Today’s post is a Guest Post By Rawhide Boys Ranch, a non-profit organization helping at-risk youth in the state of Wisconsin.
Today, 6.4 million American children are diagnosed with ADHD. This, coupled with the fact that the number of children diagnosed in the last 10 years has increased 42%, make ADHD one of the most common and fastest growing childhood disorders in America.
Despite it’s prevalence, ADHD is still a widely misunderstood condition.
Did you know 50% of children with ADHD will continue to experience symptoms into adulthood?
Or, girls are just as likely to have ADHD as boys, but half as likely to be diagnosed?
There are many myths and facts every parent needs to know.
As part of ADHD Awareness Month, the team at Rawhide Boys Ranch have put together the infographic shown..
See a doctor, get diagnosed, get treatment, get better. That’s how it goes for adults who find out they have ADHD, right?
Yes. Yes, it does. And afterwards, a pink elephant swings by the doctor’s office, scoops you up onto his flying, technicolor carpet and gives you a lift home to your mushroom mansion on cloud cuckoo land.
Here in the real world, it doesn’t work that way. Many places – especially rural areas, but even large urban centres – have few services for folks with ADHD, none the least adults. Getting diagnosed is often the easiest part, but even that can be tricky. What comes afterwards, though, can be logarithmic. As in – the problem can be solved, but few of us know how.
As October is International ADHD Awareness Month, I’d like to make help* more accessible for everyone...
The way you approach the multitude of tasks in your life makes all the difference between being a champion of effectiveness or a casualty of complete exhaustion. If the latter sounds more like your description, you may be making life unnecessarily hard.
Simplifiers vs Optimizers
According to Scott Adams of Dilbert fame, a simplifier is someone who will choose the straightforward (sometimes easier) way of completing a task, even when he or she could have achieved better results with more effort. An optimizer, as he defines it, is someone who will take the extra effort to get better results, even at the risk of unexpected contingencies sending the whole plan south. (See Scott’s book – How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life.)
Someone once flippantly said to me…
“We all know ADDers don’t read…”
Not only is this a gross generalization, but it’s also incorrect. I know many ADDers who read all the time, often 3 or 4 books at a time.
But many people with ADHD do struggle with reading. It’s hard to concentrate when your mind is constantly wooed by distractions, and the itching restlessness of an unsettled internal engine urges you to go do something else.
It makes reading complicated, fatiguing, and boring for us wistful souls.
On the other hand, reading can be interesting and exciting. It takes you away from the present. It helps you learn things to move forward and get ahead in life. It may even help you get a date or make a lot of money. (Disclaimer: Results may vary from reader to reader)
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could get back all the time you’ve wasted in your life? Imagine what you’d do with the days, months, even years!
It feels like time speeds up as you get older. Having lived more life, you become acutely aware of how each moment of life can be (has been) savored or squandered.
The older you get, the less time you have ahead of you. This creates an urgency to use it devoutly. While you can afford to waste time in your youth, doing so only causes a delayed side-effect of mid-life regret.
That kind of time-grief isn’t limited to middle age. In fact, existential crises can happen at any time in your life.
Who am I?
What do I stand for?
What do I want to do with my life?
These are the “crises” of youth. At some point, though, we get a pretty firm grip on the..
It’s been a busy summer. Like every summer, the days have slipped past me faster than the plummeting price of oil.
I love having the kids off from school. No lunches to pack, no early morning alarm bells (for them, anyway). No arguing over what to wear or when to go to bed. Just pure, blissful, organic, moment-to-moment living.
I treasure these stolen moments with the kids, to laze around and (yes, I’ll admit) watch Vat19.com videos on Youtube. It’s guilt-inducing that I allow them to pollute their minds with pointless tripe, but redeeming to find communion over a shared sense of humour.
Admittedly, there have not been enough “stolen moments” like these. (I count stolen moments as extra moments to do out-of-the-ordinary things that can’t be done within the confines of your normal..
Have you ever really seen yourself? I don’t mean checking yourself out in the mirror as you shave in the morning or try on a new outfit. I mean:
Have you ever really looked at yourself? Like – watched yourself, as you go about your business in a normal day?
I suspect not. Most ADDers are not keen observers. Sure, we’re great at noticing new and unusual things. We pick up on seemingly irrelevant details or quickly draw lines between dots, to find connections that other people don’t see. In some situations, our ability to observe these kinds of obscurities is an asset. It can certainly lend to creativity and divergent problem-solving.
In general, though, we are not great observers of the mundane and ordinary. Unfortunately, most days tend to fit this description. It’s why we repeatedly..
I recently finished reading 10 Things I Hate about ADHD (Plus 10 more) by Bryan Hutchinson. In case you haven’t heard, I recently made Bryan’s list of top ADD blogs, which I am (super) proud of. Check it out here at ADDer World.
Now before you assume this post is merely a gratuity for the honour he bestowed me, let me snuff out your suspicion. I have read several of Bryan’s previous books and enjoyed them immensely. Quite simply, Bryan is a funny writer. Plus, he is a very generous person who has his given a lot of his time to the online ADHD community. He has a way of making people feel like they have found a friend in him, and that shines through in his writing.
If there was an adjunctive reason for me to review his book (apart from the fact that I enjoyed it), it would be this:
Most of us have spent our entire lives feeling broken.
We grew up knowing something was wrong with us, even if it at the time we didn’t know it by its four-letter acronym. We’ve spent years, even lifetimes, trying to get normal. We’d have been better off to escape Wonderland on the tail of a tardy rabbit. That would have been just as realistic.
What I’m saying is this:
If you are still trying to become normal, you need to wake up. There is no Wonderland. There is no normal.
Yes, 8 out of 10 kids may be able t0 sit still in class. Not all of those 8 will pass those classes with flying colours though. 8 out of 10 people don’t lose their keys every single day. But not all 8 of those will have tidy homes. 8 out of 10 people don’t interrupt in conversations...
The more I talk about ADHD, the more I come to realize I’m not all that interested in ADHD at all. At least, not in the disorder-definition we associate with that four-letter acronym. I know it’s considered a disorder, but like I’ve argued many times – “disorder” is contextual.
I am, however, fascinated by ADHD as a brain-wiring, sovereign from malfunction when we consider that it can have many utilities. Hacking is one of them. Not computer hacking per se, but life hacking. Work hacking. School hacking. Just-about-anything-hacking.
What do I mean by hacking? In case you weren’t already aware, a hack is “any trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method that increases productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life” (thanks to Wikipedia for that succinct explanation).
I used to believe that anything was possible if you really set your mind to it.
Now that I’ve hit 40, I have realized this: I probably won’t achieve even half of what I am capable of in this lifetime. It’s a sad realization, but equally freeing.
While I still concur with the basic tenet of my youthful belief, experience has shown me a hidden clause – that it would be virtually impossible to set my mind to one thing. If I really wanted to be an astrophysicist, and it was my sole priority in life, then nothing could stop me. But I am not built to be singularly focussed on one pursuit. I’m guessing you aren’t either.
So what does that mean for me, or for you?
I know you have many lingering regrets about what could have been if only you had learned to manage your ADHD better at an earlier..
“I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.”
I write today from the happiest place on earth. My daughter likes to tell me that phrase rather annoys her. She says:
“How do they know for sure it’s the happiest place on earth? I mean, maybe our home is actually the happiest place on earth. They can’t tell us where the happiest place on earth is, that’s up to us to decide!”
I love my daughter.
But she does accept Disney Land is a pretty darn happy place, even if it’s not the happiest by everyone’s standards.
I was frankly a little worried about coming here. I get bombarded pretty easily, especially in big, noisy crowds.
To my surprise, I’ve coped pretty well. In fact, I’ve had a blast! Which led me to think about the man and the..
Lately, my 7-year-old has been asking me about ADHD. I’m glad, of course. It means she’s interested in my work and what I spend my free time writing about. It’s quite an honour actually, that my daughter would want to know more about something that is so important to me.
No one has suggested that either of my kids have ADHD. That doesn’t mean I don’t see traits in them. But those traits do not seem to be impairing them in a major way… so far. I count that as a blessing, and in turn, parent them to the best of my ability, aspiring to be someone who teaches them how to get the best out of themselves.
But if my kids were to be diagnosed, there are a few things I would want them to know about life with ADHD. I am certain that knowing these things could change their lives forever, and maybe..
You remember (last post) when we talked about curiosity being one of your biggest assets? I have more to say about that.
I forgot to mention that you have another big asset at your disposal: creativity. Before you shush me with a modest “But I’m not creative!”, let me pre-empt you. You most certainly ARE creative (infinity, no return!).
We all have the capacity for creativity. It’s not an innate skill blessed on an auspicious few. It’s a seed implanted at birth, but one you must cultivate in order to experience its rewards.
Our Best Assets are Already at Our Disposal
ADDers tend to be a highly creative bunch. As we already know, we are also incredibly curious. Lucky for us, creativity and curiosity go really well together, like fried fish and tartar sauce. When you use them together..