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ADD/ADHD = lazy?


eternalsummer
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I don't homeschool, though I used to spend hours every day schooling my kids.  Except for sick days and holidays, they've spent a large chunk of their day away from home (or with a nanny at home).  I get a lot of my work done (both housework and "work work") when they are away from me.  When home, they've always been good about working independently for part of the day.  Usually I'm only super hands on with them for a couple hours a day.

 

My systems have to change as my kids grow.  I really just go with the flow and do my best to adjust.  Some days are better than others.  I'm not very good at spreading out my work, so I have some weeks when I get behind on my laundry and my sink is full of dishes.  Then I'll have an energy day and get it all caught up while home alone.  Then I'll reward myself with a chill day and the slide will start all over again.

 

Funny thing is that I know what I need to do to fix all this, but can't seem to do it.  It makes me more sympathetic of addicts and such.  It's easy to say what needs to change.

 

 

 

Well, this is 100% how I operate.  I am not sure if that is reassuring or depressing, but there it is.

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Maybe this is a stupid question, and I hope nobody is offended: but what is the difference between "illness" and "physical functioning difference that requires medication to function normally"?

How is this different from depression where the brain functions differently due to chemical imbalance and requires medication to restore normal function? (ETA: Many artists found that their depressive or bipolar conditions vital for creating art, and some have refused treatment for that reason - in some cases with fatal consequences)

 

Does this really go beyond semantics?

 

 

This gets very close to the point I'd like to make.

 

I've seen a few places in this thread where mental illness is contrasted with physical illnesses. I would like to point out that mental illnesses *are* physical. They are just as physical as, say, pneumonia. The fact that they operate on the chemical level and in the brain, and hence are harder to observe than pneumonia, does not alter that physical nature.

 

I would not classify ADHD as a mental illness. Like mental illnesses, though, I'd say it has a physical cause, and treating it =/= giving in to laziness. The fact that one can, by extreme effort, overcome its effects does not mean that the original cause is not physical.

 

My daughter has a cold today, but because of obligations at school, forced herself to carry on and attend. Attending when sick requires an extreme effort which can be maintained for some time, but not indefinitely. Medicating her would not be giving in to weakness. The same is true for ADHD.

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Two of my four children have ADHD, and another has some symptoms. Only one is medicated. We resisted the idea of meds for a long time, but they are really helpful for him. They make a huge difference, actually, but they don't take his ADHD away. He still has a lot of things that he can work on to improve his organization, impulsivity, focus, and interactions with others. The essential thing is that his meds allow him to work on those areas. Without meds, he is so impulsive and disorganized that he can't tackle working on things. As a little example, folding a basket of laundry is challenging for him with medication, but it is almost impossible for him to accomplish when his meds have worn off.

 

What I've learned corresponds with what others have said. ADHD is a brain difference, and the meds stimulate parts of the brain that are underperforming.

 

People with ADHD don't catch it like an illness or acquire it by being lazy. They are born with it. There is a genetic component, and it often runs in families. It's not a mental illness. It can be debilitating enough to be a disability. It can also look like laziness, and people with ADHD can work to improve their symptoms by learning organizing techniques, but it is harder to accomplish than it is for the typical person. People with ADHD may have character flaws; everyone has character flaws. But ADHD is not a character flaw.

Edited by Storygirl
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I think it's an important question, and people often fudge it a little.

 

Though the word "illness" specifically is something some people use to describe something like a disease you develop or catch.  So they would not think of ADHD, or something like Downs syndrome, as an "illness" in that way.  Something like diabetes might walk the line.

 

I think there are a few things people are using for these catagories that ned to be taken apart. 

 

The first is whether it is something that is normal for that person.  Someone born with a cleft palate, or a different brain, or a genetic disorder, might be said to be normal for that person, depending on the cause.  It may not represent something that happened to them from external sources.  I think though that this is actually tricky, we often don't have any idea why something happens, what characteristics form part of our identity doesn't seem to be something that is always the same with a wholly physiological basis either.

 

The second thing that seems a big deal is whether the characteristic causes problems in daily life or otherwise - does it need to be corrected?

 

In the end, we seem to see some things as normal human variation, and others as an illness or condition.  If we can easily see why someone is different (we know say it is due to a chemical exposure in the womb or a genetic error) we tend to see it as an illness.  If it seriously impedes function and requires corrective measures we see it as an illness.  Other times when these things are less obvious, we see them as normal variation or part of identity.

 

But sometimes we don't entirely make sense in how we think about these things, I think.  Saying an ADHD brain is a normal variation does not seem to me to go well with the idea that it requires correction - that's would be like correcting for left-handedness.  You see similar arguments sometimes for deafness, autism, Downs, and some types of transsexualism.  I think the reason is these all impact, for one reason or another, perceptions of identity, so people are hesitant to see them as errors of some kind.  But objectively they all meet either the criteria of being caused by some problem in normal development, and/or causing a problem that affects life significantly and requires intervention.

 

The DSM-V draws the line between "disorder" and "normal variation" largely based on whether a person's ability to live day to day life and function in society is negatively impacted. I think this is a very good way of looking at it. You see this for some physical conditions as well, such as correcting vision to 20/20. A person with less than 20/20 vision is not blind, but does have more difficulty getting along in modern society because the technological world is built on the assumption that almost everyone has 20/20 vision. A person with better than 20/20 vision just gets ignored, because that doesn't require accommodation or modifications to get by. A person with less than 20/20 vision needs glasses, contacts, or corrective surgery to maximize quality of life and ability to function.

 

Part of the problem is that modern society makes demands on our brains that human existence didn't for most of our history. It also doesn't make demands that it used to, in other ways. Not everyone adapts equally as well.

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This gets very close to the point I'd like to make.

 

I've seen a few places in this thread where mental illness is contrasted with physical illnesses. I would like to point out that mental illnesses *are* physical. They are just as physical as, say, pneumonia. The fact that they operate on the chemical level and in the brain, and hence are harder to observe than pneumonia, does not alter that physical nature.

 

I would not classify ADHD as a mental illness. Like mental illnesses, though, I'd say it has a physical cause, and treating it =/= giving in to laziness. The fact that one can, by extreme effort, overcome its effects does not mean that the original cause is not physical.

 

My daughter has a cold today, but because of obligations at school, forced herself to carry on and attend. Attending when sick requires an extreme effort which can be maintained for some time, but not indefinitely. Medicating her would not be giving in to weakness. The same is true for ADHD.

 

It can be a fuzzy line though, when we are talking about a difference in the way a brain operates all the time.  With many mental differences, a problem looks a lot like, or actually is, an exaggeration of something normal.  There is a range of normal and where we draw a line can depend on our perception and environment.

 

For some reason we seem less likely to draw an inappripriate line with physical things though.  I was a slow runner as a kid, but no one thought that required remidiation.  I also wasn't ready for school as a brand-new 5 year old - that got me sent for an assessment.

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I've considered myself lazy for, oh, decades anyway.  I have a tendency to forget things, I don't do many things (esp. paperwork) until the last minute, I am messy, my purse is one large bag full of whatever I felt like putting in there, I have to actively combat having a messy house.  I don't remember to put a new roll of toilet paper on the toilet paper thinger.  ETA: I could list 100 more things here.  I leave the laundry in the washer.  I never fold laundry.  I cannot maintain long distance friendships as I just can't make myself send letters or emails regularly.  I sign up for things and then back out (am getting better at this).  I chew with my mouth open.  I don't bring in the empty trash cans for days after trash day.  etc etc.

 

I'm bright, so I got through school okay once I had a planner (which we were very well and rigorously trained in using, and I used to good effect).  I still did some absolutely crazy things like forgetting community service until the very last second (we needed community service for weighted grades, which were more important to me than almost anything as I wanted class rank)  - [ETA: that was a lie: I waited until well after the last second, and had to ask the principal personally to give me an exception to turn it in late, which she only did because the #10 guy in our class also forgot his community service)  or leaving my (school-owned) piccolo in the parking lot or forgetting a movie date with a friend.  I was a NM scholar, I got the IB Diploma (a ton of work!), etc.

 

But I have always thought of myself as lazy.

 

I have a DS who has ADHD behaviors.  We will never get him a label or (god forbid) meds; it is mostly manageable, esp. with homeschooling.

 

But I wonder how many people - maybe myself included?  maybe not? - have always thought of themselves or their kids as lazy when what they really mean is ADD.

 

Or, alternatively, do we call people ADD when what we really mean is lazy?  Obviously it is overdiagnosed today (10% of children and a higher percentage of boys being labelled mentally ill as children suggests something wrong with the system rather than the children, imo) but I don't know how far that goes.

 

Just musing here, and wondering if anyone else has reconsidered their perception of their own failings in this way, or the other way around.

 

 

I have to tell you, as a fellow "I will never give him meds" mom who resisted a strong recommendation for meds for inattentive ADHD and gave in about a month ago because, heaven help me, one of us was not going to survive adolescence (and I'm not an adolescent, kwim?) - thank goodness for meds.

 

I have this weird kid who now functions.  It's not a magic wand, he's still not a super organized go getter, but the conflict and lack of getting things done?  If I had only known!  I asked a young man who had been on meds in high school before making the final decision and he said that everything was less of an effort on meds - meaning he didn't have to work so hard just on behavior and control - he had the ability to put more effort into focus, work, executive skills.

 

Kids with ADHD tend to *not* just have ADHD.  My kiddo has serious executive skill weaknesses, super low working memory, normal intelligence, and dyslexia, and high impulsiveness.  Apparently, as told to me by a neuropsych, stimulants have the ability to stretch working memory a tiny bit (like 5% ish) but when yours operates at 4%, then every bit counts.

 

This has been the best month with this kiddo in probably three years.  If you think you have ADHD, don't knock meds out completely.  It's been a relationship saver.  And just so you know, kids with lacking executive skills and/or learning disabilities and normal intelligence get labeled lazy a LOT.  It's because you can tell they are quick, capable, smart people... So why don't they get stuff done? Well, because of a general lack of understanding about the brain and how these different pieces of the puzzle play out, most folks just chalk it up to laziness and that's it. 

 

ETA: And I should also add that in some cases, kids have come up against so many hurdles they don't make a huge effort anymore.  A sort of "learned" laziness perhaps?  No one thinks you're trying so why bother?  Then others develop low expectations / don't push and the kiddos just figure why try if they disappoint people?  It can be a circle.  

 

Genetically, one parent in our home has dyslexia.  That means approximately half of our kids will/should have it.  ADHD is often co-morbid but has a sliding scale of severity and kids can have strong executive skills and compensate.  I believe, according to DSM V, there is no longer ADD, just ADHD - hyper, ADHD - inattentive (the old ADD) and ADHD - combination.    I have two mild ADHD hyper (both doing great and functioning well, no meds, just skills being taught), one ADHD inattentive with no hyper component (this is kiddo on meds) and one ADHD hyper (very) no meds.  So not every kiddo with ADHD needs meds.  But I'm floored at the difference with meds... talked to the psychatrist yesterday because he had just been given an intro dose to check tolerance and then go up slightly to see how that goes.  He didn't expect we'd see any improvement.  I can't believe we might see more improvement.  It is beyond any hopes and expectations that I had.

Edited by BlsdMama
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Maybe this is a stupid question, and I hope nobody is offended: but what is the difference between "illness" and "physical functioning difference that requires medication to function normally"?

How is this different from depression where the brain functions differently due to chemical imbalance and requires medication to restore normal function? (ETA: Many artists found that their depressive or bipolar conditions vital for creating art, and some have refused treatment for that reason - in some cases with fatal consequences)

 

Does this really go beyond semantics?

 

IMO it's a lot about semantics.  I think people believe that if we put the right spin on some of these things then people will be treated better.  (I don't think that is the right approach.)

 

Also, part of the problem with some of these things is the same diagnosis is often applied to extremes.  There are people with autism who function fairly normally.  Then there are people with autism who bang their head against walls and need diapers.  Same with mental illnesses.  Some people with schizophrenia do mostly fine if they take their medication and some can barely function at a minimal level.  Diagnosis is not based on some sort of blood test or other exact test.

 

I'm not against the idea of promoting acceptance and tolerance for differences, but continuing to change the name of these things doesn't equate to that IMO.

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The DSM-V draws the line between "disorder" and "normal variation" largely based on whether a person's ability to live day to day life and function in society is negatively impacted. I think this is a very good way of looking at it. You see this for some physical conditions as well, such as correcting vision to 20/20. A person with less than 20/20 vision is not blind, but does have more difficulty getting along in modern society because the technological world is built on the assumption that almost everyone has 20/20 vision. A person with better than 20/20 vision just gets ignored, because that doesn't require accommodation or modifications to get by. A person with less than 20/20 vision needs glasses, contacts, or corrective surgery to maximize quality of life and ability to function.

 

Part of the problem is that modern society makes demands on our brains that human existence didn't for most of our history. It also doesn't make demands that it used to, in other ways. Not everyone adapts equally as well.

 

Yes, I think that's pretty practical as an approach.  Though I think we also would normally see a clear abnormality we can put our finger on as something other than normal variation.  If someone was born with what was clearly some developmental difference - maybe no toes or green skin - that caused no problem but was due to some genetic error or chemical exposure, we would be wrong to call that normal variation. 

 

Ability to get along really does insert a subjective element which people don't always seem to appreciate, as well   How we think about X defines how we classify it, whereas many people seem to think the opposite is the case.

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The DSM-V draws the line between "disorder" and "normal variation" largely based on whether a person's ability to live day to day life and function in society is negatively impacted. I think this is a very good way of looking at it. 

 

But then, according to the experience of the posters above, ADD would have to be qualified as a disorder because they describe that their ability to function is indeed negatively affected.

ETA: People above use language like "it pains them" to be like this - so there is clearly suffering associated. 

Edited by regentrude
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But if we pretend it's not like that, then it's not like that.  KWIM?   It's harmful to call something a dysfunction for something that just makes someone different.  And if that doesn't work, we will add the word special to convince you.  And if that doesn't work either, we'll form organizations that scream at people and call them hateful if they ask too many questions about it. 

 

Of course I get it.  Words are powerful and can hurt people, but why can't we instead learn that pretty much everyone has their disorders and issues and it's not something we should treat them like crud for? 

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I've seen a few places in this thread where mental illness is contrasted with physical illnesses. I would like to point out that mental illnesses *are* physical. They are just as physical as, say, pneumonia. The fact that they operate on the chemical level and in the brain, and hence are harder to observe than pneumonia, does not alter that physical nature.

 

I would not classify ADHD as a mental illness. Like mental illnesses, though, I'd say it has a physical cause, and treating it =/= giving in to laziness. The fact that one can, by extreme effort, overcome its effects does not mean that the original cause is not physical.

 

This.

 

As an example of the physical angle, I have a kid who has long had some significant attention and EF issues (undiagnosed) that recently improved dramatically as we began to treat his immune deficiency.  This was unexpected, or at least I thought the causal chain was a little bit different.

 

One thing that bugs me is a reluctance on the part of some doctors to dig further into the causes.  Sometimes I think they're just guessing on what the particular imbalances might be while rarely considering possible roots further up the causal chain.  I feel a bit like we're in the dark ages or that medicine isn't as advanced as some docs like to think.  If we ask why there is, say, a chemical imbalance of neurotransmitters, we will be met with some version of "no one knows."

 

Genetically, one parent in our home has dyslexia.  That means approximately half of our kids will/should have it.

 

Unfortunately, there isn't a single "dyslexia gene" that would set up those types of simple odds, even though there may well be a genetic basis...  there might be many, many SNPs involved.  And that's just the genes, not even getting into the can of worms of environmental effects on the gene expression, i.e. epigenetics.

Edited by wapiti
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This gets very close to the point I'd like to make.

 

I've seen a few places in this thread where mental illness is contrasted with physical illnesses. I would like to point out that mental illnesses *are* physical. They are just as physical as, say, pneumonia. The fact that they operate on the chemical level and in the brain, and hence are harder to observe than pneumonia, does not alter that physical nature.

 

 

 

Yeah, as if a mental illness is some sort of nebulous thing or caused by being controlled by some negative outside force or spirit. 

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For those saying that meds helped your family members think more clearly, I was under the impression that they help almost everyone, ADHD or not, focus better, hence college students buying "Vitamin R."

 

No, this is not how stimulant ADHD medications work. An ADHD brain actually responds differently to stimulants than a neurotypical brain. a non-ADHD person can use stimulants to pull and all-nighter. It won't actually improve their focus, but probably make it worse, much like drinking too much coffee does.

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For those saying that meds helped your family members think more clearly, I was under the impression that they help almost everyone, ADHD or not, focus better, hence college students buying "Vitamin R."

  

I thought for those who don't have ADD/ADHD the meds give them a lot of energy.

 

 

 

 

Haven't researched, but I, too, thought it was the extra energy and not necessarily the ability to focus better. They're like a super-jolt of caffeine. That's what I've heard.

 

Also, I meant to quote, I agree that meds don't take away ADHD entirely, but before they wear off in the evening, they can do remarkable things. My son does have some EF issues as well as the ADHD, but when he's on the meds, it's much, much easier for him to get things done. By 4:00, he starts to struggle. But at least during prime school time, he can focus and learn.

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I suppose I didn't answer your question. No,I don't label ADD symptoms as laziness. I did until I married my husband and lived with him for a year and realized he truly couldn't help it. That he was just as frustrated as I was. I then tried to stop judging, learn more, understand more, draw more boundaries, set clearer expectations, and offer more grace.

 

Did this feel like parenting?  

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I have a DS who has ADHD behaviors.  We will never get him a label or (god forbid) meds; it is mostly manageable, esp. with homeschooling.

 

But you're running the risk that he's going to self-label as lazy (or bad, or stupid). Is that really better than having a helpful label that can get him accommodations when he goes to college or gets a job? (After all, he won't be homeschooling forever, will he?)

 

(Accommodation doesn't have to mean medicine, btw, but if if medicine can help him I certainly don't see why you say "god forbid". You would give him medicine if he had pneumonia, or schizophrenia, or OCD, or strep throat, so why is this different?)

 

I do not have sensory issues (the opposite, I don't have refined senses, DH can sense things I cannot)

 

That can also count as "sensory issues" if you are significantly less sensitive than the norm and this affects your life.

 

Of course, I don't know if this is the case for you, I'm just trying to clarify what seems to be a misunderstanding.

 

I don't want to fix them, exactly.  I am okay with me.

 

That's absolutely terrific, and no sarcasm. I'm a huge fan of the concept of neurodiversity.

 

But other people do benefit from being explicitly taught coping skills, or getting explicit accommodations in work or school, or even taking medicine. (And of course, you can be happy with who you are and also get accommodations or take medicine or whatever. It's not an either/or.)

Edited by Tanaqui
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I have a DS who has ADHD behaviors.  We will never get him a label or (god forbid) meds; it is mostly manageable, esp. with homeschooling.

 

You might want to rethink this approach when you are releasing your son from the home school into the greater world, for example college. He might greatly benefit from a formal diagnosis, even if he chooses not to be medicated, because he will receive accommodations at college. Unless his symptoms are so mild that by adult age he has developed effective coping strategies to have executive functioning at a high level - i.e. is able to manage a complex schedule without forgetting assignments, due dates, appointments, able to manage his time and work load, plan ahead and stick to the plan, etc.

Edited by regentrude
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well, other people suggest I am choosing

While I do not have ADHD/ADD, I did technically choose to underperform academically. I could have gotten straight As but I chose to spend study time on other pursuits. I didn't need the scholarships so I didn't put in the hours. So I was academically lazy in a way.

 

I have friends with ADHD and ADD teens. Their choice is different. One teen has to choose how to expend all his/her excess energy so he/she can study. I know the ADHD girl choose hours of tennis daily, the boy does a lot of climbing. The ADD teen I know could come across as lazy/slacker but he is not.

 

Then I have friends who are hardworking employees but need someone to plan their schedule. For example someone working as a delivery/shuttle driver. The person get the route details and he follows accordingly. One of my former secretary has time management issues which was why she did the clerical part and I get the non-clerical portion of an executive secretary's job. The executive secretary job actually ask for bachelor's and preferably mba because there is lots of project management work. My younger boy lag my older in time management ability, but it does not cause him distress like it cause my former secretary. It is like mild EF issues that a smart phone reminder and planner app takes care of, and someone who is still having trouble even with planner and reminder (physical and electronic).

 

My dad and brother have some EF issues from toddler to adulthood and both picked and thrived in structured jobs. Just EF won't have gotten them a ADD diagnosis. My DS10 was evaluated and is only weak at the EF part of the DSM criteria and compare to age peers isn't much weaker. So when it comes to labels, it does come down to where it falls on a scale.

 

A friend was inpatient a few times for depression while another was inpatient as well as on suicide watch. The degree of depression is so varied, and unlike adhd/add depression swings faster to the deep end without warning.

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Unfortunately, there isn't a single "dyslexia gene" that would set up those types of simple odds, even though there may well be a genetic basis...  there might be many, many SNPs involved.  And that's just the genes, not even getting into the can of worms of environmental effects on the gene expression, i.e. epigenetics.

 

An aside - while this is true (no one gene) there are those who believe it is essentially an inherited brain - because they've proven the dyslexic brain is different - it not only works differently, it's actually differently shaped/sized as in each side is equal size which is different than neurotypicals.  Or at least that is what I've heard from a speaker that I would trust.  I am open to reading other studies. :)  Some limited studies are showing parents who are dyslexic have about half of their kids present with the same tendencies to have difficulties: http://www.dys-add.com/resources/RecentResearch/PreschoolPredictors.pdf    ;)

Edited by BlsdMama
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An aside - while this is true (no one gene) there are those who believe it is essentially an inherited brain - because they've proven the dyslexic brain is different - it not only works differently, it's actually differently shaped/sized as in each side is equal size which is different than neurotypicals.  Or at least that is what I've heard from a speaker that I would trust.  I am open to reading other studies. :)  Some limited studies are showing parents who are dyslexic have about half of their kids present with the same tendencies to have difficulties: http://www.dys-add.com/resources/RecentResearch/PreschoolPredictors.pdf     ;)

 

I believe the Eides wrote a bit about the brain structure, something about mini-columns IIRC.  I don't doubt them, but it seems to me that there's much more involved than simply structure and in my view, the genetic tendencies may go way beyond structure itself and into areas where genetic expression is affected by the individual environment (i.e. involving bodily processes).  I don't have anything to cite on this; this is just my own perspective.

 

I've been told that one of my kids, who is not dyslexic, is a dyslexic processor (not a technical term) in that he has a lot of dyslexic strengths that the Eides describe but without the weaknesses that are hallmarks of a dyslexia diagnosis (at least as I currently understand the term of art to be currently used by psychs), e.g. no phonemic issues, etc.  Slow processing speed/a little dysgraphic-ish is about the closest symptoms he currently has now that he's a teen and those may be going away too.  He's my kid with attention stuff that recently got fixed via an unexpected route, and I hope and pray that these straight-As stick around.

 

Connecting to the ADHD topic, while big picture (LOL) perspectives can be useful, I think it's important to recognize where details differ between individuals and the incredibly vast lack of understanding in current scientific knowledge.  Yesterday I came across a Chinese saying that hit home for me, something like "one disease, many causes; One cause, many diseases"

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You might want to rethink this approach when you are releasing your son from the home school into the greater world, for example college. He might greatly benefit from a formal diagnosis, even if he chooses not to be medicated, because he will receive accommodations at college. Unless his symptoms are so mild that by adult age he has developed effective coping strategies to have executive functioning at a high level - i.e. is able to manage a complex schedule without forgetting assignments, due dates, appointments, able to manage his time and work load, plan ahead and stick to the plan, etc.

 

I agree 100%.

 

I'm not sure I would have even finished high school without the label, meds, and accommodations. I am so grateful my parents weren't anti-labels/meds. They didn't jump into it lightly, and were shocked by the diagnosis. (Quite a long time ago before more awareness about the condition.) But they were glad for anything that would help me.

 

 

And regarding the poster who said: "I have a DS who has ADHD behaviors.  We will never get him a label or (god forbid) meds; it is mostly manageable, esp. with homeschooling."

I agree that homeschooling helps manage some aspects of it. I suspect some kids wouldn't get a diagnosis if they were not in a classroom making demands that some kids are just not meant to meet. But I don't think homeschooling automatically means not needing a diagnosis or treatment (which may not always include meds) and I also don't take it for granted that we can always homeschool. I'd like to but I can't predict the future.

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Did this feel like parenting?  

 

No.  What I was doing before (and sometimes fall into) felt like parenting. When I feel like I'm parenting him, I stop and reevaluate.

 

Here's an example. DH has to sign a time card every day he works.  Has to be done. The fact that has to be done, and that hasn't changed in 5 years, is not sufficient for him to remember to do it on time. He's gotten dinged for it.  He's had to take extra training because of it.  He's been written up for it.

 

He asked me to remind him daily. I told him no. Instead, there is a lady at work who reminds him daily. I already provide significant EF support to him, and I wasn't willing to take on more. He understood and found a different solution.

 

I learned that anytime I found myself saying (to myself) "why can't you just..."  Well of course he can't "just." I can. It comes easily and naturally to me.  It doesn't to him.

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But you're running the risk that he's going to self-label as lazy (or bad, or stupid). Is that really better than having a helpful label that can get him accommodations when he goes to college or gets a job? (After all, he won't be homeschooling forever, will he?)

 

(Accommodation doesn't have to mean medicine, btw, but if if medicine can help him I certainly don't see why you say "god forbid". You would give him medicine if he had pneumonia, or schizophrenia, or OCD, or strep throat, so why is this different?)

 

 

That can also count as "sensory issues" if you are significantly less sensitive than the norm and this affects your life.

 

Of course, I don't know if this is the case for you, I'm just trying to clarify what seems to be a misunderstanding.

 

 

That's absolutely terrific, and no sarcasm. I'm a huge fan of the concept of neurodiversity.

 

But other people do benefit from being explicitly taught coping skills, or getting explicit accommodations in work or school, or even taking medicine. (And of course, you can be happy with who you are and also get accommodations or take medicine or whatever. It's not an either/or.)

 

 

You might want to rethink this approach when you are releasing your son from the home school into the greater world, for example college. He might greatly benefit from a formal diagnosis, even if he chooses not to be medicated, because he will receive accommodations at college. Unless his symptoms are so mild that by adult age he has developed effective coping strategies to have executive functioning at a high level - i.e. is able to manage a complex schedule without forgetting assignments, due dates, appointments, able to manage his time and work load, plan ahead and stick to the plan, etc.

 

Lots of wisdom in these two posts!

 

Kids get labeled, whether we want them to or not.   I'd rather have my kid labeled as ADHD/Learning Disabled than lazy, stupid, slow...   

 

We first had our kid evaluated at age 8.  He was so relieved then the doctor told him he had some things that hindered his learning.  "I thought I was just stupid."  

 

We tried a few things to mitigate the effects of ADHD.  Hours of neurofeedback sessions, among other things.  Accommodations within the homeschool.    But then around age 15 he got weirdly sick, and in the course of trying to figure things out we had to see a neurologist.  This guy had a lot of background and education in ADHD, and he is the one who told us that high-school-aged kids with untreated ADHD were likely to get into a downward spiral of poor academics, low self-esteem, depression, etc.   So, we decided to try medication.  We had to fiddle with meds and dosages but right from the start it was like a new world for him.  He was so happy not to have all the noise in his head.  

 

If that's the easy way out (so insulting, though I know it wasn't meant to be), I'll let him take it.   It just puts him closer to the same footing as other people.  Not ON the same footing, but not quite so far below.   

Edited by marbel
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Maybe this is a stupid question, and I hope nobody is offended: but what is the difference between "illness" and "physical functioning difference that requires medication to function normally"?

How is this different from depression where the brain functions differently due to chemical imbalance and requires medication to restore normal function? (ETA: Many artists found that their depressive or bipolar conditions vital for creating art, and some have refused treatment for that reason - in some cases with fatal consequences)

 

Does this really go beyond semantics?

I personally think the only reason semantics matter is because of the stigma attached to treating it.

 

Any other illness, diabetes for example, would be treated fully. Diet, medication,and lifestyle adjustments (if needed) would be utilized in combination.

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there is more to it.

I can do things for my health, that would otherwise seem extremely subtle - that completely change my functionality.  (it's a balance beam though.)

instead of feeling like I am "forcing" (or dragging) myself to be productive - I just am.  no thought whatsoever.

 

add/adhd =/= lazy

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I've considered myself lazy for, oh, decades anyway.  I have a tendency to forget things, I don't do many things (esp. paperwork) until the last minute, I am messy, my purse is one large bag full of whatever I felt like putting in there, I have to actively combat having a messy house.  I don't remember to put a new roll of toilet paper on the toilet paper thinger.  ETA: I could list 100 more things here.  I leave the laundry in the washer.  I never fold laundry.  I cannot maintain long distance friendships as I just can't make myself send letters or emails regularly.  I sign up for things and then back out (am getting better at this).  I chew with my mouth open.  I don't bring in the empty trash cans for days after trash day.  etc etc.

 

 

 

As someone who is not ADD but has an ADD daughter, this is one of the hardest things for me to understand.  She often says she "forgot" to do something that I just don't understand can be forgotten.  It has always seemed like an excuse to me.

 

For example, you say... 

I don't remember to put a new roll of toilet paper on the toilet paper thinger.

 

 How is that "not remembering"?  You use the toilet paper.  It is empty.  Don't you only "forget" because you don't take the time to do it at that moment, instead thinking to do it at some later date?  Which really is laziness?  I'm not trying to be mean here, I myself can be incredibly lazy at times.  But I don't see how it's not laziness but instead ADD.

 

For example, I texted DD yesterday to pick something up from her school's office.  It was during a free period.  She could have gone and done it at the time I texted her.  She came home without the something and said, "sorry, I forgot."  She has often said I shouldn't get mad at her for just forgetting things sometimes because it is not on purpose.  I agree with that.  But choosing not to do something when you can and then forgetting it later is a different deal.

 

I have worked very hard over the last several years raising this child to be more understanding of her challenges.  But sometimes yes, it does seem like laziness.

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Does ADHD = Lazy?  No.  Do many think so?  Yes.

 

Let me share a story, in case it helps OP.

 

I have an adult friend.  All of her life she was labeled as "scatter brained", "lazy", "unfocused", etc.  It severely affected her self-esteem.  She is very bright but struggled in school to get through assignments, remember to turn things in, keep up with her belongings, get anywhere on time, etc.  Parents told her to try harder, school told her to stop being so lazy.  She felt very deffective.

 

She got married and she and her husband started having some issues in their marriage because she was so "scatter brained".  A traumatic episode (unrelated to her issues with focus and organization) occurred that caused her to need physical therapy and to go into a deep depression.  During the course of that year of being treated physically and mentally her psychologist asked if she had ever looked into ADHD.  She had not.  The psychologist put her through a battery of tests and coordinated those tests with her GP to see if there were underlying imbalances in her health that were not being addressed.  After running through those tests the GP and the psychologist agreed that the woman probably ADHD.

 

The psychologist asked the woman to give her a running commentary of what she was thinking from moment to moment.  The woman gave a stream of consciousness blow by blow of the tons of thoughts running through her head at any given second.  The psychologist pointed out that most people can push less important thoughts to the side and focus on just one or two things at a time.  The woman couldn't even picture what that might be like.  It seemed inefficient to her.  The psychologist asked her to do a trial of a very low dose stimulant, and to consider a program of behavior therapy coupled with medication.  The woman agreed to try the low dose stimulant.  She took it at the office and drove home.  She hopped in the shower.  While she was in the shower her thoughts changed.  She was listening to the water falling and realized that was all she was listening to.  No other thoughts were really intruding.  The whole world had slowed down.  She was terrified.  She leaped out of the shower and ran to the phone.  She called the psychologist sobbing and told her the psychologist had broken her brain.  

 

Fast forward to several years later, when I met her.  She said it took time to get used to focusing on one thought at a time but it changed her world.  Knowing and understanding her brain helped 1000%.   Her functionality improved tremendously.  She no longer saw herself as defective and stupid and scatter brained.  During the day, when she needs to focus on her work duties and taking care of getting the kids to and from school and the other needs of her family, medication absolutely keeps her on task much more successfully, along with a much more understanding husband who now knows how to provide the external structure she needs to function well on a daily basis.  And at night, when she is working on creative projects and the meds have worn off she can let her mind leap in a thousand different directions, creating away.  The meds don't "fix" her but they help her function in a very ADHD unfriendly world.  But she also can tap into her ADHD strengths when she is not on her meds.

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Lots of wisdom in these two posts!

 

Kids get labeled, whether we want them to or not.   I'd rather have my kid labeled as ADHD/Learning Disabled than lazy, stupid, slow...   

 

We first had our kid evaluated at age 8.  He was so relieved then the doctor told him he had some things that hindered his learning.  "I thought I was just stupid."  

 

We tried a few things to mitigate the effects of ADHD.  Hours of neurofeedback sessions, among other things.  Accommodations within the homeschool.    But then around age 15 he got weirdly sick, and in the course of trying to figure things out we had to see a neurologist.  This guy had a lot of background and education in ADHD, and he is the one who told us that high-school-aged kids with untreated ADHD were likely to get into a downward spiral of poor academics, low self-esteem, depression, etc.   So, we decided to try medication.  We had to fiddle with meds and dosages but right from the start it was like a new world for him.  He was so happy not to have all the noise in his head.  

 

If that's the easy way out (so insulting, though I know it wasn't meant to be), I'll let him take it.   It just puts him closer to the same footing as other people.  Not ON the same footing, but not quite so far below.   

 

this.

 

with today's diagnositic standards - I would probably have been formally diagnosed asd, definitely capd. 

 

instead - I was treated by most teachers (not to mention fellow classmates) as lazy, slow, stupid .. . and I thought I was.  I'm not.

 

I got formal diagnosis for dudeling - I was sick of how people treated him (including extended family members.) because all they saw was an extremely difficult child.  oh, and I was a bad mother for not being a harsher disciplinarian about stuff.   having diagnosis - changed their attitudes and how they treated him.  I even get to hear from mil about how great I am with him.

 

If there's something that will help (which can be a challenge to find) - you bet it should be utilized.  this is a child's life we're talking about.  no one would recommend someone with cancer not receive treatment, why should this be different?

 

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As someone who is not ADD but has an ADD daughter, this is one of the hardest things for me to understand.  She often says she "forgot" to do something that I just don't understand can be forgotten.  It has always seemed like an excuse to me.

 

For example, you say... 

I don't remember to put a new roll of toilet paper on the toilet paper thinger.

 

 How is that "not remembering"?  You use the toilet paper.  It is empty.  Don't you only "forget" because you don't take the time to do it at that moment, instead thinking to do it at some later date?  Which really is laziness?  I'm not trying to be mean here, I myself can be incredibly lazy at times.  But I don't see how it's not laziness but instead ADD.

 

For example, I texted DD yesterday to pick something up from her school's office.  It was during a free period.  She could have gone and done it at the time I texted her.  She came home without the something and said, "sorry, I forgot."  She has often said I shouldn't get mad at her for just forgetting things sometimes because it is not on purpose.  I agree with that.  But choosing not to do something when you can and then forgetting it later is a different deal.

 

I have worked very hard over the last several years raising this child to be more understanding of her challenges.  But sometimes yes, it does seem like laziness.

 

I completely get the toilet paper example.  I've not been diagnosed with ADHD but I can see myself doing that.

 

- use up the last of the tp.

 

- think that I need to get a new roll.

 

- clean up, wash hands, etc.

 

- maybe get distracted by straightening up the bathroom counter, or -

 

- leave the room, and go on to the next thing, forgetting to get the tp.

 

To me that is not laziness, especially if I'm the one most likely to use that bathroom next and be pretty annoyed by the lack of tp.

 

That is distractedness.  

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As someone who is not ADD but has an ADD daughter, this is one of the hardest things for me to understand.  She often says she "forgot" to do something that I just don't understand can be forgotten.  It has always seemed like an excuse to me.

 

For example, you say... 

I don't remember to put a new roll of toilet paper on the toilet paper thinger.

 

 How is that "not remembering"?  You use the toilet paper.  It is empty.  Don't you only "forget" because you don't take the time to do it at that moment, instead thinking to do it at some later date?  Which really is laziness?  I'm not trying to be mean here, I myself can be incredibly lazy at times.  But I don't see how it's not laziness but instead ADD.

 

For example, I texted DD yesterday to pick something up from her school's office.  It was during a free period.  She could have gone and done it at the time I texted her.  She came home without the something and said, "sorry, I forgot."  She has often said I shouldn't get mad at her for just forgetting things sometimes because it is not on purpose.  I agree with that.  But choosing not to do something when you can and then forgetting it later is a different deal.

 

I have worked very hard over the last several years raising this child to be more understanding of her challenges.  But sometimes yes, it does seem like laziness.

Maybe this will help a little...although I don't know exactly what is going on with your particular child, this is what frequently happens with my brain and with the brain of one my kids and with DH...

 

She uses the toilet paper and the paper is now out.  She thinks she needs to change out the paper but right after that a zillion other thoughts crowd into her brain and the thought that she needs to change out the paper is now gone.  By the time she is out of the bathroom it is as if the thought never existed in the first place.  She is not deliberately refusing to change the toilet paper.  The need just got shoved aside as her brain moved on rapidly to other things, not out of laziness but because her brain just works differently than yours.

 

You text her to pick up something from the office.  She acknowledges your text and fully intends to go to the office but maybe she is doing something else right at that moment.  She plans to do it right after whatever she was doing.  Only by the time she finishes whatever she was doing, even if it was only for a few seconds, her mind is now filled with a ton of other thoughts and your request is simply gone.

 

This isn't laziness as I see it.  This is a difference in neurological processing that can cause some serious issues with Executive Function (the part of the brain that says I need to do something and then actually executes that need).

 

Please read Smart but Scattered and ADD Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life to hopefully get a better idea of the world of an ADHD brain and how to help with functionality.  OP, it might help you, too. 

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As someone who is not ADD but has an ADD daughter, this is one of the hardest things for me to understand. She often says she "forgot" to do something that I just don't understand can be forgotten. It has always seemed like an excuse to me.

 

For example, you say...

I don't remember to put a new roll of toilet paper on the toilet paper thinger.

 

How is that "not remembering"? You use the toilet paper. It is empty. Don't you only "forget" because you don't take the time to do it at that moment, instead thinking to do it at some later date? Which really is laziness? I'm not trying to be mean here, I myself can be incredibly lazy at times. But I don't see how it's not laziness but instead ADD.

 

For example, I texted DD yesterday to pick something up from her school's office. It was during a free period. She could have gone and done it at the time I texted her. She came home without the something and said, "sorry, I forgot." She has often said I shouldn't get mad at her for just forgetting things sometimes because it is not on purpose. I agree with that. But choosing not to do something when you can and then forgetting it later is a different deal.

 

I have worked very hard over the last several years raising this child to be more understanding of her challenges. But sometimes yes, it does seem like laziness.

If you replace "I forgot x" with "my brain didn't notice or hold onto x long enough for me to do it" you'd maybe have a more accurate idea of what happens in an ADHD brain. I can use up the last of the toilet paper roll without really noting that fact, or maybe noting it but so fleetingly that the next instant it is gone from my mind. You could tell me on the phone to pick something up from the office and I can agree, but by the time I hang up the thought of the thing needing to be picked up has vanished without a trace.

 

Your brain doesn't do this. It's a normally functioning brain that notices and hangs onto stuff long enough for you to follow through.

 

Mine doesn't reliably do that. The forgetting--the thought slipping away--is not a choice.

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If you replace "I forgot x" with "my brain didn't notice or hold onto x long enough for me to do it" you'd maybe have a more accurate idea of what happens in an ADHD brain. I can use up the last of the toilet paper roll without really noting that fact, or maybe noting it but so fleetingly that the next instant it is gone from my mind. You could tell me on the phone to pick something up from the office and I can agree, but by the time I hang up the thought of the thing needing to be picked up has vanished without a trace.

 

Your brain doesn't do this. It's a normally functioning brain that notices and hangs onto stuff long enough for you to follow through.

 

Mine doesnt reliably do that. The forgetting--the thought slipping away--is not a choice.

Liking wasn't enough.

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As someone who is not ADD but has an ADD daughter, this is one of the hardest things for me to understand.  She often says she "forgot" to do something that I just don't understand can be forgotten.  It has always seemed like an excuse to me.

 

For example, you say... 

I don't remember to put a new roll of toilet paper on the toilet paper thinger.

 

 How is that "not remembering"?  You use the toilet paper.  It is empty.  Don't you only "forget" because you don't take the time to do it at that moment, instead thinking to do it at some later date?  Which really is laziness?  I'm not trying to be mean here, I myself can be incredibly lazy at times.  But I don't see how it's not laziness but instead ADD.

 

For example, I texted DD yesterday to pick something up from her school's office.  It was during a free period.  She could have gone and done it at the time I texted her.  She came home without the something and said, "sorry, I forgot."  She has often said I shouldn't get mad at her for just forgetting things sometimes because it is not on purpose.  I agree with that.  But choosing not to do something when you can and then forgetting it later is a different deal.

 

I have worked very hard over the last several years raising this child to be more understanding of her challenges.  But sometimes yes, it does seem like laziness.

 

I use the last of the toilet paper and notice that it's the end and I need to replace it so I use that TP to wipe, pull up my undies, flush, etc.  By the time I've wiped, I've already forgotten that I needed to replace the TP.

 

This doesn't happen to me anymore, as this was something I tried extremely hard to remedy and I've finally mastered it.  I now replace the TP before I do anything else.  I take off the old roll (with the last bit of TP) and put the new one on before taking off the last of the old TP & wiping.

 

Believe me, it's a thing and not laziness.  Even if it sounds ridiculous to you.

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As someone who is not ADD but has an ADD daughter, this is one of the hardest things for me to understand.  She often says she "forgot" to do something that I just don't understand can be forgotten.  It has always seemed like an excuse to me.

 

For example, you say... 

I don't remember to put a new roll of toilet paper on the toilet paper thinger.

 

 How is that "not remembering"?  You use the toilet paper.  It is empty.  Don't you only "forget" because you don't take the time to do it at that moment, instead thinking to do it at some later date?  Which really is laziness?  I'm not trying to be mean here, I myself can be incredibly lazy at times.  But I don't see how it's not laziness but instead ADD.

 

For example, I texted DD yesterday to pick something up from her school's office.  It was during a free period.  She could have gone and done it at the time I texted her.  She came home without the something and said, "sorry, I forgot."  She has often said I shouldn't get mad at her for just forgetting things sometimes because it is not on purpose.  I agree with that.  But choosing not to do something when you can and then forgetting it later is a different deal.

 

I have worked very hard over the last several years raising this child to be more understanding of her challenges.  But sometimes yes, it does seem like laziness.

 

for someone who is not dealing with adhd - it's one step to say "oh, the toilet paper is out, need to replace it." wham, it's done.

 

for  someone who DOES have adhd - it's "there is the toilet paper.  the roll is out.  I should take it off and put the empty roll in the garbage,  then go to the cupboard and get a new one.  then i should go back to the toilet paper holder and put the new one on it.  I will need __ amount of energy to do all those steps, and I currently only have__ amount of energy.  I don't need the toilet paper right now, and I don't have the energy to replace it right now.  I will do it when I need it".

 

I had to *force* myself to put the roll on. I thought every one had to "force* themselves  to do all  the things  they did in a day - so I was therefore lazy.  I later learned, most people just "do", they have no conception of what it is like to have to "force" themselves to do basic things.

 

I have a genetic mutation that is (one of many) linked to asd and adhd, etc.  when I started treating that for other reasons - the changes in how I functioned were noticeable. and dramatic.

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If you replace "I forgot x" with "my brain didn't notice or hold onto x long enough for me to do it" you'd maybe have a more accurate idea of what happens in an ADHD brain. I can use up the last of the toilet paper roll without really noting that fact, or maybe noting it but so fleetingly that the next instant it is gone from my mind. You could tell me on the phone to pick something up from the office and I can agree, but by the time I hang up the thought of the thing needing to be picked up has vanished without a trace.

 

Your brain doesn't do this. It's a normally functioning brain that notices and hangs onto stuff long enough for you to follow through.

 

Mine doesnt reliably do that. The forgetting--the thought slipping away--is not a choice.

 

I understand the forgetting. But, to take the tp example: after that happened the second time, would one then not come up with a long term strategy to address the problem? Such as stashing an entire package of tp in each bathroom and replacing it regularly, so that one does not have to think about replacing tp on a daily basis?

Or writing down phone reminders immediately on one's hand?

I get the forgetting, but don't people develop compensation strategies so they can function? Or can't they do that either?

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I understand the forgetting. But, to take the tp example: after that happened the second time, would one then not come up with a long term strategy to address the problem? Such as stashing an entire package of tp in each bathroom and replacing it regularly, so that one does not have to think about replacing tp on a daily basis?

Or writing down phone reminders immediately on one's hand?

I get the forgetting, but don't people develop compensation strategies so they can function? Or can't they do that either?

 

DH usually develops coping mechanisms *for stuff that has high enough negative consequences.* TP =/= one of those things.

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for someone who is not dealing with adhd - it's one step to say "oh, the toilet paper is out, need to replace it." wham, it's done.

 

for  someone who DOES have adhd - it's "there is the toilet paper.  the roll is out.  I should take it off and put the empty roll in the garbage,  then go to the cupboard and get a new one.  then i should go back to the toilet paper holder and put the new one on it.  I will need __ amount of energy to do all those steps, and I currently only have__ amount of energy.  I don't need the toilet paper right now, and I don't have the energy to replace it right now.  I will do it when I need it".

 

I had to *force* myself to put the roll on. I thought every one had to "force* themselves  to do all  the things  they did in a day - so I was therefore lazy.  I later learned, most people just "do", they have no conception of what it is like to have to "force" themselves to do basic things.

 

Could you explain this a bit more? Why does it cost you more energy? I thought the issue was distractedness and lots of different thoughts at once - how does having energy to do xyz comes into play? Thanks for taking the time, I am really trying to understand. I have students with ADHD and it is sometimes exasperating.

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here's an exercise for those who do not have adhd/related, but a child that does.

 

turn on heavy metal music -loud.  stand on one foot.  rub your tummy, pat your head, recite/read something complex - without stopping the other things.

 

and a video I think should be mandatory viewing for ALL parents/family members of a person with learning disabilities (adhd is - it intereferes with the ability to learn.)

richard lavoie's f.a.t. city workshops.  he makes teachers *feel* what it is like to have learning disabilities.

 

oh my.  all the emotions i felt the first time I saw that have come rushing back.  very overwhelming.

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I understand the forgetting. But, to take the tp example: after that happened the second time, would one then not come up with a long term strategy to address the problem? Such as stashing an entire package of tp in each bathroom and replacing it regularly, so that one does not have to think about replacing tp on a daily basis?

Or writing down phone reminders immediately on one's hand?

I get the forgetting, but don't people develop compensation strategies so they can function? Or can't they do that either?

 

Well, I've always stored the TP near enough the toilet that I can get a new roll without getting up, so it has never been a problem *for me* that I forgot.  I was able to find a solution by changing it IMMEDIATELY but it took a lot longer than twice and I was already 1/2 way there by storing it in a convenient place.

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Could you explain this a bit more? Why does it cost you more energy? I thought the issue was distractedness and lots of different thoughts at once - how does having energy to do xyz comes into play? Thanks for taking the time, I am really trying to understand. I have students with ADHD and it is sometimes exasperating.

 

You should try to find articles/books about how the ADHD brain works - I don't have any recommendations off-hand but I'm sure someone will.

 

It isn't energy in the way we normally think of energy, like being so tired you don't have the energy - it's different than that.  Part of my brain is not "awake enough" to be able to even organize the steps in my head for how to accomplish something.  I often get overwhelmed when I have to have the house clean for something.  Now, my house is never a wreck or embarassingly messy/dirty.  But, when I think of having to have it all done, I freeze or just kind-of wander around having difficulty staying with any one thought/action for very long.  I wish I were able to just clear my mind and be methodical, but it's difficult.  At these times it's even hard to just make a list.  This kind of thing happens all throughout the day, on a smaller scale.  I used this example because I think it's easier to see what I mean.

 

ETA:  As a parent with ADHD, even I get exasperated with my ADHD kids.  It *is* exasperating.

Edited by 8circles
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You should try to find articles/books about how the ADHD brain works - I don't have any recommendations off-hand but I'm sure someone will.

 

It isn't energy in the way we normally think of energy, like being so tired you don't have the energy - it's different than that.  Part of my brain is not "awake enough" to be able to even organize the steps in my head for how to accomplish something.  I often get overwhelmed when I have to have the house clean for something.  Now, my house is never a wreck or embarassingly messy/dirty.  But, when I think of having to have it all done, I freeze or just kind-of wander around having difficulty staying with any one thought/action for very long.  I wish I were able to just clear my mind and be methodical, but it's difficult.  At these times it's even hard to just make a list.  This kind of thing happens all throughout the day, on a smaller scale.  I used this example because I think it's easier to see what I mean.

 

ETA:  As a parent with ADHD, even I get exasperated with my ADHD kids.  It *is* exasperating.

 

Thanks for explaining. If it is not too personal a question: why would somebody who experiences this frustration every day NOT want pharmacological help?

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I understand the forgetting. But, to take the tp example: after that happened the second time, would one then not come up with a long term strategy to address the problem? Such as stashing an entire package of tp in each bathroom and replacing it regularly, so that one does not have to think about replacing tp on a daily basis?

Or writing down phone reminders immediately on one's hand?

I get the forgetting, but don't people develop compensation strategies so they can function? Or can't they do that either?

If you have never been organized and have always had tons of thoughts crowding your brain it can be exceedingly difficult to even strategize a better plan.  That is why I usually highly recommend reading books like Smart but Scattered for those with ADHD and those who live with someone with ADHD.  

 

I was once a pretty organized person.  I know what it is like to be organized and on top of things.  When, due to cancer, my brain got really "scattered" I knew how to help myself.  I started creating a ton of external scaffolding to keep me on task.  Since my own brain could no longer stay on task, I had to create ways for things outside my brain to help me stay on task.  BUT I already knew what staying organized felt like.  I already knew strategies to keep me on task.  

 

My DH and my kids did not even have a concept of how to do that.  For someone who has never been organized and not easily distracted it is not something that is easily "fixed".  And holding onto the thought long enough to implement a better plan can be nearly impossible.  They live in the moment that is happening right then.  If it is not NOW, it is gone.

 

That is where having someone else (who doesn't nag, judge or cut down) step in to help them put in external scaffolding, then help them to learn how to create that external scaffolding themselves, can be invaluable.  

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Thanks for explaining. If it is not too personal a question: why would somebody who experiences this frustration every day NOT want pharmacological help?

Many reasons.  Here are a few:  Because there can be serious side effects and because there is a stigma against meds and because sometimes due comorbid issues meds don't help or make things worse and because some people hate how it makes them feel.

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Could you explain this a bit more? Why does it cost you more energy? I thought the issue was distractedness and lots of different thoughts at once - how does having energy to do xyz comes into play? Thanks for taking the time, I am really trying to understand. I have students with ADHD and it is sometimes exasperating.

 

I don't know that I would have been diagnosed adhd (some, definitely not primary)

for me, part is distractedness (other things I would make overly complex.)  - in that 'it's not I have add, it's just oh look a bunny".  e.g. when I need to refill my shower dispenser, I've started throwing my scrubbie out of the shower on the floor as a reminder I need to deal with something in the shower.  or as soon as I've turned off the water - I've forgotten about it.  but then I get out, see the scrubbie, and know "oh, I need soap".  it's a visible reminder and is there until the scrubbie is put back.  unless I get distracted.  but the scrubbie is still there in the middle of the floor the next time I'm in the bathroom.

 

there is MENTAL energy required for everything we do.  things we do on autopilot - require very little energy.  however, for adhd brains - there is no such thing as autopilot.  basic things take more energy.

think about a child who is learning to read.  they look at a word.  they focus on a letter, then have to recognize what the letter is, then have to think about the sound that letter makes, then the next letter and the sound it makes - then what sound the two letters together make, etc. until they are through the whole word.

think about how fast that child is going to actually pronounce that one word.

as you learn to read - your brain automatically sees that word, knows what it is, and has moved on to the next two words with very little thought,   it's automatic.  it doesn't require energy, mental discipline or stamina.  you don't have to 'think' about it. you just "do".

the adhd brain - is still sounding out letters one at a time. it focuses on more steps.

because it's going step by step by step - it's really easy to just go look at bunny.

 

thinking takes energy. 

being able to ignore extraneous stimuli -takes ability to UNconsciously recognize what is worth paying attention to and what to just ignore.  my mother would tell me to "just ignore" stuff so often it was frustrating. - I *couldn't* ignore it.  I felt like there was something wrong with me because I was getting flak for not easily and naturally doing things to which they gave no thought.

 

people do that without thinking - as a PP mentioned in her friend's experience, the adhd brain - can't.

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Thanks for explaining. If it is not too personal a question: why would somebody who experiences this frustration every day NOT want pharmacological help?

 

DD does take medication. It helped tremendously.  But it doesn't last equally all day and she uses it mostly when doing schoolwork, etc.

 

To all who responded to my question... THANK YOU.  Really.  For responding and not flaming me.  I have tried and continue to try to understand this.  

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Thanks for explaining. If it is not too personal a question: why would somebody who experiences this frustration every day NOT want pharmacological help?

 

my ped handed them out with no thought.  it's a controlled substance - they're supposed to only rx 90 days at a time.  that's a real hassle to go in so often.  he'd do a year - and post date the rx.

my dd was mentioning the rules associated with its dispense - they've gotten tighter since 1ds took them.  he doesn't anymore.

then there are the side effects. lots.

 

2ds hated  them.  he is now biased against most drugs.  (he'll take cold meds.) 1ds did  find it helpful. (now, the genetic mutation is treated more directly, as opposed to a rx which is a band-aid.)

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