Monday, May 1, 2017

ADHD


Some days are way more educational than others. My trip to the dentist this week was one of those.

As I sought a seat in the waiting room, a young girl around 8 years old plopped down beside me. Well for a second anyway. She soon bounced up and ran across the room to the children's book rack and picked out a coverless book and started to read it aloud.

This youngster was fully charged. She did not stop talking or moving for one second while I waited. Her rapid fire conversation as she buzzed about the room was impressive.

When she ran out of  conversation directed at no one, she just read aloud while she walked or skipped. She was never still nor quiet.

Her mom and sisters seemed watchful but tuned out. I smiled as I watched her but was kind of hoping it would not be a long wait.

I have heard about ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) for years but had never actually seen it in action.  The closest I have come to it was a good friend's son who was a bit hyper. From what little I knew, this child had a full blown case.

Finally my hygienist opened the door and beckoned me in.  I have been going to her for about 10 years and we enjoy each other.

We always talk for at least 20 minutes before she tackles my teeth as my cleanings rarely take up the appointment time. I must have the approachability of a bartender for people seem to open up to me. I know all about her husband, kids, dad, college years and I have been through two pregnancies with her.

I think because she heard the child loudly talking nonstop and who likely has ADHD, she chose to tell me that she too has dealt with ADD all her life. All the same symptoms I guess minus the hyperactivity.

She then explained how it effected her life. She can not watch movies nor read a book for she can't focus long enough to follow the story.  She said school and especially college were a nightmare.  The only way she could study was to isolate herself as ANY distraction tore her mind away.

I had always wondered why she would chat up a storm early on but when she tackled my teeth, she grew absolutely silent. I've had other hygienists chat merrily away while they worked on me often asking questions that I could never answer other than by grunting due to a mouth full of fingers and tools. Dentist are famous for that also. With her, it was just the scrape of the pick and the gurgle of the suction wand as she worked.

All this time in my ignorance of the condition, I had felt sympathy for the parents of ADHD children and the teachers who dealt with them in a classroom but I never really understood what the kids themselves go through and how it can follow them into adulthood. Now I at least know a little.

So I am thanking her for not only my slick, plaque free teeth but for helping my understanding and compassion to broadened.

Have you ever had someone open your eyes to a pain you were unaware existed?

36 comments :

  1. A good friend of mine has it and so does his son. He is absolutely against the drugs the schools often want to push on parents of ADHD kids. He fought like crazy to keep his son off them. He's made me a believer. I just wish they'd figure out what is causing it. I don't think it's a matter of just putting a label on something that didn't have one years ago. I don't remember growing up with ADHD kids. Something changed in our water, food or environment, I think.

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    1. Jean,
      My hygienist is also against the drugs but I can see where school would really be disrupted by non-medicated ADHD kids. Surely there is a better way for all to handle this sad situation. I hope they are working on a less drastic solution.

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  2. My little grand niece has it and is on medication, which seems to rob her of personality. She also doesn't eat much while she's on her meds so her mother doesn't dose her on the weekends. I wonder, too, what causes this behavior. My hygienist is one who spends the entire time humming away while she works. I kind of like it. :-)

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    1. Djan,
      I wonder how the children themselves feel when they are under the influence of the pills. I am glad your grand niece at least gets the weekends off.
      Funny about your humming hygienist. Does she take requests?:)

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  3. We used to call my cousin "Zoomzoom" because he was in constant motion -- before the days of ADHD.

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    1. Olga,
      Zoom-zoom really fits the motion. Hope he was one of the lucky ones to out grow it. We didn't get a name for the condition till the 60's.

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  4. As a teacher of elementary school age children, I encountered many such kids, some with hyper activity and some with just the attention deficit disorder. Some were medicated, some were not.
    I do believe in medication for school hours, but it is tricky to get the dosage right so as not to create zombies out of the kids.
    I will always remember one especially sweet, darling little six year old boy. He was medicated most of the time and handled it well. Once in a while he would come and be all over the place. He would tell me he forgot to take his pill. The next tame he would come, under control, smile at me and say "I remembered my pill today. Whew!" It was a relief to him as well as all of the rest of us in that classroom.

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    1. Linda,
      After watching that little girl, I got a whole new appreciation for what teachers had to go through keeping the rest of the class in order. I guess till they get a better solution, pills may be necessary at least for school time.

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  5. I don't think I've met or known anyone with ADHD. It sounds so incredibly challenging for everyone involved. Makes me wonder why it has been happening so often. I would love to know if it is a world-wide diagnosed thing, or if it occurs more frequently in the US. I'm going to google around.

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    1. robin,
      I think I went to school with a few and am pretty sure I married one. It can be exhausting and can only imagine what it must be for the children living with it.

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  6. I never knew much about MS and the pain it can cause until my daughter got it. Now I know more than I want to know about this horrible disease that many people are challenged with every single day. Until we have walked in someone's shoes or been near to someone, we don't know the pain and challenges they go through every single day.

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    1. Snickelfritz,
      I lost a cousin to MS and have a dear friend who has struggled with it for about 15 years. It is true, we never really think about a disease till we know someone who suffers. Pray we find a cure and soon.

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  7. We had a Lady who lived next door to us who was wheelchair bound, she had a condition called Friedreich's ataxia which is progressive and seems to take everything slowly except for your mind. She made me realize how people look down on the disabled, they either look at you with sad faces or ignore you completely, what she told me was to always talk to and look at someone who is disabled just like you would a normal person, because inside that disabled body is a normal person who wants to treated as such.

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    1. Jimmy,
      That sounds like a dreadful disease. Bless her for taking the time to let you know how to treat a disabled person for I am sure most of us fall into the categories she mentioned. I now will try to be more mindful. Thanks.

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  8. My wife has a coworker with an autistic son and watching this seven year old makes me respect and feel compassion for what parents of these children struggle with.

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    1. Stephen,
      I know what you mean. Most of us glaze over diseases or conditions that do not effect us personally. We may feel a moment's pang but then move on. It's helpful when those conditions become more personal so we can better understand.

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  9. I never thought too much about how much depression affects people until a young woman tried to commit suicide and then later another young woman who did because of severe depression. Depression hits all of us from time to time, I imagine, but not to the extent that both of them dealt with and took medication for it. I confess I didn't really realize depression was all that horrible until it happened to the young women that I knew pretty well. It was an eye-opener.

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    1. Cheryl,
      You are so right. Depression seldom carries physical flags like a rash or a deformity so others are aware. It too often goes unnoticed but can be deadly. I love how the Royals have recently put the spotlight on mental problems.

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  10. I have always wondered if I may have some form of ADD. I am not hyper at all, actually I wish I was a bit more "go-go;" however, holding my focus on the task at hand is often a... Hey look, a squirrel!

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    1. Dave,
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Think what you have, we all have a touch of. That squirrel gets me every time too:))

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  11. Oh, my were my eyes ever opened to a whole lot of things that I never knew existed when we became foster parents. I quickly learned about ADHD ADD, Prader- Willi Syndrome, Microcephaly, Spina Bifida, failure to thrive babies, drug addicted babies and many other conditions. My eyes were opened big time also to the horrible physical and mental abuse some children go through. Interesting post sweet Patti. Hugs

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    1. Maggie.
      I knew you had first hand knowledge since you fostered special needs kids. You two were the greatest for doing that.

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  12. Dear Arkansas Patti, thank you for opening my eyes with this posting. I simply wasn't aware. Now I am.

    I recently was reading "Necessary Loss" by Judith Viorst. It's a book on letting go as we age. The first chapter was on separation and abandonment. It had to do not only with a child being born and thus separated from the mother by the snipping of the umbilical cord, but also with the feelings of abandonment children can have for other reasons.

    That chapter was a mind-opener to me as it helped me understand just what the nearly-three-year-old child of a friend must have felt when her mother came to visit me and was gone three days. I simply never realized. Peace.

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    1. Dee,
      It is not often easy to understand those outside our experiences. The good thing is that when we are shown, we learn.

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  13. Sorry to be so late to the party.......
    I don't know anything about ADHD but I do have the "wonders" at times. I wonder why, long time ago, before chemical drugs and multiple, multiple vaccinations and when most foods were not genetically modified, that all families brought all their kids to church every Sunday AND all kids sat still without a peep or a wiggle.
    Just Wondering

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    1. Belva,
      You can't be late to this party, it goes on for a week.
      No telling what we have unwittingly done to our kids.

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  14. I always try to understand how people, and animals too, feel. My sister had the most severe form of Down's syndrome and there were people with different kinds of developmental issues in the place where she lived. And I wondered what went on in their minds and in hers as well. She could not speak and would not have eye contact with anyone during her entire life. But she knew I was someone more special to her than others and I always wondered how she knew.

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    1. Inger,
      How heartbreaking to have to your sister so isolated from her surroundings. I am so glad that she knew you were special to her. That had to have helped you some and even her.

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  15. I have a grandchild (age 15) who has Aspergers Syndrome (a high functioning type of autism. She is definitely not like your typical teenager but it is fascinating to see how she has been taught to get along in this world. I am very interested to see where life will take her.

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    1. Ginnie,
      It is encouraging that she is dealing with it today when we have more tools to help than we had years ago. Good chance she will do marvelously.

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  16. Yes indeed. My middle child has a bad case of ADHD and the youngest has ADD. The older one kept me up at 5 times a night for first 5 years. At school I had to help her right through collegevas she could not get organized. She was put on meds by grade 8 and didn 't stop til end of studies. My other daughter nalso had a hearing processing issue ranking in the 92nd percentile meaning she could only process 8 % at a time. She was on a very low dose of meds and stategies for he learning in school were set up by grade 3. She was always alloed extra time on tests and was able to write then in quiet spaces. She got A's all the way to her MA in creative writing. The other chose tattoo artist. She is great atbwater colours but not at running her shop effectively and currentlytakes meditation and exercise gruop sessions daily ti try to get a better grip on her use of time.
    Buddy was easy to raise. ADHD was the biggest challenge.
    Our ADD gal is the mom now.

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    1. Heidrun,
      Wow, you really were faced with a challenge as a Mom. It is a testiment to you and our system that they have both done so well. You can be proud.

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    2. Thanks Patti. My entire life has and is always a challege but I keep on going. Sorry for typos. My vision is a challenge as you may know.

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  17. Oh my, if things had of been as they generally are now back when I was a kid, the authorities would have had me on all sorts of drugs to settle me down. Ah, but there was no such "stuff" back in the 1950-60s, and I can still hear my dad fly into an outrage over a radio discussion about Dr. Spock's philosophy of "sparing the rod." So, I received a whippin' from mom when she picked me up from school and one from dad when he got home from work whenever I would get one at school. It took several months of that during second grade before I was better broke. No, there was no true abuse involved--just overwhelmed parents desperately trying to rein-in a wild child. I still have trouble really concentrating upon what I need to when too much noise is going on while my wife has to have at least the TV going all of the time. No, she is not really listening to it. Sigh.

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  18. Jerry,
    Wow, how different your upbringing would be today. When Belva mentioned that there were no squirming kids in church in the old days, I wondered if it was because the parents had scared it out of them. You kind of confirmed that. You confirm what my hygienist said about needing quiet to concentrate. I hope you have a place to go where you can be distraction free.

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  19. Oh yes, I've had a number of people help me understand what it's like to live with a certain condition or handicap. ADHD is difficult not just for the person who must deal with it, but for those around him/her. I've had those beautiful children in my classroom and it's a process to come up with strategies to direct the energy and cope with its limitations.

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