effect interventions.

    • JustineKnott profile image

      JustineKnott 3 years ago

      Spot on! Excellent source of information, on a little understood condition.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank you so very much for writing this lens!!!!! It describes my son perfectly. He was diagnosed 2 days ago, so I'm still reeling from the information and how to help him.

    • verymary profile image
      Author

      Mary 4 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: Thanks Jaq! Inattentive-type ADHD sort of "flies under the radar" -- but it can be quite impairing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This is a condition I had never heard of before. Thank you for so thoroughly explaining both the challenges of it and the solutions. Glad your son is doing better. :)

    • verymary profile image
      Author

      Mary 4 years ago from Chicago area

      @adammuller003 lm: ps - Adam -- re. ADHD and the school system, have you heard of Leelanau School, targeted mainly at kids with ADHD? I wrote this after interviewing its ed director: http://kids-help-kids.blogspot.com/2010/11/positiv... -- and it follows the connections theme, too, as I focused on how ADHD kids can benefit from connecting with each other

    • lakern26 lm profile image

      lakern26 lm 5 years ago

      I have two boys with ADHD---one inattentive, one hyperactive---both diagnosed just last year. It has been a frustrating, anxious, and exhausting ride. Of the two forms, we've definitely found the inattentive to be the most difficult to understand and we've all been struggling to cope. After all, how can my husband and I help him when we don't quite get it ourselves? This information you've provided here will make that easier; a lot of it fits my son to a tee. So thank you very, very much for jotting it all down and putting it out there---I look forward to putting some of your suggestions into practice.

    • verymary profile image
      Author

      Mary 4 years ago from Chicago area

      @adammuller003 lm: Ned Hallowell is a good source on ADHD and the importance of connections: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIPGiYEnh7c -- actually I think what he says is good advice for raising any kid, tho esp important for kids with neuro challenges.

      I have an inattentive ADD history myself (sounds like you are, or were, much more the hyper/impulsive or combined type that is much more prominent in the research & literature) and got punished for losing homework, daydreaming, playing with my shoelaces during kindergarten "lesson," etc. I am in my 40s, and those were bad years to have ADD...not that there are any really great years for it! So there clearly are different ways of "getting in trouble" at school due to ADD/ADHD, but none of them are a happy experience.

      The whole "bad kid" idea is so tricky. Kids act out in school for so many reasons -- ADD, anxiety, problems at home, boredom if they're underchallenged (this is what our first neuropsychologist thought was the problem, as my son did so well on all the IQ type testing, but I knew it wasn't the whole issue) ... etc. And then there are some kids who really don't have these sorts of problems and are just being jerks. I don't envy teachers the job of having to figure out who is who, in this regard. But I guess that's what IEPs are for...

      Re. your question on taking school out of the equation: An important part of the DSM criteria, and one that a lot of people seem to forget, is that to truly have ADD/HD, your symptoms have to be portable. They have to follow you from one environment to another. If they are ONLY happening at school, then something about school is the problem, not ADD. If they are ONLY happening at home, then something about home is the problem, not ADD. My son is, and has been since a very very young age, symptomatic of inattentive ADD at home, school, social situations, etc. Not just school. But spacing out at school affects one's future in a way that, say, spacing out at a party really doesn't (unless you space out at a party in a way that compromises your safety -- something else for parents to lose sleep over). The other thing that makes school/HW spaceouts more stressful is the sheer volume of time my kid spends in school + doing HW. He doesn't space out playing his guitar, building a home for ants in our garden, or drawing a picture, but because school hours are long & HW takes him so long, his time to do these things is very limited. Homeschooling could be a solution, but I think that would be hard on our (his & my) relationship; I would not want to abandon the work I do from home, both paid and volunteer, which is important to me; my son's high school has resources that I could never duplicate at home, especially in the art and science areas; and I've always thought it was important for his development to learn from a variety of adults, with a variety of approaches and personalities.

      Overall, parents of accurately diagnosed inattentive-ADHD kids are going to worry, I think, about "3 Ss": school, social, and safety. Without sharing too much more about my son -- who might not love having a detailed life story published online ;) -- I would say this describes my concerns. I can't really put "percentages" to this stuff, though; my mind just doesn't work that way.

    • HSP Connections profile image

      Peter Messerschmidt 4 years ago from Port Townsend, WA, USA

      @verymary: Starting to work from home has been one of the best experiences for me, as far as maximizing my productivity goes... I actually have four distinct businesses, and I "go to work" at each one in short "segments" (unless a major project is at hand) and use timers (good tip, by the way) as motivation for sticking to things. So I do something for 45 minutes... and then I'm "cooked." But I leave it, and then go do something else that's cognitively different for an hour.

      I suppose you can say that I have created ways to work WITH who I am and how my brain functions, rather than against. As a writer, I'm good at "articles" but the idea of writing a "book" causes me instant dread and overwhelm... and yet? I write on the order of a MILLION words a year, which is enough for 8 good-length books. I love a platform like Squidoo, because I can create something "by module" and then go away.

      Conversely, I SUCKED at working in a regular workplace... and was a pathological members of the "Job of the Month Club," without really having a deeper unstanding of WHY.

      I don't know if this applies to your son, or whether there's even neurological research done on this... but if I can force myself to focus on some "large task" for 3-4 hours... I can continue to work it effortlessly for 12, by FAR surpassing the concentration of anyone I know, ADD or not. It's like I pass through a "wall" after which I hit "the zone" and am unstoppable.

    • adammuller003 lm profile image

      adammuller003 lm 4 years ago

      @verymary: Thank you for your response!

      MUSIC! When I found my Dad's acoustic guitar hidden away in some closet at 15, my life changed. It's been a source of so much for me, and it's cool your son's taking a liking. My senior year of high school I took choir, and those kids were different than most in my school...they were kind, and the "too-cool-for-school" wasn't so prominent. Music has been an invaluable way for me to explore so much of others, our culture, and myself.

      I identify when you mention your son noticing that a lot of the other kids in the lower level classes don't care, disrespect the teacher, etc. Are those other kids there b/c of not completing their homework? Or causing trouble in class?

      I guess where I am going is, I got in a lot of "trouble" when I was a kid. I couldn't stay in my seat, I wanted to socialize with others, I would always be talking when the teacher was talking, etc. For my entire 5th grade year, I had to have a note sent home to my mother every single day summing up how I did that day.

      ALL that to say, I was always lumped in with other kids who were kind of trouble-makers (disrespecting the teacher, not caring, etc.) It was confusing for methat I was always associated with the "bad" kids. In retrospect, I felt like I was "bad" because I was always associated with the "bad" kids. BUT I was just wanting connection! I was wanting to be social b/c of how much meaning it gave me.

      The schooling--

      (You're right, all this stuff could support their own Squidoo lens!)

      I am pushing around the themes of ADHD, the current school system, and how humans make meaning.

      I have a question:

      If you took school out of the equation, how much of your son's ADHD would be problematic for his life? 20%? 50%? More? Less?

      Another: (Genuinely)

      It seems like much of the setbacks your son has encountered with his ADHD has come surrounding school. With that in mind, when your son has problems with school stuff, how much of it feels crucially important for his development and learning? 20%? 50%? More? Less?

    • verymary profile image
      Author

      Mary 4 years ago from Chicago area

      @adammuller003 lm: Hi Adam -- great questions! I'll try to answer without writing a novel :) -- though each of these topics could easily be its own Squidoo page...

      **With lots of parent advocacy** I would say yes, teachers have been mostly accommodating, but some more than others. One year, his 2 main teachers truly did not get it, and that was awful. High school has been great, knock wood, so far. He's got an A average and is a quiet but fairly confident student. The drawback to his inattentive ADD is that he's had to take many classes at lower levels than he's really capable of, to control the homework volume -- since his pacing on HW is much slower than typical students.' If he wants decent sleep and "a life," he needs to control that volume. Sometimes he complains that the other students in those levels don't care much about learning, disrespect the teacher, etc....all stuff that would happen less in honors classes. So that's a bummer, but what can you do?

      One important, ongoing accommodation is double time for exam completion, but that has improved. He gets many tests done now in 1.5x time or less, which is major progress. Quality of work is never his problem; it is volume and pacing of output.

      Socially, he is a natural introvert, so he's fine with a couple of good friends. That hasn't changed much. He also gets along very well with his brothers, who are only 18 mos. younger, and their friends, and can join in "the pack" easily when comfortable. I would like to see him branch out a bit more socially, but it's not something a parent can really force. He is a good guitarist and hopes to get involved with a jazz ensemble soon. There is also a service club at school that helps younger kids in an urban school learn their instruments, so I'm going to encourage him to join that. He'd be great at it, and I figure the other teens who do that are probably going to be pretty nice kids, as well as musical (obviously) like my son.

      Does he feel happy? Interesting question, He is a quiet person and not very demonstrative, so it isn't always easy to gauge his emotions. However, he has always been a (quietly) optimistic person and still seems to be. He has always been one of the most balanced people I know. In some ways I feel he is more "emotionally mature" than many of the adults I know, yet he seems younger than same-age peers in terms of what most people think of as "life skills." People like having him in their homes (friends' parents, relatives etc.) because he's a calm, positive presence. I truly believe the world would be better with a lot more people like him, but things don't seem to be going in that direction. Instead, people are rushing even more, multitasking even more, looking for shortcuts, dreaming of their own reality shows lol. All the stuff that's the opposite of my son. Not sure what will happen, so we just have to keep helping in whatever ways seem to be needed and make sense. One step at a time.

      Thanks for asking!

    • adammuller003 lm profile image

      adammuller003 lm 4 years ago

      KarateKatGraphics,

      Wow. Thank you for sharing. I appreciated this lens a lot. You mention your son is doing a lot better, and now 15! What was his experience growing up with teachers? Did they accommodate for his innattentive adhd? Did he do okay in school? You mention he didn't pursue much socially beyond his immediate family. Did that change? And does he feel happy now?

      Thank you for your time, and I appreciated your lens.

    • verymary profile image
      Author

      Mary 4 years ago from Chicago area

      @Aunt-Mollie: thank you!

    • profile image

      Aunt-Mollie 4 years ago

      Sharing your personal experience here will help many people. I think your son is very blessed to have such a wonderful mother.

    • criysto lm profile image

      criysto lm 4 years ago

      Great lens with a lot of information. I have known many people that have inattentive ADHD. Thanks for giving me more knowledge on the subject.

    • verymary profile image
      Author

      Mary 4 years ago from Chicago area

      @HSP Connections: I like how you've handled it. It is possible to train oneself into a more functional mode, like you have done, though it sounds like the underlying condition is lifelong, more often than not. I had to laugh at your "make the turn" anecdote, as my inattentive-ADD son has been learning to drive since last summer, and that is him all over!

    • HSP Connections profile image

      Peter Messerschmidt 4 years ago from Port Townsend, WA, USA

      Excellent lens! I relate to so many of these things... it's a tough "variant" to live with; it's been with me all my life (I'm 52) and for the longest time, I couldn't identify with conventional descriptions of ADD/ADHD because I never experienced any kind of "manic" or hyperactive phases... I just quietly drift off. The "processing speed" issue has always been a biggie... in grade school my IQ tested in the 157-163 range yet my "slowness" baffled everyone. The feeling is so alien to people when I describe it... as an analogy, I am *instantly* aware that there are no cars coming at an intersection, but it takes me FOREVER to connect "no cars coming" with "make the turn" if that makes sense... I have taught myself to be highly functional through an elaborate system of "functional distractions;" that is, when I do drift away I drift to "something else that needs doing," rather than into thin air...

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi, I'm 34 and have started medication after being diagnosed. So far nothing as been working good or the side effects or too great. It's a very long process, patience is key.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @RachelDillin: I feel like I have struggled with this disorder all of my life. I am now 30, and its seems to be getting worse everyday. I was wondering what kind of medication you started taking and if it helped at all. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @RachelDillin: I'm wondering which meds work best for adults with sluggish cognitive tempo

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      terrym2442 5 years ago

      Excellent! I just pinned this on Pinterest, too.

    • verymary profile image
      Author

      Mary 5 years ago from Chicago area

      @RachelDillin: Hope you get some symptom relief! Best wishes.

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      Oneshotvariety LM 5 years ago

      Great lens.

    • Oneshotvariety LM profile image

      Oneshotvariety LM 5 years ago

      Great lens.

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      River_Rose 5 years ago

      Proper diet and get rid of toxins. Eat organic,no junk food and no additives.

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      River_Rose 5 years ago

      Proper diet and get rid of toxins. Eat organic,no junk food and no additives.

    • RachelDillin profile image

      RachelDillin 5 years ago

      I was just diagnosed with this as an adult. I am waiting to start medication to see if it helps.

    • RachelDillin profile image

      RachelDillin 5 years ago

      I was just diagnosed with this as an adult. I am waiting to start medication to see if it helps.

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      enjoyecigs 5 years ago

      Wow, amazing lens! Thanks for posting!