Friday, August 7, 2015

ADD/ADHD - After the many posts regarding attention disorders, I thought I’d share my story.

Have any of you ever began reading something, read a chapter or two, every word... slowly, and carefully?  Literally not being able to remember any of what you just read, not being able to picture what you are reading in your mind? Or being so intrigued as to what was to come, you just had to read on, maybe reading the entire book in one sitting!?  Well, that is the easiest way for me to explain what I remember from childhood in just about every activity I had participated in.  I had a very hard time becoming engaged, however, if the activity was something that thoroughly caught my interest, it became an obsession.  It was hard to not think about those activities when engaging in the latter (like schoolwork), and life became only about those activities.

At a young age my parents noticed this, and initially believed I was just a “normal, lazy” kid, who loved sports and extreme sports, comic books, etc.  But, when my grades were slipping, teachers took notice of my ease of distraction, parents noticing my lack of care for homework, and grades in general; they thought it would be wise to speak with my doctor.  As the book states, “after a short office visit”, I was diagnosed with ADD.  However, this diagnosis came from a professional therapist, not my primary care provider, but I was diagnosed after a series of tests and questionings.  Now, the tests weren’t brain scans, or blood work, they were little games of a sort: eye/hand, temperament/concentration/memory type games. I slightly remember one in particular which was an anticipation and patience test.  I was given a little clicky-button type thing, and told to click it when a red X appeared on the screen.  Numerous letters and numbers appeared, in all different colors.  The score was kept boldly at the top of the screen; every wrong click was a deduction in points.  I failed it miserably, granted I don’t know if this test can prove attention disorders or not, but it surely had my blood pressure raised. 

I was prescribed drugs and weekly therapy visits.  The drugs were altered and changed according to my acceptance and performance level.  This combination of therapy enabled me to become an average student, and focus more on balancing the activities that interested me, with the activities that would enable me to succeed.  Having an inability to focus on a given task is hard and extremely discouraging for a child, only creating less interest in said task.  I do not believe that attention disorders go away as one ages and matures, but I do believe that individuals develop coping mechanism, and use them toward their advantage, enabling these people to become great leaders of tomorrow.  

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