As I look back at my life to this time, it’s amazing how much of it has been shaped by Attention Deficit Disorder. When something plays a pivotal role in your life like ADD can, there are consequences, both negative and positive. Long ago, I discovered that I can look at my ADD as a life sentence that simply isn’t fair, or I can count my blessings that came along with my Attention Deficit Disorder.
Years ago, when I was a child, nobody recognized Attention Deficit Disorder. My primarily inattentive type of ADD was seen as a moral failing. People with this type of ADD were considered lazy, unmotivated, and under-achieving. We were told repeatedly that, “You can do better!” Most of us were doing the very best that we could with the skills and neural networks that we had.
If I were to go back in time, one way that I would look for kids with ADD would be to see who was staying in for recess on a regular basis! In our elementary school class, there were four of us who spent most recesses completing our work. Occasionally others would stay inside too, when they didn’t feel like dealing with the playground, but our cadre formed a hard core of kids who spaced out and didn’t complete our work on a daily basis. Mike, David, Steve, and I just couldn’t seem to get it together. Does it surprise you that most of the group was boys? It shouldn’t, since ADD is much more prevalent in boys than it is in girls. These elementary school experiences were the basis of my being able to count my blessings with ADD.
You might ask, “What blessings does ADD give you?” Here are a few:
My children are a blessing that ADD gave to me.
Well, maybe not the children themselves, but their personalities were shaped by Attention Deficit Disorder. I wouldn’t change a thing about them. They are bright, compassionate, creative, and out-of-the box-thinkers. As the guys went through the school process, I was able to see my own schooling challenges more clearly. My academic world was clarified by seeing their interactions with the school system and their ADD.
Advocating for my children helped me grow stronger in spirit.
Being an advocate can be an uncomfortable job. Parental advocates do their homework and find ways to present their child’s needs in a way that helps the child to build a better life. They teach effective strategies to help their children be successful. Being an advocate means having the confidence and strength of spirit to do what is right for your child, and to make certain that others in his life help him along.
I learned the value of persistence and hard work, since I must work harder to do the same things that others do more easily.
It is harder for me to focus on my work and to stay organized. That’s a given. However, people with ADD often have persistence and learn strategies to work around those problems that ADD brings. Curiosity, creativity, and doing problem solving in a different way are also hallmarks of Attention Deficit Disorder. All of these things combine to help me solve life’s problems for which blueprints don’t exist. Novel ways of approaching problems without easy solutions assist me in teaching students subjects that they are having difficulties learning. Having to work harder also taught me compassion for those people who struggle in their personal and professional lives.
My mind prowls, and I have many favored activities. It’s all about energy.
Some people see hyperactivity; I see energy to be harnessed. When you have energy to channel to projects, a lot of work can be accomplished.
I have been blessed in my life. One of my largest blessings is Attention Deficit Disorder. My ADD is such a large part of who I am. It is the lens through which I see and interact with the world. What blessings do you have because of Attention Deficit Disorder? Count them and celebrate your good fortune!