Wednesday, October 11, 2006

DAY IN THE LIFE of ADHD

By Kevin Anthony Stoda, KUWAIT (Reprinted upon request for comments)



As I swim laps at the Swimming Pool Complex off of Gulf Road north of Salmiya HERE in Kuwait. I often count the number of laps I swim in Arabic. . . .

arba’a, . . .
khamsa, . . .
sitta . . . .

Counting like this keeps me focused and helps me remember I live in an Arab land--even as I do a backstroke and try to make myself healthier. Sometimes, I count in Spanish, . . .

siete . . . .
ocho . . . .

German, French--or even Japanese. . . .

hachi . . . .
kyu . . . .


I also pray. I pray for a list of family back in the U.S.A.--and friends and business acquaintances here in Kuwait. A spiritual backbone often keeps me focused, too.

ashra . . . .


Although ADHD is not defined as a learning disability, its presence is manifested by the way it handicaps academic achievement and disturbs social interactions. Therefore, it is really a miracle for me that over the years as an adult, I have been able to acquire foreign language skills while living in France, Germany, Latin America, Japan, and the Middle East. . . .

eidash . . . .
ithnash . . . .
talatash . . . .

Earlier in the day--namely at lunchtime--I had been at the Al Kout Mall in Fahaheel. I had just picked up my new bifocals in town and spent the time enjoying the view of the sea, some distant dhows, several fountains, and the tower at the mall while I consumed a Thai dish from the food court. At my table on my left side, there was an article by the Clearinghouse for Adults with ADHD--ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

The third article nearby me, also sounds mundane and explains how to manage ones life by properly and regularly keeping a daily planner. . . .

sabatash . . . .
thamanstash . . . .

Another article which I had already read was beside the other two on the table and was laying opposite to my Thai noodles. That article was on how one goes about diagnosing ADHD. I--myself--had been diagnosed with ADHD by specialists at Texas A&M University about five years ago after going through a rigorous testing program by specialists (as outlined in that paper) over a period of a half-year. A third article, also lying nearby, was on how adults with ADHD can organize their rooms, spaces, and offices effectively. . . .

ashreen . . . .
wahidashreen . . . .
ithnashreen . . . .

One out of every ten people in the United States has a form of attention deficit. It is hypothesized that America may have more than its share of ADHD adults and children because as an immigrant country, it was settled by people who fit the description of the ADHD adult. . . . They were go-getters like Sir Richard Branson, the guy with ADHD who had founded Virgin Airlines and Virgin Record stores

arba’ashreen . . . .
khamsa’ashreen . . . .


If one browses through a clinical book on ADHD, one reads about those ADHDers who demonstrate hyperactivity (a) “often are on the go or they act as if driven by a motor”. In addition, they (b) “often run about or move up and down excessively in certain situations”. . . .

sabaaáshreen . . . .
thamantashreen . . . .

ADHDers are also impulsive: (c) “blurting out answers before questions have been completed”, (d) “often having difficulty awaiting their turn”, and (e) often interrupting or intruding on others”. I, myself, recall being told many times not to talk over other people and being told to wait my turn . . . .

thalateen . . .

One time, back in Germany two decades ago, I noticed as I placed coins in the old public telephone that as every few seconds passed, the phone made a beep--demanding more coins. Calling family back in the USA required a lot of coins! Now years later, I realize that that ancient payphone in Germany is a great metaphor for how someone with ADHD’s brain functions. . . .

talatateen . . . .
arbaátalateen . . . .


Putting that money into a pay phone is a great metaphor for how I feel when I am put on hold on the telephone, have to wait for someone to come to the phone, or must listen to a longwinded and sometimes unimportant message to me on the phone. That is, I hear a beep . . . every few seconds . . . . the beep tells me that I need to put in more coins, and as I do this and seconds go by, I realize that soon I will have no more coins. There is a countdown in my head . . . .
Five . . .
Four . . . .
Three . . . .
Two . . . .
One . . .

Soon, I will explode if I don’t hang up the phone, get up and walk around, and get a chance to relax or unwind soon. This need to stretch my muscles is helped by swimming also. . . .

khamsatalateen . . . .

Certainly, one reason I write e-mails (and sometimes impulsively send e-mails) has to do with the therapeutic value typing a message gives to me. That is, instead of hearing a payphone at the back of my brain going beep as I simply bite my tongue, I often interrupt. It is particularly hard to listen to others making unwieldy speeches or repeat points that seem clear already over-and-over again . . . .

sittatalateen . . . .
saba’atalateen . . .

As I puff-puff, and swim—gliding across the water—I recall other symptoms of ADHD of which I am guilty. These symptoms include: (f)”often failing to play close attention to details”, (g) “often losing things necessary for tasks or activities”, and (h) often not seeming to listen when being spoken to”. This last symptom is certainly true in my case because those with ADHD often have trouble reading or interpreting non-verbal communication very well. That is, without someone explaining what the unspoken message may be, I may not interpret it at all. . . . therefore I get impatient and imagine a payphone, as I run out of coins, beginning to beep at the back of my brain. . . .

tissatalateen . . . .
arba’een . . . .

Naturally, some other very important ADHD symptoms are these ever-present ones: ADHDers (k) “often have difficulty sustaining attention”, (l) “often are forgetting important things”, and (m) “often appear to be avoiding and disliking organizing tasks and activities”. . . .

talataarba’een . . . .

Luckily, I have learned to break complex tasks down into small parts so that I can take on difficult and complicated chores in order to make most of my many deadlines.

arbaa’arba’een . . . .

Oops, I got carried away. I swam a hundred extra meters. Now, I have to get out of the pool, go home, and type something for THE TEACHER blog.

I wonder what I should write about. . . .?

BEEP![1]



________________________________________________________________________

[1] Kevin Stoda’s website is http://geocities.com/eslkevin/ . Recently Kevin traveled to his 84th (Jordan) and 85th (Sri Lanka) countries in 23 years of working and wandering. He recommends those who desire to know more about ADHD to check out this website for more information on the topic and helps to live by: http://www.chadd.org/ .

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