I wrote the following post as though I were talking to an ADD kid rather than an ADD mom. It seemed more natural somehow, probably because that’s who I speak to and work with as a coach. I know that the moms out there will get my message just the same.
Spring break is upon us, and that means that the end of the school year isn’t far behind. For moms with ADD kids (and some older ADD kids, too), panic is starting to set in, centering on that all-important passing grade At this point, it may not even matter what the grade is, as long as you get credit for the class.
Part of the reason for this is that most people with ADD suffer from I’ve-Got-Plenty-of-Time syndrome(IGPT), which is a direct result of their inability to perceive time accurately. For people with ADD, time is elastic – it can seem to speed up or slow down dramatically, depending on what’s happening at the moment. ADDers are also notoriously bad at judging how long things take (which is why they are often late).
Now, here’s how IGPT syndrome relates to school performance: at the beginning of the school year, you had a fresh start. Shiny new backpack and school supplies, lots of clean, unused notebooks, and brand new pens. It was going to be a good year! Things were going to be different – you’d be organized, and on time. You’d keep up with stuff and not let it pile up or wait until the last minute.
And so it begins – you start off with high expectations and good intentions. And then, somewhere along the way (usually right around Halloween), things start to change, to deteriorate. You kind of start slipping back into old habits, and some of it’s not even your fault. You know you did that assignment, and you’ve tried really hard to stay organized, but somehow, when it came time to turn it in, it was nowhere to be found. Then you found out two days ahead of time that you had a huge report due; when did that get assigned, and how did you miss it?
So, OK, things are kind of bad, and your mid-term grades aren’t so great, but (you think to yourself), “Hey, it’s only October (or whatever), I’ve Got Plenty of Time!”
It’s April now; how many times have you given yourself that speech? And more importantly, is there anything you can do at this late date to salvage things? Well, maybe. It depends on how bad things are, and how willing you are to do the work. (By the way, this whole wait-til-the-last-minute-and-then-rush-in-with-a-plan-to-save-the-day thing plays right into ADDer’s need for excitement and the adrenaline rush. Just so you know – that is part of the reason you keep getting yourself into these messes, whether you know it or not.)
So what can you do? Sorry, that will have to wait until next time. I’m off to pick up my daughter from work. I am an ADD Mom, after all.