Attention Deficit Disorder filters reality through the lens of scattered attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Would it surprise you to hear that, in some ways, I am thankful for my Attention Deficit Disorder? I am! There are areas in my life, especially my teaching that would be different if Attention Deficit Disorder did not exist.
To counter my scattered attention, planning is important. Success depends on analyzing what needs to be done and building a road map to get to the goal. Along the way, I need to be careful to look for roadblocks that would interfere with the plan of action. These roadblocks spring from scattered attention. When I start a project, let myself be pulled off-task, and go ďoff-roading,Ē it can take days to get back on track. As I have aged, I am more able to use positive self-talk to help myself get back on the road to attaining my goal.
Scattered attention has also impacted my life by making me more empathetic. It helps me understand students who look like they just donít care. Inattention can look like a lack of concern about the work that they should be doing. Instead of raising their anxiety level, I try to lower it. A lower stress level helps a student feel more confident about completing work. Without Attention Deficit Disorder, I would not be able to have the depth of understanding about the feelings that an inattentive student battles on a daily basis in the classroom.
I use my impulsivity to move me forward when faced with acting against my self interest. There have been times when a student needed a strong advocate. Sometimes students with ADD have not had medication or behavioral interventions to help them be able to work well in the classroom. This can put them in conflict with the school administrators. Impulsivity can lead me to advocacy when I feel a student has been wronged.
Physically, I am not hyperactive, but my mind sometimes goes racing from one thing to another. My mind is going so quickly that my mouth canít keep up as I try to talk. Writing helps me express my thoughts more succinctly, since I type well. Also, getting a chance to edit what I want to say is liberating. Writing lets me express thoughts and feelings in a way that talking doesnít.
Having a racing mind allows me to understand those students whose bodies go racing around the room. My mind wonít stay still, and they canít keep their bodies still. They wiggle in chairs and need to go walkabout in the classroom. This is difficult for the students, especially when the common educational perception is that they could control their movements. Some days they can. Other days they canít. It takes so much effort, especially if they are not taking medication, that there are times when they just cannot stay seated.
My teaching career has been different from the one that I might have had if I did not have ADD. Knowing firsthand, in some small way, how my students interact with the world, has made me a different teacher. I am so very grateful for my ADD. Attention Deficit Disorder has helped me to be a more caring teacher. I am thankful for my mixed blessing, and I wish all teachers and administrators could be blessed with Attention Deficit Disorder for at least a month.
How can you use your Attention Deficit Disorder to effect positive changes in your life or the life of a loved one? How can the big three, inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity help impact your life in a positive way? Harness your special gifts! Let your ADD work for you.
A short article can only scratch the surface of a subject. Edward Hallowell, M.D. and John J. Ratey, M.D. have been studying Attention Deficit for years. Both doctors have ADD, so they can write from personal and professional perspectives. This book is a wonderful resource.
Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder
Sometimes tips on living with ADD/ADHD can be helpful. This book is highly recommended as a very practical book for adults.
10 Simple Solutions to Adult ADD: How to Overcome Chronic Distraction & Accomplish Your Goals