Saturday, August 15, 2009

Are You A.D.D.?

I just saw "Julia and Julie" at the movies today. Julie (Amy Adams) decided to start a cooking blog and prepare one of Julia Childs' recipes each day for a year. Julie said that she needed to set a deadline for her blog because she was ADD. Otherwise, she said, "I'd never finish". Her husband chuckled as if to say, "having a deadline will make no difference."

A lot of people who have trouble meeting deadlines, concentrating, finishing projects, and being organized are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder or A.D.D. Somewhere between 3-5% of school age children are said to have A.D.D. Often very intelligent and highly creative people such as Ty Pennington of Extreme Makeover Home Edition, Robin Williams, Steven Spielberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Cruise and Walt Disney are labeled A.D.D.

A student with A.D.D. might complete his homework at home but be unable to find it the next day at school. "I know I have it", he might say. He might also forget to bring some of his materials to school or forget to finish his homework. It might appear that the student just doesn't care but that's not the case.

Order does not come naturally to these students, therefore they need to be taught simple ways to organize their work and materials...and practice it over and over again. Teachers expect organized work back from students. So time must be set aside to teach organizational skills.

It's never too early to introduce children to ways of notice how things are alike and how they are different. To group items by color or by size can be a game. Having a "place to put things" at school and at home helps the child to control his environment in ways that work for him. The message is not to overly organize or stifle creativity but to create security and foundation through structure.

Since there is a genetic component to ADD, one or both parents may have some of the same characteristics. Communication with home is essential as different strategies are used to help this child have a successful school experience. Be patient. Be your child's champion but do not make excuses for him. Fine line to walk...........


  1. I think my child might be A.D.D. He is always losing things and his book bag is a mess. I help him get organized but it doesn't last...still loses stuff. The teacher says he doesn't do his homework but I know he does it. I help him so I know. What can I do? This is driving me crazy. He is in 6th grade.


  2. Arlene,
    I am a former school counselor who spent the majority of my working day with A.D.D. students. In addition, I have a son with the same diagnosis and have been diagnosed myself as well. What you describe sounds like textbook A.D.D. symptoms, along with additional ones. A.D.D. manifests itself in some very specific ways for the majority of those who have been diagnosed. The first thing I would suggest is to get a true diagnosis. If he is indeed A.D.D., there is no reason for him to suffer and struggle through an entire school year, or lifetime for that matter. Do you have a family physician? If so, you might consider discussing it with the physician who can make the correct diagnosis. It would be done primariy through observations and checklists. Once that is done, you can determine the next step, based on the doctor's opinion.
    Having worked with so many kids like this, I know how A.D.D. can affect the entire family. Just remember that your son is a good kid and there is much suppport out there for him and you as well as the parent.
    I am a women's life coach. I do work with the mother's of A.D.D. children, primarily because I have lived that role myself. Please feel free to contact me at any time. I am so glad this blog is out here. It has been helpful to me as well as many others!

    Shirley Meek-Williams

  3. Thanks for your reply! Shirley Williams is a wonderful resource for you, Arlene. She has been where you are and knows as much as anybody out there about A.D.D. I hope it helps you to get help for your son. I would suggest you also meet with his teacher and counselor and get their input. I wish you the best.

  4. Apparently this post is read often. There are so many people dealing with A.D.D. in today's fast paced world. Many times it brings with it a creative gift.....just hard to channel it in a cookie cutter world and school system. No one means for it to be cookie cutter....but it happens when classroom numbers get very high as budgets get cut. A.D.D. is totally managable. Just get good help and guidance for your child or loved one. Sandra


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