To my neurotypical eye, my daughter, Natalie, goes to amusing, unusual lengths to avoid wasting even a minute on a boring task. But among ADDers, is her latest time-saving scheme the norm?
by Kay Marner
Some everyday tasks are just too boring for my daughter, Natalie, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD). Why interrupt a perfectly good shower to do something as mundane as washing her hair? Why waste time putting on socks when her Ugg knockoffs feel fine without them? Why expend effort squeezing toothpaste on her toothbrush if she's only going to brush for five seconds anyway? These completely unnecessary extra steps use up valuable time that could be better spent on something more stimulating.
A few weeks ago, Natalie (claimed she) didn't feel well, so I let her stay home from school. By 10 a.m., it was clear that she wasn’t sick after all. Deciding it'd be better for her to burn off her excess ADD/ADHD energy at school rather than deplete my personal energy reserves for no good reason, I sent her off to get dressed. She returned wearing sloppy sweatpants and a too-small T-shirt -- not an outfit I would have chosen for school, but I was so pleasantly surprised that she'd managed to get dressed all by herself, and quickly, too, that I let it pass. Since Natalie normally needs parental encouragement and timekeeping, I should have been suspicious, but since everything looked normal, I drove her to school to finish out the day.
As I helped Nat change into pajamas that night, I found out how she’d dressed so efficiently.
“I didn’t wear underwear today!” Natalie announced, as I was about to discover the fact for myself. “I got dressed faster that way.”
I guess I’ll have to supervise Natalie getting dressed for a little while longer. But am I fighting a losing battle? I know how she thinks. Eventually she’ll start doing her own laundry, and she’s bound to realize that she could do fewer loads if she quit wearing underwear altogether.
Now there’s an interesting topic for research: Is a preference for going commando -- purely for time-saving purposes -- associated with ADD/ADHD?