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Your Top Tips And Success Stories (Adults)

The following are contributions received by email.
Click on these links to go to the stories or just scroll down the page



"I got the student of the year award"

"John's weekly timetable and task circle"

"Persons with ADHD are Do-ers"

"adhd and achievement,"

"The A.D.D. Blues,"

"i have come through so much tuffer!"

"adhd has not stopped me from acheiving my dreams"

"My ADD Story"

"I have made straight A's in college recently"

"I didn't think that I'd make it through my GCSEs but I did"

"The Unix Gateway Project"

"A surprising cure for A.D.D."

"I contend we are all normal "

"In a band and just releasing our first cd."

"Back at University"

"A Note of Encouragement to ADDers"

"I am an ADHD adult"

"I'm just excited to know that I'm not stupid, I'm not alone, and that this IS a blessing"

"ADD in Law School"

"Just Written a Book"

"I Wish I Had Known About ADD When I Was At School"

"This is a Blessing"

"It inspired me to succeed"

"Now, I am at university "

"ADHD is a blessing to me"

"ADD is not a handicap. It is a gift"

"...he overcame his problems and is now a brilliant student."

"...any child with ADD just needs to be instructed accordingly and they to can accomplish anything they wish to."

"...just graduated from college as the 'Outstanding Student in the College of Education'"

"It is a God send for me"

"He is a biology major at the local college"

"I went on to win two scholorships"

"My creative spark returned"

"Today I'm a published writer"



"I got the student of the year award"

Hey I read your page and I found it so interesting. I'm a 22 year old who had suffered with ADHD all my life and been through everything you can imagine, through being violent and getting into trouble but at 18 I stopped and got kicked out then moved to llan went to plastering until last september but wasn't happy so decided to go to college to do health and social care. So I did and I've just finished my first year getting really good results thinking I wouldn't last and guess what I did and not just that I became the student rep for health and social care, got the best at work placement certificate and most important I got the student of the year award through out the health and social care sector :)

Geraint Shaw, Llangollen near Wrexham



"John's weekly timetable and task circle"

"Hi Simon, Maintaining structure in ones life is very important for a person with ADHD. It minimizes the chaos that may otherwise result. I felt that you may appreciate a blank copy of a time-timetable I use (click here to download). When the chart is filled out, colour-coding is important. Maybe it may help others.

Another thing I have found extremely useful is using what I call a 'Task Circle'. Imagine a large circle drawn in black marker pen. I write on blank business card sized pieces of card in black marker pen daily chores, goals, tasks to complete, ect. I place these around the rim of the circle. In the centre of the circle I have a business card on which is written ROUTINE, which is refering to the time-table (described above). Each day I choose 3 cards from the outer rim, and place them inside the circle above ROUTINE. Today as an example I have the 3 cards "WASH-UP", "CLOTHES AWAY", & "DE-SCALE SHOWER". By focusing on just three things (rather than an entire to-do list) it prevents my brain being fried, and I am more likely to achieve those things. Once the task is done it can be placed back on the outer rim (if it is a regular task), or thrown in the bin if it is a one-off task.

I just thought that this information may assist others.

Best Regards,

John"
Poole, Dorset, UK





"Persons with ADHD are Do-ers"

"Hi,

I just wanted to say that persons with ADHD are "Do-ers" rather than people who just sit back & take their time with a project. I know that once I get something to focus on EVERYTHING else "goes out the window". I put 100% into that one thing.

As an example, there is a Christian event at Wembley Stadium on the 29th of September. My local Christian radio station wanted to arrange 1 single coach to take people there, but they only got it half filled, and therefore it was going to be cancelled. I took it on myself to fill up those seats, and now there are 3 coaches going. In fact there may be a 4th.

It goes to show that when us persons with ADHD are focused on something, we can achieve FAR MORE than non-adders. The important thing is making sure that the focus is positive.

Best Regards,

John"
Poole, Dorset, UK



"adhd and achievement"

"Hi,

I am 40 years old. I have spent the past 5 years trying to get a diagnosis from someone I trust. I have seen a Psychiatrist who thought I had bipolar, doctors who gave me valium, antidepressants etc, others who thought my behaviour was drugs causing my problems. I knew there was something different about me for as long as I can remember well before any psychoactive chemical entered by body - my Dad believes it was from 5 yrs old I had ADHD (he should know it was his side of the family I inherited ADHD). I have had problems with school at all levels. Narrowly escaped a criminal career. Instead I chose to go back to School. Ok it took me 2 weeks to do an essay sometimes compared with others who completed them in a night but I graduated in 3 years at Leicester University - I told nobody I thought I had ADHD. I gained a 2:1 honours in Psychology. I have been working steadily in a job which doesnt cause problems for my ADHD. Just before xmas gone and after a large battery of psychometric tests and tasks, interviews with my siblings and partner my clinician said he was 99% certain I had ADHD (he said he couldnt add the 1% as he has only school reports and family here-say to go on as evidence), no surprise to me or those around me.

I am seeing a Psychiatrist for prescribing shortly but I am told that it will happen. I dont suppose I am happy going on yet another drug (I have asthma, anxiety, stomach problems, lowered testosterone and I am on a very heavy painkiller but I know there are many people with conditions which are far more problematic than me) I have spent 20 yrs trying to self medicate of various licit and illicit drugs. If only.... I say... someone had believed me before, cant blame them I suppose but it does annoy me that 35yrs could have been easier for me and most of all those around me. But that is too much to ask as when I was younger nobody really got diagnosed unless they were lucky or that they were causing too much harm to society.

I am now going to complete a Doctorate and become a lecturer. Those around me have more faith in me than I had, though now I am starting to believe more in my abilities. I think that this SITE IS MARVELLOUS and to those with ADHD please believe in yourself. I also have my own home, daughter of 4 who is lovely and a loving partner of 18 yrs who has put up with so much (and my parents too who have had to put up with so much).

Cant think of anything else, maybe nobody is interested or it is not quite what you have in mind for your board, but if you do want to add (no pun intended) this then please feel free. (pls edit this line if you want to put this up).

Kind regards,

Andrew"



"The A.D.D. Blues"

Molly and Sonny Boy - "Molly and Sonny Boy both have A.D.H.D and wrote a song about it! "The A.D.D. Blues," Dr. James Zents (Emergency Room medical doctor) is Sonny Boy, and radio broadcaster/music professor Amy Triebenbach is Molly."



"i have come through so much tuffer!"

HELLO im a 15 year old girl from leicester iv battled with adhd all my life and always been turned away by the authority (teachers) because they dont have time to deal with me. i was put in bottom set for maths was refused to be tought by any english teacher and kick out of almost every science lesson by the time i got to year 9.

then i moved schools and am in year 11... in two years iv managed to get my maths grade up to C. an average of A in my english and doing triple science expected to get B's. im still batteling with ADHD with push backs from the public who still just think im a 'naught child' as they dont understand me!

i dont want this world in the future not to understand
i dont want people to be uneducated about this rising problem!
i would be SO GREATFUL if i could help you
you dont understand what it would mean to me to be able to stand up and give all these kids HOPE!
tell them my stories and tell them how i have come through so much tuffer!
and i no how hard it is you cant just turn around and say do this everytime you are angry or do this everytime you want to figit!
IT DOES NOT WORK!
it takes constante help and constant prais and consistancy!
I NO I COULD HELP!
iv done this all my life and WITHOUT the help of DRUGS!
please let me help you
YOU DONT NO HOW MUCH THIS REALY WOULD MEAN TO ME!

please get back to me im more than happy to do interveiws talks anything that would help!

Rosie



"adhd has not stopped me from acheiving my dreams.

I have had adhd my whole life. I was diagnosed when I was in first grade. I took a variety of meds from riddlin to the one I am on now which is zyprexia. I am now 24 and adhd has not stopped me from acheiving my dreams. I am not good in math due to add but still have managed. I am married now and am 24 and I am presuing my dream of becoming an early childhood education major. I currently work at a headstart which is a daycare for underprevilaged kids as a substitute until I finish my two year degree in september and I hope to continue to work with headstart and one day open my own daycare that is nonprofit with all types of kids ranging from ones who have learning disablilities such as adhd to any kind of child. I understand it can be hard sometimes academically with adhd because it is hard to concertrate and you may not be as good at certian subjects but in other subjects and other areas you may be great! Most kids and adults with adhd have high iqs and are very smart. I never let adhd stop me from my dreams and I hope none of you will either. :)

Rebecca



"Hi adders,

I really connected to several of the personal stories posted. I received my ADD diagnosis one year ago and have been taking Adderal daily since then.

I am a 57 year-old self-employed CPA. I think this is a fairly unusual occupation for someone with ADD because it has so much redundancy and can be so deadly boring and devoid of challenge.

Until my diagnosis, I was puzzled why I felt so unfulfilled. Having your own business would is just a dream for so many people. But accounting is all about linear thinking and doing. You start at one end of the task and keep going until you reach the end. Then you start another one. Trouble is, with my ADD brain, it may take me six hours to complete a 2 hour "linear" task.

I am constantly required to yank myself back to the task at hand from day-dreaming, or surfing the internet. Because of my ADD tendency to quickly see the big picture, it is hard for me to go back and work through all the details (if I already know the answer, why do I have to slog through the details?)

This, of course is not a new experience for me. I was labeled an underachiever very early on in school. Paying attention during class was almost impossible for me. The only way I got through it all was to write down everything I had to learn and constantly work at cramming it into my head somehow. I was fortunate to be sent away to boarding school and did well for the first two years due to fright and homesickness. When I became more comfortable my junior year, my grades slipped back to my usual abysmal level.

I flunked out of college and "saw the world in the Army", or at least parts of Vietnam. When I came back, I blasted through the rest of college and graduate school only through enormous effort (can you say compulsive?) and to the exclusion of all else in my life. It was hard to explain to people how something I had trouble learning was at the same time boring. Anyway, I got through it. But, this extended denial of my personal wants and needs made me very tough and lacking in empathy for others. When I became a manager in corporate life, I expected everyone to be as maniacal about their jobs as I had to be.

As I rose through the corporate ranks, I began to lose out in promotions to more polished competitors. I have a quirky sense of humor that very few people understand or appreciate and my social skills were pretty much limited to, "want a beer?" In my search for stimuli, I would often insult my boss, and just stand there grinning, waiting to see what he would do. I drifted from job to job, eventually moving into financial analysis from classical accounting to relieve some of the boredom. My career took a little jump when I did that, because my work now involved more challenge. But, as I moved up, I reached the point at which my people skills became more important than technical skills. I was expected to delegate (takes too long), and manage people (didn't like having my neck on the block for the actions of others). When this happens, you generally stop doing the things that attracted you to the work and begin managing people as a career.

So, I changed my career plans. I took a job several levels lower, got my work done early each month, and began to build an accounting business on my computer at work. Since it was clear I wasn't going anywhere in corporate life, and I was working tremendous hours just to get by, why not do all that for myself? When I had enough clients, I quit my job and went out on my own. While I am making double what I made in corporate life, I need to make even more, due to the financial mess I have made for myself with some of my impulsive decisions, such as buying twice as much house as I could ever afford.

Without my ADD diagnosis, I probably would have been wondering what to do next. Here I've made all these changes in my career and I'm still struggling. But, now I understand that, as Pogo said, "we have met the enemy and it is us!" So, I have read everything about ADD that I can find - not the diagnostic stuff, but what works as far as coping with ADD. I have pretty much neutralized the adverse effects by doing the following:

1. Self-talk - when I find myself day-dreaming during a boring task, I tell myself out loud: "OK, time to get going, now" or, "Let's get moving" or "I want this done by 10 o'clock', etc. Fortunately, I'm a sole proprietor. Another person might think I had Tourette's syndrome.

2. Exercise - I performed the best in the past when I was running a lot. Now that I'm 57 and thirty pounds overweight, I walk for a half hour two or three times per day. I'm losing weight, but I do it to take the edge off my hyperactivity and calm my brain.

3. Hired a coach - this was very expensive and I could only afford it for a few months. But, in that short period of time, we developed a new service for my clients that I am very excited about - financial modeling for small business clients. This is a way to help them improve profits. I love the work and have had a very positive response. Hopefully, this new service will replace some of the mind-numbing bookkeeping I have been doing for eight years.

4. Implemented a very detailed daytimer system to impose structure and deadlines on myself each day. If nothing else, I can keep track of what I should have done that day.

5. Installed a multi-colored filing system, as in, "let's file all the blue folders today".

6. Revealed my ADD to my wife. Like most spouses who get this news, she wanted to know how I was going to fix it. I resisted the temptation to say, "get a divorce, that's how". But, now that the ADD is on the table, the level of understanding on both sides has been raised, and we can make better decisions going forward.

With all these revelations coming so late in life, you might think that I would have a certain amount of regret about my life. I don't. This is the way I am and the world can deal with it or be damned. I have been blessed with a good brain, with plenty of horsepower, and my future has never been brighter.

Sam



"I have made straight A's in college recently"

"I have been working for 4 years since high school on research into the origin of ADHD and ADD. Back in high school I found I had ADD. It was terrible. I had fallen from making straight A's in 1-4th grade to making B's and C's from 5th onto high school. I figure I developed ADD about 5th grade. It only worsened until I couldn't bear it anymore and got diagnosed by a psychologist who had ADHD himself.

Since then I have been researching and I believe I have finally found the answer. Back in college I happened to come down with CFS and I was treated with a nutritional supplement that greatly helped my ADD. I have made straight A's in college recently and plan to go back soon.

Well I traced back how the supplement called adrenal cortical extract worked and I found it provided protein and a tiny amount of hormones to aid the adrenals. It so happens that the adrenals secrete norepinephrine, epineprhine and cortisol and they are all low in ADD and ADHD. This definitely indicates that persons with ADD and ADHD have adrenal fatigue just looking at the facts. If you raise norepinephrine through drugs, hyperactivity seems to go away. Raising cortisol increases concentration and attention span.

My research is compiled in the site http://www.freewebs.com/addresearch/ "

T. D. - Thinkerdreamer







"I didn't think that I'd make it through my GCSEs but I did"

"I was diagnosed with ADD in February 2002 aged 15 and so have been trying to find out about it for a while. It was discovered after going to a psychologist for anxiety problems and that my ADD was in fact the root cause. I have found your website to be one of the most useful to me. My parents, psychologist and myself,didn't think that I'd make it through my GCSEs but I did and passed 8 with flying colours! I am now doing 4 AS levels at sixth form college. I hope to be able to go to university and study Psychology when I have done my A levels. Keep up the good work!"

Hannah (16)







"The Unix Gateway Project"

"ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder & it's relative ADD, same but without Hyperactivity, is a genetic born disorder which seriously affects the life of the sufferer. I myself suffer from this disorder & have to live with the problems that it causes in everyday life. My mother is the chairperson of the local AD(H)D support group which has a number of parents which attend on a monthly basis. Unfortunately, there is no cure to disorder, only solutions to attempt to counter effect the problems which it causes. This is medicinal form, usually Ritalin (Methylphenidate) or it's alternatives which are, Equasym & Concerta, or in some cases, Dexedrine. It's also been rumoured, that the anti-psychotic Risperidal (Risperidone) is used in treatment with ADHD. I myself have trialed both Ritalin and Risperidal and found them both to either worsen the effects, or not work at all. The Risperidal almost made me housebound due to it playing havoc with my muscular system, which made me feel drained of energy, just like as if you run up a mountain side continuously for an hour which is at 50 degrees inclination, but without the being out of breath. With Ritalin, and it's friends, I found do work, but should only be used for no more than 12 months. To my belief, I find that during this 12 month period, parents, or guardians/carers who look after a sufferer(s) of AD(H)D should be looking for a more creative approach to deal with the problem. Unfortunately for myself, my parents just didn't understand my needs, and sent me away to special schools, children & foster homes & even foster parents in order to combat the problem. If anything, this made matters worst. I cant blame my parents for any wrong doing, as they simply didn't understand, and it's not at all easy to understand something as complex as AD(H)D. Even though my childhood was, in short, a total disaster, the way in which my parents dealt with it, was more than sufficient at the time. My being in special care, taught me that there are others out there, some with more serious problems, who have to deal with life I n such places. I got to see many different sub-cultures within different societies. This broadened my view on life, taught me that there are people out there that need experienced guidance through life. I've seen the best of times, right down to the sickest, most inhumane acts of the human species. This broadens the mind, gives one an open mind, and I love my parents, even though, they did wrong, in small sense, they also did something truly spectacular. My family is extremely supportive towards me & I cant thank them enough. I know that my mum wants to help, as she has the parental view of a sufferer, and her youngest child, has the lived-with experience of this condition. Together, we will achieve a lot. Unfortunately, not all these children are as fortunate as me, some of them have been disowned, simply because their parents can't deal with them. This is saddening. Even though, I was fortunate to have the support from both my parents and the local authorities, there was still a huge chunk missing from my life. AD(H)D is detected via the same means as what gifted children are. This in itself says something. Each sufferer with AD(H)D does have a very unique talent, to which, if found and explored, will guide that sufferer to success. With myself, it was computers & science in general. Space exploration fascinates me to the extent, I will die to achieve it. Each sufferer has their own unique talent, which should be sought out. OK, resources and money may be the problem, but that is what local authorities are for. To help parents & families & carers etc. My knowledge with computers is exemplary, my desire for knowledge and understanding is unmatched. I myself found my strong points, which was pointed out by myself during junior school. I was the one everyone turned to for help with computers. I sometimes saved my boarding school from having to call technicians as I could usually fix the problem. My desire for electronic equipment is almost an addiction. My desire for things like powerful telescopes, photographic and measurement equipment, i.e. oscilloscopes, multi-meters etc. is an addiction. I suppose I'm lucky I found the things which divert me from trouble & problems. Learning about how computers work, taught me pretty much how I worked. Computers and people work along pretty much the same principle. Every child has a gift, and even more so with AD(H)D suffers, as their physical hyperactivity usually gets converted into mental hyperactivity, and because of this, specialists say we outgrow the problem, when infact, we have just diverted all the energy from running around, beating people up, smashing things, throwing tantrums and getting excluded from school for throwing tables and chairs at teachers, simply because they wont teach us what we want to know about, or what they assign is not challenging enough; into mental, thinking, emphasising hyperactivity. What I mean by this, because some, not all, of us, are not mentally challenged enough, so we divert the mental energy into physical energy, which appears in the form of a tantrum. A simple example of this, is in maths, we was given basic mathematics, i.e., 16x2=32 12+45=57 etc. We worked it out I n our minds almost as instant as a calculator, and do not want to write it down, simply because it has no purpose, so stability is lost and the energy is transferred into a tantrum. Now, algebra on the other hand, much more challenging, i.e., x+y+y+x=x2+y2 which is worthy of being written down, simply because it made one think for a minute.. A challenge. This is my view on AD(H)D and it will differ from person to person."

Visit Ians' site for more information on his project for computers operating systems, networking, security, guides & how to's at:

http://www.unix-gateway.demon.co.uk/index.html





"A surprising cure for A.D.D."

"Hello, I'm an adult diagnosed with A.D.D. Ritalin gave me nightmares. Fish oil and magnesium helped me, but mostly - and only partly - if I ate very, very healthily.

I didn't eat very healthily ordinarily due to also having problems with some junk food addictions.

The thing that really changed my life dramatically - not perfectly, but more and more, better and better all the time - was when I started keeping the 4th Commandment - i.e. to "honor the Sabbath and keep it holy"!

If anyone studies Isaiah 58 and other parts of the Bible they will see how we are to keep the day of Rest quite strictly. Even if I just slept in and kept to home - except for Church and a bit of volunteer work - I did much better all week.

But when I have tried to truly focus on prayer, worship and Bible study as much as possible - even prepreparing my foods in advance, what a change I see in my life!

All I can say to anyone who is skeptical is, if you try everything else and nothing works, try keeping the 4th Commandment and see what happens.

Thanks! In Christ, Patti"







"I contend we are all normal "

"While searching for doves to use in creating some stationery for my email, I came across your website (incidentally, thanks for the lovely dove). I was intrigued by your interest in ADD/ADHD since my son grew up with this gift (in the past 2 decades equated with some sort of disease).

I am 61 years old and, although I did not know it when I was young, I was and still am ADD/ADHD. I joke that I was ADHD before it was diagnosed as a disease (which it is not). Children born with a short attention span and high level of energy are extremely sensitive, loving, creative, personable, and, while the rest of the world grows old, they are forever young. The problem is not the child, but the system that is designed to educate only the less visionary masses frequently and erroneously referred to as "normal." I contend we are all normal and simply given different gifts. Most education systems have failed in developing methods of teaching and curriculum for the so-called ADD/ADHD students.

My son is now 30, still highly energetic and personable. Like most others of his design, he is a colorful and lively flower in an othewise boring world and I am thankful everyday that God gave him to me. Most ADHD's are people motivated (I certainly am) and liven up whatever environment they are in. Life for them is an adventure and they are natural born leaders.

I encourage parents of these wonderful kids who are being horribly mishandled by a world that has grown accustom to treating them like they have a disease or illness, to teach them that they are as normal as the next one, but have been given a unique gift for bringing energy and adventure into an otherwise dull world - what a boring place this would be without them.

When I was young and in school, the teachers did not treat me as though I was diseased or abnormal. I wasn't medicated. I was treated no differently than other children. My teachers learned that, like the accelerated learning students, I required a different method and greater discipline - including one on one after school from time to time. All of the students received special attention when they needed it in a subject and I was no different. I also required more affirmation and, instead of overwhelming me with tons of assignments, they broke my assignments down into smaller sigments, i.e., instead of 100 math problems, I was given the same 100, but in groups of 10 then praised for completing them.

I cannot say it strongly enough, the problem is not the child - ADD/ADHD is not a disease, it is a learning style - the problem is the educational systems.

Incidentally, I am the Vice President of my Credit Union Board, President of the Irving RepublicanWomen' Club, Chairman of the Missions Work Area of my church and that's just this year. I served 6 years on the City of Irving's Youth Council - the 2years that I served as chairman we started a whole new teen program and received $350,000 to fund it and got a $2.5-million bond package passed to build a teen facility to house the teen council we appointed.

I love to tell people about my accomplishments - not to brag, but to show that ADHD/ADD people are not slow learners, learning disabled or diseased - we just have a learning style that is different, are big picture people, and natural born leaders who will rarely end up as math professors or scientists. "

From Sue







"In a band and just releasing our first cd."

"My name is Frank I have had ADHD for about as long as I can remember when I was younger I was on ritalin but now I am on no medications, but would like all the kids know it is possible to excel even though they have ADHD I have.

I am 19 now and am getting ready to leave for collage majoring in music and I am in a band that is doing well. We are just releasing our first cd. This has been a dream of mine for ever.

My advice to other kids with ADHD is to set goals and have your dream don't give up you can do it too!"





"A Note of Encouragement to ADDers"

"Just a note that may be an encouragement to children with ADD and their parents.

I am 58 years old and found out that I am ADD ten years ago when I was being treated for major depression. I daydreamed my way through grade school (where I was labeled an underachiever and disruptive), high school and much of college. In spite of this, I got good grades, a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering, and a Master's Degree in Applied Physics. I spent the first 20 years of my career in the Air Force as a laser research scientist and, for the past sixteen years, have continued my research as Principal Scientist for a Research and Development firm. I love my work and always have, although the Air Force bureaucracy was a source of constant frustration to me.

I have been taking anti-depressants for the past ten years which help not only my depression but also take the edge off my ADD. The key to being a success in spite of my ADD has been my creativity; the ability/compulsion for my mind to hop from idea to idea like a butterfly sampling flowers. If they had known about ADD when I was a child and put me on Ritalin, that creativity would have been nipped in the bud. I would have remained a caterpillar moving through ideas in a plodding, linear, orderly fashion.

What's my point? ADD is not a defect which requires medication to make children conform to how parents, schools and society wants us to behave - it is a gift from God that provides us with capabilities and talents that non-ADDers can only dream about.

From JD"





"I am an ADHD adult"

"Just thought I would 'touch base' to let you know what is happening in Australia!

I am an ADHD adult, counsellor,coach(well almost! Nearly there....) & writer. I am also affiliated with ADDVic Inc in Victoria Australia. I used to be on the committee but found it a little slow so, with another friend, I tend to do my own thing.

I have been able to get the support of the Australian Primary and Secondary Principals' Associations & also the Association of School Councils. I will be writing for the Victorian newsletter at state level. Don't think it will be long before I get the same support as at state level (I get my own page to run articles, reviews, teaching tips, training tools etc.)

I have just secured the right to sell Richard Lavoie's tapes, also Specialty Press products and the Responsive Classroom to name a few. Tool a LONG time being so geographically challenged! I am building a website to sell these products to schools in Australia and New Zealand soon. OUr teacher training is sadly lacking in the ADHD area. They are sceaming out for help (the schools I mean)

I also teach Life Skills to ADHD teens on ocassion and have a few schools applying for funding to do this. Now THAT is an experience! From this I have been writing a book and will have it published next year with a CD too. It will have the foreword done by my teacher, mentor & friend Thom Hartmann, with reviews by Gabor Mate, Ned Hallowell & my buddy Nancy Ratey (and a few Aussies as well!)

I still have a lot of work to do on all fronts, but have to say the one that pleases me most is the backing of the Education Trust of Victoria after I was referred by the Australian President of the Secondary School Principals' Association to help with funding.

I was told by my shrinks wife that I would not be able to achieve anything as they had been trying for years! Being ODD as well , well I had to goagainst them didn't I LOL.

Anyway, keep up the great work on the website..... I have used your word search on many ocassions for my kids (both ADD in varying degrees and one is gifted too.....and pre-pubescent UGH!)

If you would to be put on my mailing list for when the book is out, please e-mail me and I will put you in the list!

From Judie"





"I'm just excited to know that I'm not stupid, I'm not alone, and that this IS a blessing"

"Hi, my name is Shannon. I'm 19 years old and i go full time to a community college in my town. I'm writing a paper in one of my classes on disorders, and I chose ADD. The thing is, my stepmom (whom I'm very close to) is ADD and has been only recently diagnosed. She knows I have it but i haven't been formally diagnosed yet.

The thing is, my whole life I've gotten in trouble for things i didn't do on purpose, Like constantly(if not daily), forgetting things, missing the bus,leaving something behind, losing things, not paying attention to people. I would get so mad at myself too... I thought i was stupid, that there was something wrong with me, that i was a failure. And that's what my biological mother thought too. But she wouldn't get my help, just made me feel lower and dumber. I really connected with what you said about abuse in families and how ADD kids were most likely the target.

I have a sister 2 years younger than I, and I always felt like the dumb one, the mistake while my mom praised my sister. I grew up this way and was very depressed for a very long time, especially when i reached adolecence. I wanted to die.

Well I finally moved in w/ my dad and stepmom and they gave me guidence, understanding, and lots of advice. I'm a lot happier now.

I work at Dunkin Donuts part-time, and everyday costomers ask me "How do you have so much energy?" or " all also take what ever you're on" and i'm just being me.I have to say I'm very high energy 70% of the time to the point people think i drank too much coffee ( when I'll actully not have anything) and the rest of the time I'm very quiet and all I want to do is sleep.

There isn't hardly ever a "somewhere in the middle".

I've always, to this day in college, have a VERY hard time doing school work... especially writng papers, I'll put them off to the nite before(like now) or the morning of.... It's aweful!

I dance... I decided I want to me an artist ( theatre, music, dance, photography) but my current major is dance. When i dance I'm sooo focused, I'm so increadably intense that I won't even notice where I am... like I leave the room and the peaple watching and only think about every little thing i do.

I must seem like i"m rambling on and on... I'm just excited to know that I'm not stupid, I'm not alone, and that this IS a blessing. I have all the down sides, But I also have all the good parts too. I'm realising that all that day-dreaming the I do multiple times aday everyday since practically birth, that once got me in so much trouble, is one of my necesities now.... I discovered that I'm creative, I found my gift and I want to do great things with it.

Well I think I told you and aweful lot tonight, I could tell you more, but I really hate typing... I can't do it for too long at a time. So thanks for listening and connecting.

sincerly, Shannon"





"ADD in Law School"

"adders,

Thanks for facilitating this page. Here's my story, I hope it's helpful:

Last month, I was diagnosed with mild ADD. Like all of the stories on this page, I'd like to tell you what my ADD gift has done for me.

I've always had the ability to "hyperfocus," though I never knew there was a special term for my tenacity and vigor. All I knew was that when I really wanted to make something to work, I always did. When I really wanted to do something, I always could. Of course, much else fell by the wayside! Homework assignments, classes that didn't interest me, etc. This always bothered my teachers, but didn't concern me too much. I was always bright, but a lot of people are bright. My ADD has set me apart, and will always set me apart. I'm very thankful for that.

I had a high school teacher tell me that with my lack of study skills, I would "never make it through college." Well, I did make it, and I got a Business Administration degree (with a minor) in 3 years! Also, I paid my way through college with earnings from a business that I ran on the side, in my "free time." Bottom line, without the help of ADD, I couldn't have done it, at least not so quickly, and not so effectively.

Now, I'm 22, and in my second year of Law School - and I'm constantly learning more about my "disability." I do see the negative effects - the problems I face as a result of ADD, but they are all manageable. For example, I'm disorganized, but I can always hire an assistant to help me keep appointments, and return phone calls. My personal space is scattered...so perhaps I hire a maid? It's manageable. For the energy and tenacity I get in exchange, these deficiencies are negligible.

I still need to work through some issues related to my ADD. After all, this changes my view of the world, and my place in the world. I used to get so frustrated at my continuous acts of "irresponsibility" or "laziness." Now I know more specifically why I do what I do. I doubt I will ever solve these problems completely, but they are much easier to manage if you understand their source. And now I understand that they can't be solved completely, which explains my MANY failed attempts.

You have to put things in perspective. In this world, some people are terminally ill - I just lose things. Some people get in serious and tragic accidents, damage their spine, and spend the remainder of their life in a wheelchair - I miss appointments. While this certainly adds a layer of complexity to my life, you won't hear me pout about having ADD!

I know where my ADD-related problems lie, and I'm going to accept them and plan for them. I'll adjust my personal habits to create more structure. I'll try harder to avoid situations that lose my interest. I'll try some meds to see what works best. I'll tape record my classes, and listen to them 2 or 3 times to get the things I missed while "spacing off" in class. I'll take charge and I'll make ADD work for me, rather than against me. It will take extra work, which will make it all the more rewarding. After 22 years of learning to adapt and hide this condition effectively, I have a hard time believing that I can't overcome many of ADD's problems. It won't be easy, but then, adults with ADD don't expect things to be easy, do we?

Bottom Line: With the help of a psychiatrist, I'll figure out how to adjust my life to best enhance my ADD gift. And I will always recognize it as a gift.

I respectfully suggest you do the same. Good luck!!!

Mike"





"Just Written a Book"

"I have just turned twenty years old. I have suffered from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) all my life but was not diagnosed until twelve. When finally diagnosed it was a relief to my parents who always wondered why I was so different. When I was seventeen my mother commented to my doctor that I should write a book on all my memorable and not so memorable achievements. I dismissed this suggestion because I was embarrassed that I had a mental disorder/learning disability/handicap, behavioural problems etc. Two years later with greater maturity and a better understanding of myself I decided that I would write a book. Not just any book, not another doctors handbook full of medical jargon but a book written from a sufferer's perspective, to help those parents and children with this condition"

Visit Bens' Site to find out more about his book at: Website for Benjamin Polis

Ben






"I Wish I Had Known About ADD When I Was At School"

Hello,

I am writing fom the state of Michigan in the U.S. I also have ADD and I am 40 years old. I just started taking med about 2 years ago, wow what a change. I wish I found a site like yours years ago. After starting my meds I was focused I started my own business and it is going well. I do team-building and initiatives with scholls and local businesses and camps. I just purchased a rock climbing wall to add to my program. NONE of this would have been possible without a very smart doctor FINALLY figuring out my problem.

Please visit my web page and see just what a person can do if they get help soon enough. I WISH I WOULD HAVE KNOW ABOUT ADD WHEN I WAS YOUNGER AND STILL IN SCHOOL. http://www.geocities.com/corporateteambuilders

This medication was a blessing for me...... If there was a way I would tell everyone if they even thought they or their children hadd ADD/ADHD to get to a doctor yesterday

Thank you in advance

Howard






"This is a Blessing"

I am 32 years old and have only been officially diagnosed with ADHD this last week. We suspected it for awhile but did not see a need to "do something about it" because it has been such a blessing. I graduated from H.S. and a Masters in Educational Psychology with a 4.0. I have completed all my coursework on a Doctoral degree in Higher Education and, now with the help of Adderall, am completing my practicums. I work for the City of Phoenix as a Training Specialist and am very good at what I do.

I have always had A LOT of energy, I am intelligent, very creative and see this formal discovery as something that helps me understand me, and my potentially ADD child, better. What saddens me is that, as I am pored over books this last week, I am saddened that most of the literature is negative in nature. I read horror stories and, though I do realize that I can be classified as one of the "success stories", wonder if people cannot help but this of this as a "disease". If our society has this perception of AD/HD as a "disease", now are our children supposed to feel this they receive this often overused label.

I am SO thankful that my parents did not put me on medication as a child. I see the need for it in some situations and have seen dramatic results in my niece but I had to LEARN how to cope with this without medication. I had to LEARN how to focus, channel all my energy towards reaching my high goals and setting new and higher ones.

What I have noticed in the short time I have taken Adderall is that I am more patient with my children, I feel to need to become more organized, and I can sit for extended periods of time and read more about this "blessing". I very successfully "survived" 32 years without medication but do hope that it will now give me what I need to finish my EdD and be a better and more consistent parent.

Maybe by the time I finish this degree, I will have learned better parenting skills, better organizational skills, and work habits. Maybe I will chose not to take medication then...I don't know. Still, I can't count the number of times this has been a blessing. Working full time in a job that required a lot of energy, creativity, and multi-task proficiency, taking care of two small children, running a household practically by myself, working on a Masters then a Doctorate, etc. I would not have been able to do this without this BLESSING.

Don't give in to the "disease"... God gave you this as a blessing. Use it for the good.

Nanette






"It inspired me to succeed"

I was diagnosed with ADD when I was eight. Not satisfied with the doctor's description of the disability, I did some research. When I learned about a lot of famous scientists who had ADD, it inspired me to succeed. We need to show people that no matter what happens to you, it shouldn't affect your dreams





"Now, I am at university"

I wrote to you a few times somewhere nearing about 2 or more years ago in regards to ADD.
I guess I should say I am from California and did a semester abroad in London about two years ago but was unable to do much while I was in England in regards to some meetings and stuff.

Now, I am at university and I am in my 3rd of 4 years towards a major in English. Thinking ahead I am hoping to perhaps get into some type of group, for me, preferably Christian based but I am open to many things, to promote ADD, primarily with the idea of tutoring of some kind, or special education. I have not come to the definate decision on what I want to do when I graduate in 2002, but I have a variety of different ideas, one of which is look for some program that would give me the opportunity to live abroad (outside of America in my sense) and perhaps work with disabled children. I'm mostly interested in working with students, who, like me are "slow", not neccessarily seriously disabled (but that is always an option as well) but as my years in college have taught me, it may take time, but I can do it!

The more college experiences here in America I have, the more amazed I am, and fullfilled. I love to learn and I would be so excited to share my story with so many who don't think they can go on. Mostly, I'm thinking of spending a few years as a teacher or as a tutor working in a one-on-one basis with those who can't seem to 'keep up'. I was always one of those students, and am partially still that way, but I so much love learning and am passionate now about English. I am studying some heavy stuff, including British Literature to the 1800s (I'm eagerly inhaling my reading), The Epic (which I love but I need more time to study) and C.S. Lewis (he was a genius).

I just returned from Britain on my second trip about 2 months ago and once again it bought my heart. My family is from Italy and I visited my relatives, but for some unexplicable reason, Britain 'got me'.

Well, in order to graduate I'd better go study.

Hope to be in touch! Cheers!

Katie




If anyone has any ideas as to any programs as such Katie described please let us know so that we can pass them on to her. Ed.






"ADHD is a blessing to me"

I think that there isn't enough emphasis on adults that suffer with ADHD. So many adults that have failed relationships, can't keep jobs, addictions, and are wards of the criminal system.... suffer with ADHD.

Too many people think this is a child's disease, only. I'm so glad to see you put it's an adult disease, as well.

I don't consider my ADHD as something I suffer with, in fact, I think it enhances who I am. I wouldn't be the me I am today, if I weren't ADHD. However, I, unlike so many, take medication (Cylert) and have under gone 2 years of therapy to learn to cope. But I think what changed things for me was the day I stopped making excuses. I stopped using my ADHD as a crutch to excuse my behavior, and instead looked to the benifits being a hyper booger gives my life. And I own my actions, both good and bad. Though now, I don't do the bad actions any longer. (Thank you, Lord!)

As an ADHD'er I can think dozens of things at once when most people have trouble with one thought at a time. My IQ is extremely high. I forget things often, and that's not a bad thing when you forget some of the ugly things in your life, eh? I have a great sense of humor, and love to laugh at my goofy ways. And I'm very quick witted, another bonus! I have more energy than most, so I get to wear my kids out, instead of the other way around. =)

Basically, ADHD is a blessing to me. But before I knew why I was different, it was a curse. I think the main way to handle ADHD is to embrace it, and accept it. Fighting it only makes it harder. One can learn to channel the energy and focus the thoughts, ya just gotta go with the flow a bit more, and cut yourself a break when you mess up. My motto: It's okay to screw up, as long as you learn from it.

ADHD is who I am, and I really love being me!

PS-My eldest son also has ADHD, and he is one awesome young man. His Mom taught him how to love his chemical imbalance.... not just live with it! It really can be a blessing in disguise! Everything is relative. If you wake up smiling, the day already is brighter. But if you wake up thinking, Oh no, I'm a hyper freak... you've already set yourself up to fail. And we ADHD'ers love to set ourselves up. So knock it off!

Charley






ADD is not a handicap. It is a gift - People tend to think of ADD as a handicap. I think that is being very shortsighted, and a lot like looking a a half-full glass and saying it's half empty. HOGWASH. ADD is not a handicap. It is a gift, and if anyone tells you different, then they haven't a clue. Yes, growing up is hard. Yes, school can be a challenge. But... Being ADD gives us a tremendous ability, once we find out what we are interested in. We are able to, in direct correlation to our inability to concentrate on things we aren't particularly interested in, focus with an intensity that other "normal" (how boring) people find intimidating at times. The one thing about being ADD that I think is neat, is that most ADD people eventually find themselves doing what they love. Actually, we don't have a choice. If we don't love what we do, we're not successful. I have done so much in my life ... was in sales, became a social worker, am a Vietnam era veteran, US Army, 12 years. (Was an air traffic controller for 9 years ... with ADD and dyslexia, undiagnosed ... can you say... OVERACHIEVER?? LOL...) I was never successful... I never fit in. I always felt like an outsider ... couldn't get along with other people, always felt like I didn't belong. Square peg In a round hole, that sort of thing... I had to take stock in my life ... what is it they always say ... find what you love and try to find a career associated with it. I love my dogs more than anything else. Unconditional love, they never hurt me ... that sort of thing. So, what came next was the natural progression of ideas. I love animals, am a perfectionist, artistic, like being solitary...and my Dad was a master groomer. It came naturally.

Being ADD gave me an added ability of focus... I know what I want, and I know how important it is to me... Nothing gets in the way of my success ... this is the "gift"... Focus. Don't let anyone tell you that ADD is a disability. Find what you love ... and find out ways you can make a career out of it. Is this so terrible, really? Think about it. Think how miserable people can be going to work everyday, doing something they hate. We have to find something we love, or we aren't successful. Golly, that's tough. We have to do something we enjoy. Oh, life is hard. Don't believe the nay-sayers. They would love to make you feel inadequate, handicapped, or inept because of ADD.

The hardest part about growing up ADD is that if there is a potential of child abuse in the household, the ADD child will be the target, since we stand out. The thing is, being ADD is a gift, not a hindrance. Simply put, most people would KILL for our energy... So fill up, everybody. You are lucky... not cursed. Be thankful, not unhappy... Contact me. It's hard being different, but it isn't a bad thing... And if anyone tells you differently... to Hades with them. Know your limitations, but don't let them limit you. I was an air traffic controller, successful in spite of my ADD and dyslexia. I knew I had a "problem" with certain aspects of the job, so I overcompensated in other ways... "attention to detail" skills, most 'normal' people don't have. Now, working in my little grooming shop, with my energy and love of the job, I thank the gods daily for my ADHD. I play with puppies all day, and answer to myself. Sometimes I'm a little out of focus, but so's the rest of the world... that's when I figure I'm acting normal...

Again. The glass is NOT half empty ... it's half full, and the faucet is still running ... fill it up. Feel free to contact me at K9KAS@AOL.COM

Kasidy Christoperson
The K-9 Konnection
Professional Pet Groomers Extraordinaire!
142 West Gay St.
West Chester, PA 19380 USA
(610) 918-3800






"...he overcame his problems and is now a brilliant student."

Hello adders,

I must tell you some information which a friend passed on to me. She has a son, who is now 21 years old, doing his Masters Degree in Engineering. When he was 15 months old, her doctor diagnosed him as having the same problem as Richard. He put him on Ritalin, but she was not happy and spent considerable time and effort to try an alternative method. She eventually got hold of a book, written by Ben F. Feingold, MD, called "Why your child is hyperactive". He apparently runs (or did at the time) a clinic at Kaiser-Permanente Medical Centre in San Francisco. He stated that most learning difficulties are caused by artificial food flavours and colours. She experimented with all sorts of foods and discovered over time exactly what caused his mood swings. From being an impossible and what teachers called a backward child, he overcame his problems and is now a brilliant student.

Kind regards, Moira.

For further details on the Feingold Diet, visit their web site at http://www.feingold.org/indexx.html



"...any child with ADD just needs to be instructed accordingly and they to can accomplish anything they wish to."

Reacting to a story on our "How Schools Can Help ADD/ADHD Children ", page and in particular the comment "We heard recently of a teacher announcing to the whole class that it was "time for X's mental pill", Stephen from Canada writes.....That some one in this day an age would refer to this child's medication as his MENTAL PILL is outrageous. I am a network engineer (consultant). I run all the servers and am responsible for all the client computers in a large government office. I earn no less than double or triple what a teacher would earn and I suffer from ADD. I have worked very hard to attain this position and continue to do so. I may have a high IQ, but any child with ADD just needs to be instructed accordingly and they to can accomplish anything they wish to. That any teacher would treat a student with such malice only demonstrates his or her own ignorance.





"...just graduated from college as the "Outstanding Student in the College of Education""

My middle child, Sarah is 24 and ADHD and LD. She has what her doctor called the most severe reading LD he'd ever seen. She just graduated from college as the "Outstanding Student in the College of Education" with an elementary education degree. She is qualified to teach kindergarten through 6th grade, but her favorite is 1st grade. She's in the process of finding a job for the fall, and is an excellent teacher. Just wanted to tell you of a success story. This was a long hard stuggle for her and us, with a very happy ending. I was told when she was in 8th grade to just let her quit school because she'd never amount to anything. The next year, different school, she got A's and B's and also was Volunteer of the Year at the local hospital.

She was told at one point by the college board not to return to school because she wasn't going to be able to do well and should consider being a truck driver. She talked them into letting her continue, thank goodness. She's now part of a group at the college who teach new teachers about ADHD and LD, how to recognize it, and how to work with the kids...mainly that they're not "bad" or stupid kids.





"It is a God send for me"

My name is Mandy and I am a 26 year old who just recently was diagnosed with ADHD. Not that that came as any surprise since my son has been diagnosed for almost four years now and both my father and uncle were tested for hyperactivity as children. I do take Ritalin, but, against a lot of controversy am doing exceptionally well. I am a RN nursing student witha GPA of 3.65. I have not had to work nearly as hard since taking the Ritalin. It is a God send for me. I actually cried the first day I took it because it was the first time in my life that I wasn't thinking about thirty things at once. It was overwhelming.

The reason I am emailing you is that you might relay this information to others who are leery of medications. I definately do not advocate Ritalin for everyone because no two adders have all of the exact same symptoms, but I do advocate the fact that in some cases Ritalin is not only effective, but a necessity for thinking.

By the way, my son is also taking small doses of Ritalin and as a Kindergarten student is already reading at a third grade level.

Food for thought,
Mandy





"He is a biology major at the local college"

My son is almost 21 years old, diagnosed at age 5 with NI,PI,ADD. He is a biology major at the local college. Is taking 3 1/2 years to earn a 2 year degree, but still very happy, working hard, and has become a very good man, We are VERY proud of him!

Cindy





"I went on to win two scholorships"

Hello there!! I have happened to run across your website and I think that what you are doing is wonderful!!! I am 21 years old and have always had ADD. When it was first being recognized as a disease I was 4 years old. My parents were very strongly against Ritalin, so therefore I was never on it. I was characterized as an overactive child, I was too talkative, too curious, and too rambunctious, basically to teachers a pest. I went on to become a student in the Expansion of Interest Program (a gifted program in my school district) along to win two scholorships.
Sincerely,

Alexandra
Augusta, Georgia, U.S.A.



"My creative spark returned"

I was diagnosed with ADHD more than 5 years ago, and since then I have learned to think of my ADHD as less of an ailment and more of a blessing. I like the fact that I am unique in this way, it is something that few other people have. Soon after I was diagnosed with ADHD, I was placed on ritalin, where as before i had been a poet and a writer, I now saw no need for these "trivial" things. I could not see in the mirror the zombie that I was slowly becoming. And having given the drug all of the credit for my new found accademic sucess, I agressivly resisted my mother's taking me off of it. But soonn afterwards, my creative spark returned I began to paint and write for my own pleasure again. Sure my grades dropped a little at first, but when I put my mind to it I found that I really could do it. And I truely believe that if I could over come the problems that my blessings cause, then I could use it to my advantage. I have been ritalin free for 3 years now and am currently a B college student and a Computer Sience major. but what changed everything for me was challange, school was a chore to sit through becuase everything was so redundant. that is why i think that more than druigs, more than diets, more than shrinks ADHDers need Challange

Rashaad




"Today I am a published writer"

"What in the &**$ are you doing!? You belong in an insane asylum! You're insane! You're completely mad! You ##$$@ kid! I can't &#%$ understand why I even put up with you. We may as well put you in a #$$@! home!"
I didn't stay to listen to any more of my stepfathers words. I had heard them many times before and didn't wish to hear them again. Running into my room I slammed the door, my eyes filling with tears. I did not belong in an asylum. No matter what he said. I didn't. I didn't.
Did I?
Something about me was not normal, I knew that much, but why couldn't I fix it? Why couldn't I control the shaking fits, the nonstop talking, the disability to concentrate on anything? Oftentimes I would totally blank out, unable to hear my stepfather when he spoke to me. Usually when that happened I would "wake up" when his voice had grown loud enough for the entire block to hear. Oh, why couldn't I just stop being so weird? Why couldn't I just be normal? Then everything would be so much easier, then I could be happy. Then I could make everyone else happy too.....
"Honey? Oh, honey. Are you ok?"
I looked up and smiled through my tears when I saw her. My mother, the only thing in my life that kept me going. Mom. Always there with a word of encouragement. Even if nobody believed in me, including myself, my mom still did.
"Hi, mom." I said, looking back at the bed. "I... I guess I'm ok."
She shook her head and sighed, walking up to my bed to sit next to me. I smiled again as she took my hand in hers in a gesture that always made me feel safe and happy; as if nothing would ever be wrong again.
"Oh, Jessi. He doesn't know what he's saying. You know that."
I nodded. "I know. I guess."
"You guess?"
"Yea. I mean, what if he's right? What if I really am crazy?"
"You are not crazy, Jessica. You are special. You are beautiful and someday you'll be someone really great."
"But how do you know that?"
Lovingly she cupped my cheeks in her warm mommy hands and looked right into my eyes. I'll never forget that adoring stare, nor the words she spoke then. "Because you have a good heart and a beautiful soul. Someday you'll be a beautiful young woman who turns heads wherever you go and you will make every dream you ever had come true. Don't ever let anyone tell you that you're not special, Jessi. Never. God made you special. He doesn't make mistakes."


"Hey Lobello! Whatcha doin', Lobello?"
Nothing. Leave me alone.
"She's not answering us. Maybe she's too dumb to understand English." There was an outburst of childish laughter and I cringed, waiting fearfully for what I knew was coming. I was used to it by then, though I never grew to like it. This happened every day. Sometimes I would even fake being sick so I wouldn't have to go to school and even though she knew I was just acting, usually mom would let me stay home anyway.
"Or maybe she thinks she's better than us! Is that it, Lobello, are you better than us?" More horrible laughter.
I crouched in the dirt, drawing with a stick and hoping beyond hope that they would go away. No, I'm not better than you. I'm just different. Leave me alone. Please leave me alone.
"Hey Lobello! I saw you today in your retard class. Are you a retard Lobello?"
That "Retard" class was L.A.P. math, a class I had to take separate from the rest of my peers. Though I had been tested numerous times for IQ and passed each time with flying colors, sometimes even into "genius" range, I was never able to pull off better than a c- in school and that was a feat in itself. Math, being my very worst subject, was a constant thorn in my side. The other subjects, including P.E., weren't much better. Slowly and painfully I worked my way through school without a real friend to help me socially, without many "book smarts" to help me scholastically. From kindergarten through the sixth grade I had only three things that kept me going - my God, my mother and my stories.
My stories started out as daydreams; fantasies that I had during the times that I "blanked out". As a small child I worked them out in play using my little people, doll houses and even my furniture and miscellaneous objects. Nothing was too boring for my imagination. I could turn a shoe box into an elevator for the shelf mansion I made. My bed became, not a trampoline, but a world where the ground was too soft and everyone had to wear big flat shoes to walk properly. (The shoes were usually coins or scraps of cardboard.) I never played with barbie dolls and my baby dolls were never just babies. No, they usually had some magical powers or else they lived in underground caves made from lava. Like myself, my play was never "normal".
When I learned how to read and write, (which was a struggle in itself), I quickly found that a blank notebook was a dear friend giving me the ability to record, for the first time, the stories that I had only been able to think about before. Not only that but I was also able to go back and visit my stories again and again until they became old friends. The first "book" I ever wrote was "Ginger and The Shiny Wheels" and I was five years old. It was far from perfect but even today when I re read it I can see potential in the story-line, with a little work.
Of course I also began to read other books besides my own. Through the pages of many stories I learned of wonderful places like Narnia, Wonderland and the lands beyond the Tollbooth. I learned that I didn't have to be ashamed of my worlds because I wasn't the only one who had them. Others - adults - not only created other worlds but they were able to make something of it; something not only to be not ashamed of, but something to be proud of.
I began to hone my skills, reading and practically memorizing every storybook I could get my hands on. Not only did I read childrens' books but also classics like The Time Machine and Julias Caesar. In the fifth grade it all paid off when I wrote my first full length novel - The Land Beyond The Gate. My stories gave me a way to turn my "blanking out" and my ability to concentrate on one specific thing (which, by the way, is something about ADHD seldom mentioned in medical journals), into something that was mine, something to be proud of.
In the sixth grade I learned another way that my "disorders" could help me instead of hurting; I made two real friends for the very first time. You see, because I read so much I had learned many things besides how to write a great story. I had also learned that there were others like me - other kids who were picked on, other kids who weren't "normal". I decided to use that information to my advantage.
In the sixth grade I went to a new school, though soon enough the kids there learned that I wasn't like them and therefore worth nothing to them except as a mental punching bag. So, as usual, I was alone the day I met her - my very first real friend. For some reason which I now attribute to God, I looked up from my book during recess one day, something I seldom did, and that's when I saw her. She was standing against the brick wall of the school, watching the other girls play hopscotch. Something about her told me she wasn't like the other kids, she wouldn't tease me. And so I did something that day I had never done before. I closed my book and stood up to introduce myself to someone my own age.
Jill was not totally like me. She had book smarts, unlike myself, and she was much quieter. She didn't have ADHD and wasn't prone to the hyperactivity that I was either, but there were ways that we were alike as well. Like myself she didn't fit in with the other kids and was teased badly. She knew the kids at that school, too. She had been with them since kindergarten and with her knowledge of them we had many good laughs behind their backs. It was so good to open up to someone besides my mother. I was finally able to laugh and be myself with someone my own age. I was no longer sad and depressed, I had a friend. Jill was also a writer, much to my delight, and we spent many long sleepover nights reading to each other. Sharing my writing was even better than sharing my personality and many of my favorite memories are of just reading to each other as the sun rose outside.
Jill soon introduced me to Beth, her other best friend, and we became "the three musketeers", always together. Beth was different from Jill and I in that she was musically inclined, playing the sousaphone in the band at school. She was also messier than even I was, which actually made me feel better about my cleaning habits. She was older than us, one year ahead in school, and was able to help us go into both Jr. High and High School by telling us beforehand what to expect.
Still, nothing about my ADHD had changed. I still spoke too fast and would have shaking fits, but my new friends didn't mind. They thought it was cool how I could shake my hands so fast they made a blur. None of them could do that; it was my thing.
By the time High school rolled around, I had learned to be the real me instead of the timid "Lobello" the kids had made of me. I gathered together a group of kids like me and we had the best four years of our lives. By our Sophomore year the "popular" kids had grown up and there was no more animosity between us and them. We all had better things to do with our lives than hold on to a childish feud.
Out of my grisly and dark childhood I came shimmering like a butterfly from a cocoon. Even my grades shot up when I began to make friends. I had learned not only to hone my curse into a blessing socially but academically as well. Once I realized that the way I learned and the way teachers taught was different I made myself pay attention in class, take notes, and then read them at home and turn them into what I could understand. It wasn't easy, but with my mom's constant help I was able to do it. When English class changed from spelling and grammar to literature and poetry I put my all into it, "blanking out" about the books I was given to read and "obsessing" over my lessons because I really cared about them. By the time I was a senior in high school I was so gifted in English class I became a teacher's assistant in my own grade, helping the teacher with his lessons (oftentimes he referred to me to ask weather I thought he should teach a certain book or not) and tutoring the kids who were my own age!


Today I am a published writer who's first full length novel The Veiling Society, which I originally wrote as a sophomore, is coming out in June of 2000. I am married to a wonderful man and have two beautiful little girls. My mom's prediction has been right on target; I have been able to make all of my dreams come true. I give thanks to three things for that - my God, my mom and my stories - in that order.


I have been asked by parents of ADHD and ADD children what they should do. Many mothers and fathers are totally unprepared to deal with their hyperactive children and most, unfortunately, have accepted their doctor's advice and put their children on drugs.
My first piece of advice, and most important, is this - do not drug your child unless he or she is dangerous to themselves or others. I never had any kind of drug, thanks to my mother, and though that wasn't easy it was worth it. Drugs like Ritalin do help children calm down, of course, but they also take away the most important things, laughter and life. Drugging a child turns him or her into a zombie, unable to think freely or play as children should. The saddest thing about that is that ADHD children have so much potential. They are usually a great deal smarter than most children (if you haven't tested your child, do. You may be pleasantly surprised,) and they are almost always more creative. I'm not saying "normal" children don't have potential, I am simply saying that ADHD and ADD children are oftentimes like butterflies in a cocoon. You just need to find out how to break through that cocoon.
And that's where many parents are at a loss. They know their child is special, but how do they get passed that hyperactivity, the speed talking, the jumping around, the "blanking out"? I can't give you an easy way out, I'm afraid. What I can do is tell you what my own mother did for me. She was there. She saw the me inside that was waiting to come out. She held my hand when I cried, she talked to me when I needed her to hear, even if it meant loss of sleep for her. She helped me with my school-work almost to the point that I wanted to tell her to get off my back. She told me over and over again that I was a good person; that I wasn't weird or crazy but special. The bottom line? She was there for me when I needed her.
Know and understand this if you understand nothing else; your child isn't trying to drive you insane. The constant talking, jumping around and blanking out is as natural to them as breathing and almost as hard to stop. Don't ask them why they do it, tell them that it's ok and show them how to turn it into tools for success as I did.
I honestly don't think I would be the same person today if I had been drugged as a child. I wouldn't have been forced to face my problems therefore I wouldn't be as strong in mind and spirit, nor would I have been able to turn my problems into strengths and have the special abilities I now have. I wouldn't have had daydreams that turned into a career that I love. I still have times that I obsess unendingly over things such as lists, but mainly it works to my benefit, giving me the ability to do quality work because I am hard on myself until it feels right. Also, I still have times when my energy gets to be too much and I have to let it out, but I have learned to focus it in my fingers, twiddling them in my pockets when I need to.


I'll never be like other people but that doesn't bother me. I'm me, and my "deficiencies" helped make me who I am today. I like being different, even if it wasn't always easy. Besides, if I suddenly had the same amount of energy as everyone else I'd just want to sleep all day and what fun would that be?

Jessi




"Back at University"

I was diagnosed as attention deficient in 1995. At the time it was a shock but also a relief. It gave me something to blame for not doing well at University and dropping out 1 year into the course now, looking back, I realise that I cannot blame ADD for everything that goes wrong, ok it may contribute but at the end of the day, it's my choices I'm making.

I am happy to report that I have now returned to university and am doing quite well in the second year of a Beng in Mechanical Engineering.

I have also been engaged for 2 years (the first relationship I've had since 1992)

Keith

We have just had a follow up from Keith which he has agreed to allow us to publish below - Congratulations and Good Luck for the future Keith:

Hello there, I am the Keith from the "back at University" story, I can tell you that I attained my goal (a BEng in mechanical Engineering) but it came at a price. In February 2003, my girlfriend decided that she had had enough and we broke up. The next few months were very hard, it took several counseling sessions to get back on track (alcohol had taken over), I'd been to hell and back, suicidal, depressed, you name it, every negative emotion had been visited. Anyway, I got back on track, I could have finished that year with my degree but since I had been doing well, I decided to try for honours. I tried but it was just too much, I didn't have the concentration to complete the course. I was given the option to do the work to finish the standard degree, which I took (after all, that had been my initial goal anyway). I did the work and waited for the results.

I received the result about 5 weeks later.....BEng with Distinction, I was ecstatic. I had finally managed to prove my mum, who had always told me I couldn't finish it, wrong. All through University she would be negative saying that my ability to stay focused meant that I would fail, in fact the opposite was true, I knew that if I let my inability to focus get the better of me then yes I would fail and that gave me the strength to, maybe not remain focused but to find ways of adapting, to maybe take a Dictaphone to lectures so that when my mind wandered, I could listen to the parts I missed later. My mum may have been negative in her words, but behind that she was a driving force, willing me on to success whether she knew it or not. She was there for me when my relationship disintegrated and even now, she remains supportive. I know a lot of younger people who, at maybe 16 or 17 are "abandoned" by their parents to fend for themselves. Several of these people have similar symptoms as I did at that age. This only makes me more thankful of my mum's support. Another point is the friends that helped me through some of the lows of my university days. The friends, who would look after me, give me somewhere to live when I had to find alternative accommodation. Without the moral support of these friends I wouldn't have succeeded.

I am also in another relationship now with someone who, as another ADD sufferer, knows how to deal with me. Stephanie is much like me in that her mind is often on several things at once, usually thinking of several steps ahead. People have told me that I need someone "stable". I have to disagree, when both parties are ADD, we know what the other is going through, can understand, and most important, can compensate for the behaviour. The immigration process can be tricky, but this is where we want to settle.

The following is our story

It all started in December 2003 here in Canada, Stephanie was home sick with the flu and decided to play about on MSN Messenger. She was browsing through the profiles and noticed the name Keith Alexander, (For those of you who are not Canadian you should take note that Alexander Keith�s is a very popular beer here on the east coast). Out of sheer intrigue she sent a short message to Keith in Scotland making some reference to the uncanny resemblance of his name to the beer. A few days later Keith replied to Stephanie�s message thinking little would come of it.

Throughout the ensuing months we chatted regularly on the computer, each with our web cameras we were able to type to each other while seeing the other on the computer screen. After having been in close contact for about ten months we were getting anxious to meet. Keith bought a return ticket on October first to come over for a week on the fifteenth. The next two weeks were a mix of excitement and nerves for both of us.

When we finally met in the Halifax International Airport all of our apprehensions melted away (gradually over the next few hours as we drove home to Saint John). We have now been here together for two and a half months now. Keith is looking for work in his field (Mechanical Engineering) and Stephanie has just begun a new job as an insurance broker. The immigration process here in Canada is frustrating to say the least, but it is where we have decided to settle and we will wait as long as it takes.

We will be getting married on thanksgiving weekend (October 8th 2005) here in Saint John.

Please feel free to use any parts of this story on your website. Your other stories have given me a lot of inspiration and now I feel I can pass some of that inspiration onto others, ADD can hold you back if you let it, we can still achieve what we want, although it takes longer and is hard work. I'd also like to thank adders.org for the inspiration to succeed, the stories of other ADDers has been invaluable.

Thanks Keith



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