Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Son diagnoses mom: "You have a mild case of ADD."

He's probably right—I probably do have Attention Deficit Disorder.

That would explain why:
1. It always took me an inordinate amount of time to do my homework—I was always drifting off into daydreaming.
2. I still have to force myself to focus on my work and not to daydream.
3. I'm constantly losing my place in the siddur (prayer book), even when I'm davvening prayers that I know in my sleep.
4. It's so much easier for me to davven (pray) at home than in shul (synagogue)—if anyone is davvening loudly enough that I can hear him/her, it distracts me. (I wouldn't last 30 seconds in a traditional bet midrash [study hall], in which study partners study aloud. If I ever took a chevrusa [study partner], it would be strictly "Your place or mine?.")

What's ironic about this is that my son was talking about a different problem that I have: I can't remember spoken instructions, especially if they're more than about two steps long—I have to write them down. One of my best friends, who's in special ed., tells me that this may be a symptom of an Executive Function Deficit rather than ADD. (Executive Function, judging by the way she described it, is the ability to prioritize, organize, and track.) It might also be a symptom of being 56 and menopausal and having no short-term memory left to speak of. (Oy, don't ask. I'm at that "What was it that I was looking for?" stage. By the time I go from one room to the other, I've forgotten why I did so.) The only way to figure out whether what I have is Executive Function Deficit or short-term memory loss would be to compare my ability to retain spoken instructions 20 years ago to my ability to do so now. Unfortunately, I'm unable to make such a comparison, because—vu den (what else)?—I can't remember! [Insert roll-eyes emoticon here.]

Compensatory strategies are very handy. I'm petrified of driving, not because I'm that bad at it, but because I can't read maps (ADD—information-overload problem?), have no sense of direction, and wouldn't be able to follow instructions if—make that "when"—I got lost. So my girlfriend suggested that, if I ever have to rent a car without the Punster, I make sure to rent one with a GPS (global positioning satellite) device that will talk me through the travel instructions turn by turn. Great idea!

Interestingly enough, compensatory strategies sometimes benefit other persons in addition to the user. People with memories like that of Eliezer Hyrcanus (" . . . a cemented cistern that loses not a drop . . ." [Pirkei Avot (Verses/Ethics of the Fathers), chapter 2, verse 11]) tend to keep years worth of information in their heads—and to take all of that info with them when they leave a job, retire, or, unfortunately, pass away. People like me, on the other hand, keep tons of written records. I have records of just about every document I've ever typed, and "Office Manuals" (how-to files) for just about every temp. employer for whom I've worked for more than a few days.

But my pride and joy is the killer database of contacts that I've been working on since I first came to my current employer in December 2001. It's now up to over 400 entries! 'scuse me while I polish my medals. :)


Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann said...

I'm pretty sure i have ADD. As an adult, I'm pretty sure that it's not worth being tested and diagnosed at this point. But a lot of the things you described are issues for me. My students tease me because many of them have ADD and they see that I have it too. Unfortunately I'm not as organized as you and write notes on loose papers as well as other ineffective short tern techniques.
May G-d bless us all as we try to fulfil Chanoch LeNa'ar Al Pi Darcho - even for ourselves.

Thu Jul 07, 01:44:00 PM 2005  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

I'm lucky to be good at keeping records. On the other hand, it would be really nice to be able to multitask, and would probably help my career (such as it is).

Er, let me try to run that through the universal translator, both for me (of the limited Hebrew) and my readers (and please correct me if I'm wrong): Education of the child in accordance with his/her path?

If you haven't yet read my series on raising a child with disabilities, you might want to have a look. Start here, and read as much as you'd like:

While you're at it, I recommend that you check out Z's series on raising a child with autism, "When Something's Wrong," at http://www.matzahandmarinara.com/wp/

Thu Jul 07, 11:33:00 PM 2005  

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