An Observation made by Scott Burr – Responded to by Lynn Weiss
There are benefits to the A.D.D. brain style and misconceptions about it. The real essence of this issue may be more productively viewed through a lens of Brain Styles and Performance Capabilities of all people.
As we each make our choices to fit with other people’s agendas versus our own we cross into the territory covered by the Core Components of Human Nature (CCHN). Then, we come face to face with the need to develop a Sense of Trust, Self-awareness, Competence, Powerfulness and Self-control.
To be truly free of judgments from others, people with A.D.D. characteristics must realize the value of their own brain style to achieve true self-worth. Scott Burr
Attributes of ADD/ADHD are neither better nor worse than those of people with another style of brain construction. My vision of the implications of brain construction with regard to how people perceive, associate, and express the world around them is graphic.
It seems to me that we could look at a continuum from left to right or right to left—doesn’t matter. On one end, say the right, you would find folks who have nearly all ADD/ADHD attributes (which I will below). On the far left end of the continuum, you would find folks who have no ADD/ADHD attributes.
I’ve often called the ADD end the Analog end and the left non-ADD end Linear. By no means am I wed to these, but they do serve to describe the differences.
Some years ago I worked with a prison psychologist who I could instantly tell was far on the left/linear end of my line. We were preparing to do a group with inmates suspected of have ADD traits. We decided to take a typical ADD checklist and then planned to compare our scores.
Well, my colleague scored 2 ADD points out of 60 possible. I scored 53 points out of 60. Neither of us was surprised that we were different. We just laughed. As we planned the group agenda, we found that we were continually translating to one another as we attempted to describe what we were trying to do and how we planned to do it. Oh my, did we work differently. So differently, that we couldn’t merge our approaches.
We decided to take a description of our work attempts to the group meeting and used the differences to teach about ADD. It worked well to help the inmates understand the effects of their own ADD attributes and the responses they got from spouses, friends, employers, supervisors and guards at the prison. From there we were able to help them by using ourselves as models of what to do to bridge the gap filled with differences.
Another time, I put on a workshop in which I had pretested the participants with an ADD checklist. I identified approximately 1/3 of the participants as have a lot of ADD attributes, 1/3 have very few, and 1/3 who I called Bridge People have pretty much an even number of ADD and non-ADD attributes.
Then I gave the group three different assignments. First I gave everyone a simple linear activity. Needless to say those with few ADD traits finished first. The Bridge People finished soon after and the ADD people did not finish the task, though it was quite simple. They busied themselves telling stories and getting acquainted with one another.
Next I gave the three groups a task that required mixed traits to accomplish. It came out as you would expect with all of the groups finishing it, but doing so in quite different ways. The Bridge People finished first, but not by much.
Finally, I gave the three groups an ADD process task. The ADD folks came up with a highly entertaining, creative response to the task–a marketable result. The non-ADD folks created a flyer describing the task. It was boring! Finally, the Bridge People shared that they were very frustrated with the task. They knew what they thought they should do. But as soon as they would begin to do what they thought they ought to do, their ADD-creative side would flare up, pulling them in that direction—a direction that they wanted to follow. Then their non-ADD side would again call them to do what they thought they should do. But as a result the individuals would get depressed about leaving their ADD attributes out. This group described themselves as being frustrated over completing the task satisfactorily.
What I learned from these experiences was that we all need each other. Teamwork and the honoring of individual differences is the key to market success, social success, creative success and cooperative living success for all people. No one is up. No one is down. No one is right nor is anyone wrong. And for sure no one is “disabled.”
Each of us is valuable, worthwhile, and needed. May we each honor those who are different. Lynn Weiss