My mind wanders: Do I have ADD? |

My mind wanders: Do I have ADD?

Helen Ginandes Weiss M.A & Martin S. Weiss M.A.

Jennifer said she returned to college after dropping out of job after job.”I thought I was doing my job, but my bosses said I couldn’t follow instructions, didn’t finish projects and should learn to concentrate. How do I learn to concentrate”, she asked, “when I can’t even pay attention to a TV program?”Jennifer said she couldn’t work in the steno pool – too much distraction.”If I could have worked in a private office I could have gotten a lot more done!” she said.She wanted to take work home to complete it but her boss said “no.” She had no training in how to set up an organized filing system so no one seemed to be able to find anything if she was out of the office. She couldn’t complete the required written reports in the time allowed and she was constantly under fire for being late with her work. She often forgot what went on in meetings, embarrassed to tell anyone she needed to tape the meeting to enhance her memory.She had never been consistent about writing checklists to help her recall jobs. There didn’t seem to be any other job in the office that she was better equipped to do. She had never learned to use a computer day-planner to help her organize her work. She told us that she probably would forget to use it if she did know how.Jennifer had aptitude in the high-to-average range. She was attractive, personable and well-groomed. She looked as if she would be an asset to any job. But she said she was a failure.”I guess I’m just a motor mouth” she said. ” My mother says I talk too much and do too little!”We are living in the Age Of Focus and if you are someone whose mind wanders a lot, you are probably out of synch with the times. During classes, you are writing shopping lists. During meetings you are drawing pictures. Are you multitasking? No! For most of us these are distractions are part of our lives.When was the last time you were able to concentrate for hours and look surprised at how long you had been working on a project? Professionals and nonprofessionals alike are stealing time from work and study to daydream, focus on other things, and they become distracted by their other obligations.”I guess Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is not just for kids anymore,” says said Jennifer when we told her how poorly she had done in testing for attention span.For her, the problem had been undiagnosed earlier in school, leaving her to do poorly in academics. Now the problems have spilled over into her vocational life.Choosing to return to college had been a great idea but would only make matters worse if she did not learn to compensate for her problems. College meant high academic demands without the structure of home or school to help her learn to organize and focus her priorities. Like many students, she had just discovered the reasons for her problems in school and at work.Beth Howlett, counseling coordinator at Widner University in Pennsylvania estimates that only a third of students with ADHD were diagnosed before they came to college and even more have been left behind in the job market. Robert Resnick, Ph.D., former president of the American Psychological Association, says that more than one percent of our population or 2.7 million adults may suffer from these problems.Adults are good at covering up their attention problems. They are susceptible to distractions and can’t concentrate, often don’t grasp the meaning of what they have heard or read, take poor notes, usually rely on cigarettes, coffee, alcohol and other substances to manage their stress and simply avoid their problems. They feel tense and on edge a good deal of the time, nervously waiting for their co-workers and friends to find out that they are frauds and incompetent in their studies or jobs.Unfortunately, in our highly competitive environment, characterized by higher unemployment and recession, they are the first to be let go because few bosses understand their actions. Currently, we are seeing greater numbers of young adults who are feeling this pressure. Despite the fact that the Americans with Disabilities Act allows many accommodations for students and workers who qualify, they go unnoticed and untreated.ADHD is not just kid stuff and many young adults have fallen through the cracks for lack of a good diagnosis and compensatory strategies.For more information contact: Helen Ginandes Weiss M.A & Martin S. Weiss M.A.,Learning Consultants at, P.O. Box 38, Twin Lakes, CO, 81251, or 1-719-486-5800.

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