Queen of the Distracted

Imagine life in a house with 6 kids - now imagine if 5 of those kids and their father have ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) - that is our house! Welcome to an inside view of my life and our home dominated by ADHD... THERE IS NEVER A DULL MOMENT!

Ladies and Gentlemen! Boys and Girls!

"Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls!"

Those were our oldest daughter Rachel's first words, from the time she was a toddler she would belt them out proudly standing on the arm of the couch. At the time we had no idea what ADHD was or that it would play such a central roll in our lives.

Since then we have learned a lot, not the least of which is how many individuals and families suffer in silence. We have experienced first hand how misunderstood and misrepresented a disorder can be.

As a family we decided to take action - to risk embarrassment and labeling to get this important message out to the world. Come join our family, share in our lives, and see ADD/ADHD as we see it...
A gift with a heavy price tag.

WELCOME to life in the ADD/ADHD House!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Make Checklist...Check

Coping mechanisms are our friends.  At least that is what we try and teach our children.  We try to teach them to be honest with themselves about how their brain works.  We encourage them to develop techniques that work for them as individuals.  There is a lot of trial and error because you really have to try different things to see how they work.  Certainly, what works for one won't work for another and with ADD/ADHD what works today may not work tomorrow.

Coping mechanisms are always a work in progress.

For example, my husband Mark loves post-it notes.  He has a complete post-it note system.  They flow across his desk at work like a river, constantly in motion.  The to do post-its on one side.  As he works on that particular item he sticks it on the rim of his computer screen.  Then when he is done it goes in a done pile for that day.  He keeps the done piles in his desk drawers for those moments when someone wants to know when and if some task is done.  It works for him.

If you were to give our son Jaren a stack of post-it notes to keep track of what he needed to do it wouldn't work for him.  In fact, if your gave Jaren a stack of post-it notes nothing would get done because he would be too busy making origami out of each little note.

I did, however, find a checklist hand written by Jaren as we were taking a last walk through the house we just moved out of.  It was taped to the back of the bathroom door.  Very carefully written to help him remember the details of a job that he was doing to earn Mark's old Palm Pilot (an expensive coping mechanism which replaced the expensive Franklin planner, and has since been replaced by a smartphone).

I have to say I'm pretty proud of his effort - especially because it wasn't prompted by us.  This 10 year old thought out what he needed to do and made sure everything was on the list. Carefully numbered each item, he started with waking his brother and sister up, getting dressed, eating, getting his bottle of water from the fridge, getting the Palm Pilot, doing the job which was collecting everything from the yard, and last but not least on the list - take meds.

I got the biggest kick out of that.   What great effort and thought had gone into this plan.  I am excited that all our talk about coping mechanisms is sinking in - a little parental reward for all the long hard work.  Now all we need to work on is getting "take meds" moved up higher on the list - maybe right around eating breakfast.  Certainly, before doing the job, which was the focus of the list, not after the job was done.

Truth is if you take enough baby steps you will eventually get where you are headed!


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