Wednesday, March 21, 2007


I was chatting with another parent in my county whom I am still getting to know better (my county with a high percentage of adults with college degrees and beyond in formal education which does not necessarily equate to actual knowledge).   Sufficiently interesting conversation at the time but not sufficiently interesting enough to focus on completely, nor to retell.......   

We mentioned multitasking.

Me:  "Of course I'm multitasking.   I have ADD."

Friend:   "You DO?"

Me:  "Yes.   It's not been diagnosed officially, but I'm way off the charts in any of those questionnaires."   (Hard enough for me to coordinate the rest of my life, never mind getting myself in for a not-critical appointment.  There are other items of higher priority going on.  I have, however, found an appropriate local medical person for my insurance who treats adult ADHD/ADD, when I get there.)

Friend:  "But you seem so smart."

Me:   (Silence while I try to figure out if that's a dig or a compliment.)

Friend:  "Did you go to college???"  (He knew I had, apparently now questioning that assumption if, egads, I had ADD.)

Actually,  have a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Management (emphasis on Fish and Wildlife Management).  Give/take 10 years later, I took approximately three graduate classes with the intention of pursing graduate studies once I honed in on the specific course of study that was the most interesting to me.   I found I really liked agricultural econimics:) while teaching natural sciences to middle schoolers held high appeal as well.   (I was quite involved as an advisor in my church youth group at the time, and had been working with my company during and following my undergraduate studies, some "real world" experience.)   However, C and I got pregnant with M, and I knew I didn't have the time and energy to devote to full-time work and study, and raising an infant, apparently now by myself.   She was and is worth my focus, especially then.

People with ADD/ADHD can be just as smart (or not smart) and capable of formal education as others. 


Same day, different people.   Talking of paying for college tuition.  One mother had stepped in "last minute" out of frustration, and helped her daughter with the financial aid forms and other paperwork, got her a big binder and helped her daughter organize everything, explaining things as they went along.   Great!   Later, I realized this mother had not wanted to help with this.   The mother had commented how the girl isn't applying herself, she never completes things, including the financial aid forms and applications and other complicated paperwork, so why should the mother bother helping.   The girl just needed to try harder and be responsible for herself, per her mother who was ready to wipe her hands of this girls "laziness."

I don't know this girl.   She may not be that interested in attending college.   I do, however, know that those financial aid forms are practically beyond ME, as an adult, to fill out (for M's school I have never been able to complete one fully),   At 17 years old when I entered college, the first year my mother helped me out, filling out portions herself that applied to her.   (I did fill out the college applications myself, accepted where I applied, but felt the one place would be too costly.)

My mother has sometimes felt that I should just try harder, too, like this mother is thinking for her daughter.   They are not comprehending.  I do not agree with enabling someone.   When it's help and when it's enabling, can vary from person to person and as time goes on even with the same person (believe me, my brother and I discussed this just last night in regards to my father).   I do, however, know that I try.  I try real hard.   I sometimes spend more time, and try harder, than others, to accomplish the same task.   Sometimes, this is quite frustrating.   Taking longer to complete a task, even with trying to do so, is apparently not unusual.

Sometimes, for a person with a different-ability, it has little to do with how hard someone is trying.   Other things, other tools (behavioral, medicinally, how a situation is set up), can make a difference. 

Update:  I do think that many are mis-diagnosed.  I love the positives of it:)   And, many successful people have learned ways to work with it (including my Boss, and Mike V's friend, "Jim went onto college.  Student president there.  Started his own business.  You can't tell people that."  (Mike said I could include this.)   Some successful people with ADHD/ADD include Kinko's owner, and Robin Williams, tons of others with creative ideas, just after implementing, may want to move on to something else.  Each person is unique.  I prefer the presumption of good opportunities over assuming the worst, with assistance and understanding (for anyone, like a pair of eyeglasses), IF needed.   Especially with children still learning who they are and how they relate to the world, a person sometimes lives up to (or down to) the assumption made for him/her.   Heck, sometimes, having a mind that works a touch differently, can be enjoyable, too.
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  1. Your reply:  Ummm....thanks for the backhanded compliment, I think.
    People.....jeeze!  Come check out the Austin Sky!

  2. Ah old ways of thinking.  LOL. My friend who has ADD was told by his counselor at school that he wouldn't be able to got to college because of it. ~ Mike

  3. Maybe I am cutting some of these people too much slack, but it might be supposed  ADD people they have met previous.   When I worked in Pedi @ the hospital, they were labeling too many kids with huge behavioral problems as  ADD, when they were not.  Sometimes I was amazed that parents would get mad when they were told that their kids were out of control, but not ADD.  They wanted a DX.  I thought they would be happy that is was something they could change at home. NO.
    My bf was the opposite.  He had adhd but they just told his parents he was a spoiled brat :-).  He made it thru a Master's Degree though.  At this age, he does not take meds & says the condition helps him get all he needs done.  ~Mary

  4. I am married to a man with ADD-he could never sit still long enough for a college degree but the way his mind works is almost scary.  He has two patented inventions-and if I could keep his mind on any one thing long enough, there would probably be more patents.  He has created automated machines in his shop that most engineers would scratch their heads at. When he works through the night in his shop it scares me to walk in to see what is next.  An ADD man with a genius mind-and something else to live with. LOL  Hope all is well with you-take care

  5. My 14 yr old son has Major ADHD and is highly intelligent, My 15 yr old Daughter as ADD with average intelligence but can't concentrate hard enough to be a better student. Having this disorder is frustrating enough without other people's ignorance thinking that just because other people have this disorder means they are dumb. Where I ran into problems with my son was before he was diagnosed people just thought he was a discipline problem...We learn as we go right?


  6. Ignorant people drive me insane!!  AD/HD people often have very high IQs.  AGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!  


  7. A simple Fact. Most HIGH IQ's have ADD or ADHD. just a fact. And your right, education, fancy degree's does not mean the best of actual knowledge :) LOL
    I loved this entry!

  8. P.S. From you ADD friend :) lol

  9. Howdy doody... back to leave a comment. One thing about commenting so late on an entry is the likelihood of others reading that comment is slight... alas for the late sleeper and bloomers. My thoughts...
    FIRST I must express a pet peeve that digs into my philosophy about disability in general and that is I believe in using "person first" language when describing a person with a disability. i.e. I am a man with ADHD not an ADHD man, or ADHD Dad, etc. the reasoning behind this is to put the emphasis on the PERSON, not the disability. Small thing perhaps but attitude and perception are so very much intertwined with the whole issue of disability.
    SECOND: I am doing my PhD research on college students with ADHD. It aint an easy road... kudos to you for all your accomplishments. The biggest obstacles are often institutional. A university knows how and what to do with an individual in a wheel chair, a person who is visually impaired, etc. However, take a hidden disability that continues to be embroiled in controversy and the lines become blurred. Hard, empirical evidence must be provided that the disability exists before most Disability Offices will act. The individual has to be a strong advocate and step forward to ask for help. Many high school programs prepare the student for the cognitive aspect of higher ed but NOT how to develop and use self efficacy, advocate for what he or she needs. All along they've had a team of folks helping and watching out... THEN WHAMO! on your own.
    Think I'm outa space. Thanks for sharing this entry, very enlightening. Keep at it please.