one of the presenters at northern voice was vancouver ADD coach pete quily. he spoke on attention deficit disorder – ADD – for techies. let me share some of the information.
“the internet,” he said, “is the crack cocaine of people with ADD.”
one of the things that happens for people with ADD is that they don’t filter information as much or as effectively as others.
everything is interesting! everything is worthy of attention! and the more attention is given to something, the more there is a desire to squander it. dinner? an important phone call? later, later, let’s just look at one more page, load one more video, check the email one more time … and all of a sudden it’s 2 hours later and the brain, instead of getting much needed food or fresh air, is filled with even more factlets.
pete pointed out that ADD consists of three aspects: hyperactivity, impulsivity, and attention problems. not all three need to be present, and not in the same intensity. that is, a person may have only mild problems with intentional mental focus but may have great difficulties with hyperactivity and impulsivity. that’s important to note because different challenges tend to have different results.
for example, the person just described may have really good grades at school. when that person, years later, goes to see a doctor wondering whether her long-standing difficulties and general unease may be traced back to ADD, if the doctor is ill-informed, he or she may conclude that because the person had good grades in school they can’t possible have ADD.
paradoxically, one of the gifts of ADD can be the ability to be hyperfocused under certain circumstances. this is why ADD – attention deficit disorder – is a great misnomer. first, it’s not necessarily only about attention. second, often it’s not a deficit – in many ways, it’s actually a surplus of energy and creativity (pete quily likes to call it “attention surplus condition”). and third, if recognized and channeled the right way, it can be a treasure, not a disorder or disability.