Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.
As a teacher, I’d worked with several students who had ADD. The experts have done away with the ADHD diagnosis now, just adding the word “hyperactive” to ADD with a code number. Yeah, I know, why fix what isn’t broken? Anyway, I’d learned to identify certain traits of this condition, and tried my best to help students who had a hard time, for instance, if there was too much writing or typing on a page. We call this, in the trade, figure-ground. The white paper is the ground; the print is the figure. If there’s too much figure, a kid’s mind just scrambles everything up. I learned to write tests with lots of white space; with short matching sections, short true/false lists, and so on
One thing, however, that I’ve never been able to figure out, is how to help someone who easily loses focus. I’m married to that. Of course, when Terry was a kid in school. no one knew about ADD. Chances are, if they had, they still would have tossed it off as “he’s just lazy and won’t pay attention. He just needs to be disciplined!”
Until you’ve lived with it, had a child with it, marry it, you really don’t get it. Terry is one of the most disciplined people I know. It’s just that his brain is wired in such a way that he can be listening intently, but just one word acts like a taser gun to his brain cells and he’s mentally off and running, following that one word. I can tell when I’ve lost him. His eyes change. I know he hasn’t heard the last ten words, and I call him back. He always looks startled.
We make jokes about ADD:
But honestly? It’s not funny. It’s frustrating, and a lot of kids in my husband’s age group went through school hating every minute, believing they were stupid, and certainly not living up to their intellectual capacity. Don’t look down your nose at these folks. Most of them are a lot smarter than you think they are. Their brains are just wired differently than yours.
Focus? Terry can focus on something he’s doing to the point that there could be an earthquake, tsunami, tornado, and hurricane all at one time and he’d be oblivious. On the other hand, asking him to stay focused on something he finds uninteresting is just not very smart. He tries. Most people with ADD really, really try hard.
What about medication? Well, sure. It often works very well, especially with hyperactivity. Terry uses his Adderal if he has to drive any distance, or if there’s a project that involves a lot of detailed calculating and measuring. It helps him focus and not go chasing after squirrels.
Not all people who lose their focus have ADD. Sometimes they just don’t care about what they’re doing, and they let their minds wander the globe. I think people who MUST control the remote, and who channel surf during every commercial, don’t have ADD. They just like to be in charge, and they’re always looking for something more interesting. And almost anything is more interesting than what YOU want to watch, so it’s probably better if you have your own TV somewhere else in the house.
That last paragraph, by the way, was a perfect example of ADD and would have earned me some red ink if I were writing this as a high school composition 🙂