Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Think I Have ADD

When I was a kid, we had never heard of the term "Attention Deficit Disorder" (ADD). Every student was expected to tow the line in school, regardless of any sort of disorder. We also never heard of "Oppositional Defiance Disorder" (ODD), or "Hyperactivity Disorder" (HD), or "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder" (ADHD). In some ways I'm glad we didn't have such terms. We were given expectations, and no matter our difficulties, we strove to attain them. In some way, however, I think it would have been nice to know. I think I might have ADD, although I was never diagnosed. Notice I didn't say ADHD...I'm definitely not hyper...I would be just the opposite. I probably could be diagnosed with "ADSD" which is "Attention Deficit, SLUG Disorder".

When I was a kid, I had a very hard time paying attention in class. I remember in fourth grade I was always getting in trouble for talking in class, and the teacher even had me move my desk over by the wall so that I wouldn't disrupt the other students. I remember leaning over in my desk as far as I could trying to get the attention of the students near me. I know I must have listened to some of what the teachers said because I did learn. But honestly, I don't remember listening much.

As an adult I find I still have difficulty listening for long periods of time. In fact, much of the time I just appear to be listening when actually I'm mulling over some other problem or project that I'm working on. Sometimes little distractions help me pay attention. Like when I'm sitting in church trying to pay attention to a monotonous speaker, and the baby across the aisle starts making noises. I look over and watch for a moment, and that gives me the mental break I need to start listening to the speaker again.

I have one child that seems to have some ADD, and another that appeared to be hyperactive. Those are two different types of problems. Attention deficit makes it difficult to focus attention. Hyperactivity makes it difficult to physically sit still. Some children have both. My one son was hyperactive as a child, but is very calm now. A special Education teacher I know told me she thinks he didn't grow out of it, he just learned coping skills. When he was little, some people tried to shame me in to putting him on hyperactivity medication. They told me I wasn't being a good parent if I didn't. I ignored them, and he adapted. The attention deficit makes it much more difficult to adapt, but I think it can be done. I succeeded in college despite my difficulties in paying attention, and I see my other son learning coping skills too.

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