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March 08, 2008


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Alyce Barry

I have what may be a controversial view of ADD, having done Shadow Work with several adults who had been diagnosed with it. In an adult, it appears to be the result of an emotional wound to the 'knowing self,' usually from someone we grew up with an adult who told us we didn't know anything, someone who was narrow-minded and dogmatic. The child has two choices: to become narrow-minded and dogmatic like the adult, or to scatter the thoughts to make them less prey to attack, the way a flock of sheep scatters when a predator approaches.

Margaret Pevec

I hope you'll write more about your own perceptions as someone who has self-identified as ADD and more about how you moved from believing it to be the "latest fad" to a diagnosis you're comfortable with. And what do you think about Alyce's comment?

Great blog! Keep it up!

Rosemary Carstens

In the days when my children were going to school, anyone who could not learn in the "usual" way in the classroom was branded "special ed" in a way that marked many of them for life. My sister was one of these, as was the daughter of a friend. As time went on I observed for myself that these two people I was very close to did NOT have learning disabilities--they were smart and innovative in their own individual ways. But they were not able to learn well from those group, the-same-for-everyone methods. Fortunely as adults these two people have realized that in any new situation they have to find a way to employ their OWN method of engaging information and that there is not a thing wrong with being "different." Good topic, Kathleen

Mary Collette Rogers

Kathleen, funny you posted this blog. I had just written you about how disturbed I was watching a movie produced by the drug industry that was practically giddy over the ADHD diagnosis. I am glad to see this conversation restructured into talk of "variants" rather that a "diagnosis" with all its concommitant "drug opportunities" Nice blog



I love the metaphor of a flock of thoughts scattering to escape the predator. And I do often find my thoughts scattering when I’m under stress.

I wonder, though, if that dynamic isn’t just one piece of a more complex picture. Something like this:

* Genes predispose a child to, say, creativity, sensitivity, enthusiasm, love of novelty, and a strong sense of intuition.

* Her makeup also predisposes her to be particularly sensitive to aspects of her environment, everything from attachment issues to the pesticides on the lawn outside.

* She develops a non-mainstream outlook on life. And she faces learning and behavioral challenges in a traditional setting.

* The more-mainstream adults around her don’t understand her, nor do they accept her for who she is. Their words wound her, as you describe.

* Instead of learning to work with and express her true self, she works against herself. She fails in a number of arenas.

* She develops a sense of shame.

* The worse she performs and the worse she feels about herself, the worse her brain functions. The sheep scatter from the wolf, which by now she’s internalized.

Thank you for your post. When I’m feeling particularly scattered now, I’m going to look for that wolf inside.



It’s inspiring to hear about people who’ve come to embrace their personal learning styles, especially when those people have come out of a system that didn’t appreciate their differences. One thing I wish is that people would use the word "and" a little more. As in, She has this specific learning challenge, *and* she’s smart and innovative. Thanks for your post!


I went and read the article from Brain, Child for which you included the link and this passage leapt out at me:
"[Thom Hartmann] came up with the idea, he writes, as a metaphor for understanding the way ADHD minds work: Unlike the steady, methodical, team-playing “farmers” (neurotypicals), “hunters” are independent, visual, tireless, impulsive and risk-taking, and constantly “scanning” their surroundings for prey and enemies." And Alyce's comment rang true, too. Lots to think about here -- thank you for blogging!


How appropriate for me to come across this post! My own ADHD diagnosis, as you know, is brand new. Finally having that label and knowing that I have a disability makes it easier both get help for my weaknesses and to also see and nurture my strengths.

My husband, interestingly, has Asperger's Syndrome, and it, too, is both a disability and a brain-structure that gives him an enormous number of strengths. He is the most interesting person I have ever known, and he constantly teaches me new ways to see the world. Though I would never wish for him to have had the struggles that AS has brought him in this world full of folks who don't understand or appreciate him, I am at the same time incredibly grateful for his being exactly the way he is.

Sometimes I love that he has AS, and sometimes it is really hard. I feel that way about my own ADHD. So I guess I embrace the power of "and!" Both AS and ADHD are, yes, just different brain structures and also, yes, incredibly disabling sometimes in the world in which we live.

I am glad you found and commented on my blog which led me to yours!

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    Why Call It ADD?

    • The name is so wrong. ADD stands for attention deficit disorder, and ADHD adds an H for hyperactivity. I use the former, since I don't have the H thing.

      But a deficit of attention? I think most of us with ADD would agree we have more like a surplus of attention. And a disorder? That leaves out our strengths.

      Still, I use ADD because it's a widely understood term for a useful concept. When you comment on this site, feel free to use whatever term you're comfortable with.


    • If you have ADD, you’ve probably heard plenty of criticism over the years—including from yourself. Enough of that! Here are my requests to those who comment:

      Don't criticize others, give advice, or speculate on others’ motives.

      Do share your own experience, strength, and hope!

    New to ADD?

    You Can Meditate!

    • Links to Online Guided Meditations
      Research suggests that meditation might help address the symptoms of ADD (and a lot of other conditions). But if you have ADD, you might find it hard to meditate. I compiled this list of online guided meditations. See if they help!


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