Sunday, March 9, 2008

Out of SIGHT= Out of MIND (lightbulb moment!)

I suspected I had ADHD when I took a class on students with exceptionalities and recognized myself in the profile of the ADHD child. It wasn't until a crisis in my teaching career that I sought out an actual diagnosis, read at least 10 books on the subject of ADD/ADHD, and took a battery of tests, that I came to see my entire life from a new angle. I became a better teacher and a more patient and tolerant human being. Learning to see my own strengths (artistic talents, creative thinking and problem solving ability, empathy, awareness of details, imagination, etc.) and my weaknesses (easily distracted from a task, intollerance of boring, tedious tasks and waiting quietly for things, impulsive talking out without waiting to be called on, flitting from one great idea to the next, forgetting names and appointments, organizational challenges, and misplacing things I had just laid down) made me more sensitive to my students' needs and challenges. A mother of one of my students with ADHD said "Out of sight, out of mind" and a light bulb went on in my brain! I needed to see things to keep them in mind! I created picture seating charts with the names of all my students and kept them in fron of me as I taught each of my five classes a day. I purchased transparent file folders and envelopes to keep papers in. I bought a transparent notebook with transparent dividers and pockets, as well as clear, hard plastic drawer systems and organizer boxes. I have taken this same idea home to my craft space and office. I hope this little tip is helpful, dear reader. Many brilliant, creative people have ADHD. If you or someone you love has this challenge I hope you'll read these books:
  • Driven to Distraction by Hallowell and Ratey
  • Women with Attention Deficit Disorder by Sari Solden
  • Journeys through ADDulthood by Sari Solden
  • You mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?! by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo
  • Think Fast! the ADD Experience Edited by Hartmann, Bowman with Burgess
  • The Edison Gene ADHD and the Gift of the Hunter Child by Thom Hartmann
  • ADD and Creativity tapping your inner muse by Lynn Weiss
  • Learning Outside the Lines by Jonathan Mooney and David Cole
  • ADD- friendly ways to Organize your Life by Kolberg and Nadeau

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