Why do I interrupt so much?

Conversations tend to have a rhythm.

Think of a jump rope with a person on either end.

You need to jump in or out of the rope’s 360° rotation without interfering with the rope.

You must keep hopping so the rope passes under your feet.

With ADHD you may have a hard time spotting the rhythm. If you do, slower processing speed often leaves you a few steps behind. Hence continuing on discussing a subject the group has moved on from.

This also explains a reason you and I interrupt so often. If you can’t time your entrance in exactly the right spot the rope will hit you and stop.

That’s what an interruption feels like. It disrupts the rhythm of the conversation and frustrates those involved.

I’ve learned to use simple hand gestures to alert others that I’d like to contribute. If they choose to let me in great, if not that’s fine too.

A tendency to interrupt stays with people and works against you. I’ve gotten better and continue to work on it.

High School and ADHD weren’t made for each other. BUT!

Adjustments can be made to improve the fit between the two so it’s less like walking through quicksand and more like an unpaved road.

Even I have a hard time imagining a fit so precise that a student with ADHD feels zero friction between their desire to learn in that setting and the system’s ability to fully meet that child where she’s at.

The system is simply not able or willing to be flexible enough. At this time that is.

But let’s not shake our finger at the system when it’s less than perfect. We must continuously strive for better, as a parent, educator and student.

Better strategies, better understanding, better communication and most important is to flush out the crappy thinking that stops you dead in your tracks before taking any action.

Each member of the student’s team is likely experiencing some degree of overwhelm over the level and amount of responsibility placed upon them for a successful school year.

As a parent, an educator and student. You make natural allies in this process because you each want similar things.
We’re all in this together and together is how we’ll succeed.

The opportunity cost of being focused

I don’t want to take meds for my ADHD, it kills my creativity. I saw the opposite with my son Aidan (17). Who when finally able to sit and concentrate long enough produced beautiful works of art.

Here, I thought, is evidence that belief is incorrect.

Which brings us to this summer. At the suggestion of his Dr., we elected to take my son Connor (14) off his ADHD meds for the summer.

He was behind in both height and weight. We hoped without the appetite suppression of the ADHD meds he might eat better and catch up.

That is in fact what happened, he grew 2 1/4 inches and has a more solid frame.

That’s not all, we saw a side of Connor we hadn’t seen before.

His smile was brighter and more often, he had a razor sharp whit that seemed to come out of no where.

Then a few days ago I encouraged him to start taking his meds again in preparation for the start of the school year.

I kid you not, it was like Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

His sparkle died, his affect flattened, his attitude was more, “Meh” and the humor stopped.

My wife and I noticed this concern with one another.

Connor has always been shy so we attributed his being quiet and more withdrawn in general to his shyness. He has been on his meds for years and usually through the summer (his choice) so the quiet Connor is the one we knew.

I can’t recall how many times we laughed out loud this summer at something he said. Encouraging him to allow his peers to see this amazing side of him.

Only for him to resume his meds and essentially lock that part of himself away.

We had a talk with Connor and shared our observations, as well as our concerns. Connor said even though he understood our concerns, he thought the increased ability to focus at school was important.

On weekends he’d skip his meds so he could be more himself.

Who wins in this scenario?

The teachers get a quiet, studious kid who isn’t “disruptive”. A kid whose creativity and unique perspective on the world isn’t in that classroom.

Sure, Connor can pay better attention in class. He still forgets to write down his assignments and forgets instructions. A work in progress.

I’m afraid he’s learning to become an accomplished, people pleasing drone. Instead of a child filled with the possibilities granted to him by an imagination on hiatus during the school year.

It breaks my heart and I’m still struggling with it.

Every child is clearly different. Aidan thrives on the meds and they’re an essential tool in his toolbox.

For Connor it seems he’s paying a high price for focus, the price may be the opportunity to express himself fully.

There is another way, I’m sure of it and I will find it.

Why an ADHD diagnosis doesn’t have to burn your biscuit

From one point of view it’s a list of criteria created by a group of Psychiatrists, in closed door meetings to describe the experience of people who are not part of those conversations.

These criteria are general and don’t appreciate individual nuance.

What a diagnosis does not account for is mindset, determination, resourcefulness, creativity and other amazing qualities.

Qualities that often defy the myopic view of what a person with that diagnosis can accomplish.

One of the best ways to put your creative mind to use is by finding the equivalent of emergency exits, trap doors, windows. Those unconventional ways of working around the challenges of your ADHD.

The conventional approach remains a desire to teach a student with ADHD how to find their way into the box their peers without ADHD are encouraged to fit into.

I’m not saying teachers do this but the system teachers are handcuffed into honoring certainly does.

I see small changes happening in some districts, spearheaded by true thought leaders. But the changes are excruciatingly slow.

Here’s one idea for dealing with this reality in the meantime.

Do your best to understand the inside the box rules that still drive much of the world.

This is important research and preparation for you.

Because the time will come when they want better results than they’ve been getting but can’t seem to think beyond the limits of the box they’ve cozied themselves into.

Then here you are. Someone who has committed herself to installing a bunch of escape doors and windows into the sides of the box.

So many windows and escape hatches that the walls of the box collapse.

Then watch the minds around you be blown by your creative and innovative thinking.

It’s ironic how a system so committed to honoring an antiquated box, will often come to folks like us when they finally realize they’re trapped by their own creation.

A diagnosis doesn’t need to be a declaration of permanent disability. When it can be a fire that forges the kind of creative thinking that moves society forward.

Do the work!

To be clear! My ADHD is as bad as it’s ever been. It has it’s gifts but for the most part it’s a huge pain in the ass.

Hey overly positive meme people, you can acknowledge both sides of the ADHD coin without sucking the positivity out of the conversation.

In fact, it’s an incredible disservice to do otherwise.

What if every time a child came to you asking for help you replied with, “Don’t sweat it. Your ADHD is a superpower and some day you’ll realize that.”

No! What she’ll realize is that her concerns are invisible to people who feel righteous in their denial under the guise of wanting to see disabilities in a positive light.

We aren’t asking to have sunshine blown up our assess. We’re asking to be seen as capable of more than a diagnosis suggests we are.

Now ADHD isn’t all bad, there are parts of it that are down right Amazing!

Yet the real challenges of it can weigh you down and take a lot of the joy out of life if you don’t act to mitigate their impact on your daily life.

The ability to be productive and accomplish what you want is the result of a growth mindset and relentless pursuit of strategies to help you work around your areas of challenge.

Not everyone will do the work though. Not everyone will experience what they’re truly capable of either.

Schools can do better with their ADHD students in one specific way

Schools can do better with their ADHD students in one specific way.

Get your school a translator.

When a school creates a bilingual program it hires a teacher that can speak English and the native language of the students in the program.

When it comes to students with ADHD, they have such a unique way of approaching the world that people who don’t think that way are clueless to it.

Teachers do their best with increasing demands and diminishing resources.

But imagine the power of having access to someone who knew what it was like to see the world through the eyes of someone with ADHD.

Someone who knew exactly where a teacher and student are not connecting and could help student and teacher get on the same page.

I know some schools train one of their staff to be the go to person for adhd or autism and many are quite good.

But an important issue remains, you don’t know what you don’t know which gets you into trouble when you meet a student that doesn’t fit what you’ve been taught. You know where I’m going with this.

Having someone on-site is convenient and often more cost effective which I completely understand and respect.

My focus is on increasing success for both teacher and student with ADHD by helping them “get” each other.

There will always be fundamental gaps in the ability of someone without ADHD to understand someone with it.

That goes for everyone.

Knowing this about yourself is a strength. It compels you to look beyond yourself for information and guidance.

Want to know how to tell if you’re bumping up against a blind spot or don’t understand things as well as you think?

It’s when you’re consistently not getting the results you want.

That’s when it’s time to contact me.

4 lessons from my morning drive

Hey there, my friends, Brian King here. If you are familiar with me, you know that I like to use metaphor.

And I like to find lessons pretty much anywhere that I can.

Because when you’re able to do that you’re reminded constantly what your principles are and what you stand for.

I had to take my wife to work this morning, and I live out in the country, farm country. So there’s a lot of critters and whatnot.

I made several small observations this morning, that I think are indicative of larger lessons, so I wanted to share them with you.

The first one was, and I’m gonna start this with a question. If birds can fly as high as they do, why on earth do they keep flying right in front of your car?

I don’t understand why it happens so much out here.

So there was a bird, I hope he made it by like, this much. He flew in front of my car and barely made it past.

So the lesson from that is, if you fly low, because you’re trying not to be noticed, or you’re trying to stay safe, it doesn’t prevent you from getting hit.

Now, there are a lot of people in this life that try to navigate this whole experience as much as possible without any risk. And it’s simply not possible.

No, unless you are living in a coma, or in complete isolation and experiencing no growth whatsoever. That’s the only way you’re going to avoid risk.

If you’re going to fly, fly high, don’t be afraid to be noticed. Put yourself out there, yeah, you’re going to be a little bit more exposed. And you’re going to be subject to different kinds of dangers and risks.

But you’re not going to get hit by a car because you’re flying so low. That’s the first lesson.

The second one is I saw a dead possum in the middle of the road. I’m going to spare you the details. But whenever I see a critter that didn’t make it, I asked questions like, you know, did it not see the car coming? You know, why does this keep happening? And I’m not sure.

But the lesson that came to my mind is, when you’re in an environment, you have to be aware of the the opportunities as well as the risks, you know, so a lot of people say, Oh, this is a great idea. Let’s do this, you know, nothing can stop us blah, blah, blah, then they do it.

And something comes along that derails them and they say, well, you never thought of that we didn’t consider that. Well, my question is, did you consider it at all?

Now there’s a risk, of course of people trying to over prepare or overthink it and think that they’ve covered all of their bases, when the reality is, no you can’t think of all the risks, not necessarily.

So you’re going to take your risks, you’re going to have some setbacks, hopefully, you’re not going to get run over. Because you anticipated some of the big risks. But it’s important to look at both sides of it. That’s the second lesson.

The third one is I have an older car, and it can only really get one radio station.

Fortunately, it plays a lot of songs that I like, but also songs I don’t like.

I remember when I used to live in the suburbs, I could just hit the search button. And it would find me the next best station or the next best song.

I rarely had the experience of sitting through a song that I really didn’t like, or didn’t care for, or bother me or whatever.

But if I want to listen to the radio, I’ve got to be willing to listen to a lot of songs I don’t like in order to get around the song I do like, now that is really a metaphor for life.

Because there are people these days, some of the younger folks who think everything should be fun, everything should be entertaining, there should be no inconveniences.

There should be nothing dislikable to any degree anywhere in your life experience.

I need to be willing to sit through some discomfort, some things I don’t like, because I know it’s on the way to something I do like, okay, final lesson.

Final lesson! There are a lot of hawks out here. And I saw a hawk trying to balance on a very thin, what I’m guessing as a telephone wire.

It was bumbling and it was clumsy. And it was putting its beak down and grabbing the wire and trying to balance and it was just having one a heck of a time.

The thought that came to my mind was, hey, bird, you need a stronger foundation, you need something that’s going to support you so that you can stand firm and stand tall.

A lot of us have a ready fire aim approach to life. And in some situations, that’s helpful. But for the most part, it’s reckless.

And what you really need in order to feel confident and secure enough to move forward is you have to have a stable enough foundation underneath you.

Do you have the right support system?

Do you have the right strategies?

Do you know what you need to know to get started? Not to go the distance because we know we learn as we go along. But to get started.

You need to be able to stand on a more solid foundation.

So those are four observations I made this morning in the 20-30 minutes or so it took to take my wife to work.

But if you’re really paying attention to life, and you’re noticing everything around you, and you ask yourself, you know what, what’s the lesson here?

What’s the lesson for me and the experience of this tree or this bird or whatever it is. So I just wanted to share those observations with you.

Hopefully they’re helpful. You can go ahead and pass this along if you think that there’s other people that can benefit from it. And until we talk again, this has been Brian Thanks for being you.

Want to learn more about developing the mindset I described here. Click here to explore my current offers. 

How hot can you handle it?

I originally shared a variation of this on social media but I’m going to expand upon it here, why, cause you’re my favorite in the whole wide world 😉 

​​Mindset may not rid you of the challenges of ADHD, but it has everything to do with for long long you keep going. 

How many things in life have you had to push through? I mean really work hard and sometimes end up with a result you don’t like. 

How’d you respond, “I’m never doing that again” or “That was a waste of time.”

Not really the cry of a resilient ADHD Warrior (someone with ADHD who keeps challenging themselves regardless of their difficulties).​​​​

It’s the cry of someone who values winning above learning.

Responding with, “Well that was an education” turns an undesirable outcome into part of the process of becoming better. It isn’t the end.

Case in point,​​​​​​ ​​yesterday
 was the hottest day I can remember since the MS was diagnosed in 2017.
My wife said it reached 100°F

​I spent most of the day in bed, trying to stay cool. Yes the A/C was on. 

​It became increasingly hard to move as my joints and muscles tightened. I’m guessing as the temperature increased. 

​Yes I drank plenty of water which had nothing to do with the symptoms anyway. 

​The pain in my legs was like fire and for a time I could neither feel or move my left arm. 

​I’m proud of myself for the self talk I managed during all this. 

​Once the sun set I began feeling better. As difficult as it was I kept coming back to the process, “Just another minute, just get through it, one breath at a time. It was like mindfulness on steroids.”

I wasn’t trying to win anything or beat anyone. I simply focused on enduring the overwhelm of the experience until I came out the other side. I couldn’t do much more to change the situation but I could choose my mindset throughout the storm.​​ 

​​Attitude is the secret weapon in managing ADHD as it determines your approach to seeking and using strategies that can help you live more fully. 

Your greatest tool is between your years but so few take the time to learn how to use it.

What has social media done to improve relationships for people with ADHD?

Hey there, friends, Brian King here. It’s my personal opinion that social media is one of the best things to ever happen to human relationships. Hear me out here.

One of the things that I discovered, when I really got to know things like Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, is it helped me realize just how much unnecessary fluff there is in human communication.

In fact, when I first started exploring what it meant to  have ADHD, dyslexia, and all of the language processing challenges that come along with that, in my case, my ability to remember everything that’s being said to me, all the different facts, so on very, very difficult for me to remember.

It’s not because I haven’t put the effort into learning all these different memory tricks. It’s because my brain simply doesn’t hold on to it. It’s a working memory problem.

The other piece of this is social nuance, things that require me to read between the lines, more abstract things, lot of it goes way over my head. For some people, they don’t catch the nuance at all. They just catch the concrete stuff.

Not to mention, there is a lot of being extemporaneous putting a lot of unnecessary detail as you tell the story.

And it’s very difficult for us to keep track of what’s the important stuff? What do you really want us to know? And a lot of us growing up are not taught to self advocate and ask for what it is that we need.

Any clarifying questions like can you repeat that again? Or Could you expand on this part, are often met with frustration? You know, people that say, “Man, you got to pay better attention”, or “You should have been listening the first time”, “I hate repeating myself”, all kinds of reasons why.

This still baffles me all the reasons why you don’t want to put the effort into being better understood.

Okay, you don’t want to clarify, you don’t want to repeat yourself. And I’m giving you the opportunity to be understood by me. And you’re fighting me on it. Does that make sense?

But on social media, it is so much easier to cut to the chase, to just show up and say, “Hey, can I ask you a question”? “Hey, I want to share this information with you.” And people don’t question it?

Not necessarily.

“Why are you sending me this article?” or “Hey, how was your day Tommy, how the kids are, let’s catch up.” A lot of that doesn’t happen on social media. Sometimes it does.

But for folks like myself who really need it short and sweet. It’s much easier for us to simply cut to the chase. Ask for what you need, deliver the information you want. And move on the same for texting, email.

It hasn’t depersonalized communication, I’ll tell you why.

Because there are people that I will go meet at a noisy coffee shop. I try to avoid the peak hours. But there are people that I will deal with that melee for just to be in their presence. Or I will fire up the webcam even when I’m tired.

I know at the end of the conversation with this person, I will be energized. So it’s not that I’m completely shunning relationships, I am prioritizing them more highly, in that I can have more people in my life. But I don’t have to have them at the same intensity as if it were in person.

There are certain people that I can take their personal energy, I can take it on web chat, I can take it in person. But there are some people that they’re wonderful. They have a wonderful influence on my life. But man are they way too intense, or they are so laid back. I start to doze off talking to them, not because they’re boring, but because my nervous system needs a greater level of intensity to wake up.

I know who those people are. And all the different points in between relationships are on a spectrum as well, just as ADHD, or Asperger’s or any other challenges on a spectrum.

Buffers, like Facebook, texting. Those are essential to helping us protect our energy, protect our bandwidth. Just find the balance of what it is we need in order to be effective in relationships.

I’ll tell you, if I had to interact face to face with everybody in my life that I need to interact with, I wouldn’t make it very far. You know, it’s like signing up for a marathon and then sprinting out of the gate and wondering why you got exhausted after the first hundred yards.

You need to be able to buffer to protect your energy to protect your bandwidth. And social media, texting technology gives us that. And I can’t reiterate enough.

I highly suspect it’s the people like me a lot of them a lot smarter than me, who invented this technology as a way for them to be able to have human connection and contact without absolutely exhausting themselves. But that’s just my opinion on it.

So use digital communication liberally use it the way you need it in order to be able to meet your social needs, your meet your career goals, your personal goals in a way that’s not going to so exhaust you that relationships become a source of pain. 

So that’s my two cents. Hopefully this has been useful for you. If so, please share it with somebody who really needs to hear this message. Until we talk again soon. This has been Brian Thanks for being you.

What do you have to lose?

No photo description available.

What’s in it for me?

A common question when presented with an opportunity. Here’s the issue.

Gaining something isn’t the always the ideal outcome of an opportunity.

Losing may be what you’re actually looking to experience.

For example, I meditate every day to reinforce my capacity for equanimity.

I also do it to shed any tendency to emotionally react to things.

When I became a parent I learned to let go of many things to stop driving myself crazy with self doubt and criticism.

I invite you to share things you had to let go of to be a more effective parent:

Knowing everything – our heads are loaded with opinions supercharged by emotion. When the emotion is stirred we vomit opinions all over our kids in the least effective way. Virtually guaranteeing we’ll be dismissed as irrational by our kids.

Drama – Worst case scenarios are useful for helping you to see how out of hand a worry driven imagination can become. But when used to try and instill fear, e.g. “If you stay on this path you’re gonna end up blah, blah, blah.”

These scenarios can seem unrealistic to a young kid with no point of reference to help them appreciate what you’re talking about.

What is a good teacher is natural consequences.

Rescuing – I set myself up for a huge fall when I believed I could protect my boys from pain and suffering.

You simply can’t protect your child from the human condition or naive, short sighted, often impulsive decisions kids make.

Your adult brain functions at a different level of emotional maturity (hopefully) and self discipline than your child.

You’ve achieved that in part due to simple biology. Which means, your child’s brain isn’t as developed as yours so don’t make the mistake of thinking your child can simply grow up, so to speak.

Being the Hero – I used to want to impress my boys and everyone else for that matter. That was my ego and insecurities talking.

Nowadays I want to model how much more fully you can experience life by just being human.

By letting go of the fear of taking risks and replacing it with a yearning for discovery and growth.

Show your kids how to learn and grow instead of demanding it.

I think you’ll like those results better.