Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Adult ADD..Who..Me?


Being a special educator, I've worked with many students diagnosed with ADD (attention deficit disorder) and/or ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).  It is easy for me to identify the symptoms and behaviors of this disorder and I am experienced enough to know how to utilize teaching strategies to ensure their success.  

While I had known this disorder was common in children, I hadn't truly understood its prevalence in adults...until I saw it in action.  I witnessed adult ADD in full blown, crazy action and was pretty amazed.  It was as if with each shift in the wind, something new was going on.  Holding conversation became difficult because it tended to be all over the place.  I was flabbergasted at the intensity of the distractibility and was thankful this person wasn't in my classes 20 years ago!


As time went on I started to see behaviors in myself that were a tad ADD-ish.  Especially when cleaning or organizing...I am literally all over the place.  My TH has learned to just leave the house when I am "in the zone" or else he gets rather anxious himself.  I just kick into gear and don't stop...from here...to there...wait I need to start that...wait is the vacuum still on?  Did I ever start the laundry?  Do I hear running water?  I mean this goes on and on...for hours.

According to the Attention Deficit Disorder Association, the most common core characteristics of ADD/HD are, "distractibility (poor sustained attention to tasks), implulsivity (impaired impulse control and delay of gratification) and hyperactivity (excessive activity and physical restlessness)" (add.org, 2013).  Now, I will agree that I am easily distracted.  I see things and I often just attack, without finishing what I am doing at that very moment.  However, unless you are referring to my OCD with cleaning the floors and my willingness to do them at any second of the day, I wouldn't say I am all that impulsive.  And hyperactivity...? hmmmmm....well, Nic does say I have more energy than any person she has ever met...but I just gotta get things DONE, does being a go-getter translate into being hyper?

I am not a doctor, so I am not going to pretend to be able to diagnose others or myself for that matter.  I only know what I have seen and what I have learned through my professional experiences. So, with that said, do I think I may have a little ADD when it comes to certain things?  Yes.  Do I think that my OCD plays a key role in that? Yes.  But, unlike the many adults who suffer from ADD and deal with the negative behaviors associated with this disorder,  I actually feel, for me, it is a positive.

I can go around and around starting more and more things, but at the end of the day, they all get done.  I am able to see the chaos that I have created, take a breath and focus on how to complete one thing at a time.  For example, when I see the mop out, carpets up, dishes in the sink in laundry by the door I stop and take a breath.  I then prioritize and create a timeline.  First, start the laundry, then come in and mop.  While the floors dry do the dishes so when you are done you can put the carpets down.

I have tried to explain my brain and how it works to others and the best analogy I can think of is the game board on Family Feud.  It is constantly flipping, moving up and down while also changing.  I am a sucker for a routine and agenda so that is what my mind does with everything I do; puts it in an order of execution and prepares to knock it all out.

I am so thankful that my non-diagnosed adult ADD is not a hindrance to my life, but more of a gift that only I can appreciate.  I am able to be totally and utterly distracted, but have the ability to reign it in and harness this power to be a task-oriented machine!

I guess I am done with this post...wait, do you hear that?  Is that a buzzer?  Uh oh is the laundry done? I better go get it. (Stand up) Wait, did I save this?  Did I ever finish that Make Your Monday? (sitting back down) And here I go again.......

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