Reply To: Breaking the Cycle of Failure

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You have much support here.

I am the mother of an ADD 22-yr old and have been involved in his development since he
was diagnosed at age 5.

I understand the struggle and certainly everyone’s struggle is not the same.

I chose to treat him with behavior modification instead of drugs, which is life
changing as I had to work from home and devote time to his academic and personal
needs for years. Attending conferences such as CHADD was instrumental in guiding
me along the way with his diagnosis.

I realize you are older and your circumstances are different from our own.

He is graduating college next month with a Bachelor in Recording Arts. I tell you
that because of all the academic degrees we explored, this one was adaptable
to his ADD. I’ve written before how the use of headphones has made a significant
difference in his academic learning and now his career path. Headphone-work helps
him to focus and gives him the opportunity to hear something he needs to remember
over and over. It was a gift when I realized in 5th grade he could remember much
better and stay on task if he was hearing, without distraction that which he
needed to know and accomplish.

Difficulty in remembering tasks was a problem. So I would often record on an
iPod or similar what needed to be done in the order it needed to be done. He learned
to read that way too because reading meant concentration and focus but if he could
follow a book with audio, it made all the difference.

One more piece that made a considerable difference in his life was to learn how
to ask for help. It was baby steps getting through the teen years learning how to
reach out without embarressment. It’s hard enough to admit he needed help But
eventually, he has learned to do so successfully.

Keeping the IEP open during college also meant he could reach out for tutors
successfully and without embarrassment. Some people close out the IEP at age
18 but I recommend leaving it open.

He reaches out to me just to review his grocery list or talk about expenses
and always my replies are met with encouragement and compliments so he doesnt’ feel
like he’s failed. And when people around him criticize, we’ve talked about how
to turn around these critiques and use them a way to expand instead of deflate.

The last tool that has made him feel a true sense of accomplishment is to help
others who have the same ADD/ADHD issues. He was a camp counselor for many years
and understands the triggers particularly when it comes to chidren. Perhaps
you could use what you know about the condition and pay it forward. There are
organizations that could use your insight. There is great satisfaction, as you
know in helping others and being an expert in something you have overcome.

I wish you well.