My Forum Comments
Jason — please see my earlier comment below, if you missed it. It’s all about you and the Rizzle 🙂 It was kinda fun to see you show up in the convo after I posted it.
A couple of things help me. One is spending as much time as possible outdoors.
Another thing that’s helped me is just not giving in. I can’t always choose how I feel, but I CAN control how I act, and there are numerous studies out there demonstrating that even an exercise that forces the face into a using the muscles that we use to smile makes people feel happier. So by refusing to indulge and feed my moods, I can maintain a much more stable pattern than if I indulge them and expect others to accommodate them. I know that sounds weird in today’s “snowflake” culture, but it works for me.
Finally… rattlesnakes. 🙂 Rattlesnakes always make me feel better. You might need to find your own species, though. I suspect rattleys won’t work for everyone.June 19, 2017 at 8:10 pm in reply to: Son has no interest, no motivation. I’m out of ideas. #51578
Those of us with ADD are always going to struggle with low energy, and that makes it difficult to get enthused and stay interested in something that has no purpose other than killing time. Maybe the trick with these unmotivated teens is to find that thing that matters to them. Not something to kill time and make friends, but something where they can see that they made a difference for someone else. When I say “someone,” I don’t only mean humans, though I don’t rule them out, either.
I work a full day, and then spend most of the night rescuing snakes (and occasional toads and mice) from rural highways. Pick up one rattlesnake and watch a car go right through the spot where he was 30 seconds earlier and there’s a feeling that’s hard to put into words. It amounts to looking a living being in the eyes and knowing with absolute certainty that he would have been dead if you hadn’t been there. Many of us with ADD end up feeling like we don’t fit in and therefore we don’t matter. In a moment like that, you KNOW you matter, because you’re holding the living proof in your hands, and that’s a hard feeling to walk away from. Now, I’m not suggesting that you have your teen son go out and dodge cars and grab rattlesnakes! In fact you should probably not mention this post to him…
The general idea, though is to see if you can find something that makes him feel like he’s making a difference, rather than just looking for hobbies to occupy his time. The other thing about giving him a mission is that a shared mission makes people bond more strongly than a shared interest, so despite his best efforts he WILL end up connecting with people.
Lots of words. Sorry! It was hard to get the concept across concisely.
My understanding on the fidget spinners is that they have not been shown to be effective, and I can certainly see how they can be disruptive. I’m in love with the fidgetland.com fidgets which are designed to be discreet. My “Rizzle” fidget from Fidgetland was custom made for me because I really wanted the Rizzle, but because it’s their largest one, I thought it might be too big for my small hands. When I contacted them to ask if they thought it would be too big, they emailed me back in ten minutes saying, “How about we make you a rizzle, but with smaller rings?” I LOVE those guys! No one notices the Rizzle when I’m fidgeting with it, and the slow deliberate inside-out flip motion allows me to focus on lectures and meetings where I’d otherwise get distracted. If I had a fidget spinner, I’d definitely be distracted by it! A little too fun and active to facilitate focus on my work! Maybe your son would like one of the Fidget Land devices?
Maybe you could call the Police Department in advance and see what they suggest. That way the officer at the door isn’t put on the spot and there will already be a plan in place.
For what it’s worth, I think you’re doing the right thing by accepting your daughter for who she is, and not forcing her into social situations she’s uncomfortable with. As she moves into adulthood, she’ll learn to navigate the social niceties when necessary,which will take some of the stress off, but she may never really enjoy socializing. There’s nothing wrong with that. It will help guide her career choices, but it won’t prevent her from having a very rewarding life. I’ve had some amazing opportunities in my life, and most of them have been because of, not in spite of, my problems socializing with humans (I socialize quite easily with other species!)
I don’t have kids and I was not diagnosed with ADD until adulthood, so only then did I learn why my childhood was so difficult. One thing I want to toss in for parents, based on my experiences, is that my parents were bothered by the fact that I had no friends, and their solution was to force me into social situations — insist that I go to the birthday party that I didn’t want to go to because I’d be either left out or bullied. Forced me to attend Girl Scouts (with the same result). I was quite happy with my own company and preferred to be alone, reading, or walking in the woods observing wildlife. Friends would not have been an issue, but for my parents and other adults acting as if there was something wrong with not having friends.
I’m an adult now, and more capable of navigating the social world. I get a lot of respect from the people around me, and recently was invited to be interviewed by the BBC. but I still don’t have close friends that I spend time with. I have a team of folks I rescue rattlesnakes with (Yes, I did just say, “rescue rattlesnakes.”) and my sister and I do things together. That’s about it, and I’m fine with that. I was not scarred by growing up without friends, but I do carry some scars caused by being forced into social situations I couldn’t handle, and by people hinting that I was somehow lacking as a person because I preferred to be on my own. Those negative experiences have a great deal to do with my reluctance to engage with people as an adult.
If your kids WANT to have lots of friends, by all means facilitate it. But I wanted to tell my story because I think a lot of kids with ADD find socializing overwhelming and exhausting like I did (and still do) and I think it’s important for parents not to force the issue with ADD kids.
Back in the 70s there was a fad started by a book called “New Games.” It was all about noncompetitive play. For example, the “Tug of Peace” game, which is just like Tug of War, except that when one team starts losing, kids on the end of the “winning” side let go and run to join the other side, the object being to have everyone pulling as hard as they can, with the whole mess perfectly balanced. I don’t know if those books still exist, but it might be a way to teach him to channel some of the competitive energy into cooperative energy. Just a thought!
In case you don’t have time to track it down right sway, the basic idea is that one stimulus triggers a response which changes the environment, creating a new stimulus… creating a pattern that feeds forward. To simplify a bit… One behavior feeds forward into another. A great example that my sister uses when teaching the theory is that she goes into the small restroom near her office daily, flips on the light and goes about her business. One day, someone had left the light on. She walked into the brightly lit room and flipped the switch, turning the light off. Her previous experience had set up a pattern, so the act of walking into that room fed forward to the act of flipping the switch — even if it made no sense.
R. Allen Gardner did the original work on the theory. That may help you track it down. If you can’t find it, let me know.
I hate repetitive exercise. My solution is to use walking, hiking and more recently using a Trikke because I’m going somewhere and attending to the changing environment around me, so I don’t get bored. Also, when using gym exercises Ill get bored or tired and stop. If I’m out on my Trikke or a hike, well… tough luck if I’m bored or tired! Sitting down and giving up isn’t an option, because I still have to get home! I suspect the same principles would apply to kids.June 17, 2017 at 9:08 pm in reply to: What are your favorite traits that ADHD has given you? #51498
The best thing I get from ADD is that adrenaline dumps dopamine into the brain. That means that in a crisis, when everyone else is freaking out, my brain suddenly becomes normal, leaving me calm and focused.
At his age, talking about it in advance probably isn’t going to be super effective, because he lives in the moment. What you talked about an hour ago isn’t really relevant by the time he’s acting out.
One thing to look at is what triggers the behavior. Is he overstimulated by bigger groups? Avoid big group activities and instead have outings with one or two friends. Is he okay for the first ten minutes and then gets out of control? If so, maybe pull him out of the activity for calm-down breaks.
Also, keep an eye out for precursors and interrupt the cycle at that point. Don’t wait for him to be so out of control that you can’t handle him, because at that point, he’s probably also too wound up to process why he’s in trouble anyway.
You might want to do a little reading up on feed forward learning theory, which I think might be helpful.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by anomalocaris. Reason: added a note about feed forward learnign theory
1. Understand that your partner with ADD is an adult with ADD — NOT a child — and treat hims accordingly.
2. Avoid the badgering thing that “normal” people constantly do to those of us with ADD. If you ask him a question and he says, “I don’t know,” it means he doesn’t know. Asking the same question thirty times in different ways isn’t going to change that, regardless of the fact that you think he should know the answer. In fact, the information retrieval issues with ADD are worse under pressure so the more you badger, the less likely he is to come up with the information. Typical example:
You were there last week. Can you give me directions?
Sorry… I don’t remember how we got there.
Well… was it THIS side of the highway, or the other?”
I don’t know… I just told you I don’t remember how we got there.
Well, did you turn off before 14th street or after?