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Zebra Stripes for ADHD
A monthly newsletter of stories tips and news for those concerned with ADHD, Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, No. 19
Sarah Jane Keyser : ADHD Coach
"Mirror, Mirror on the Wall", Who is the ADHDest of them all?
Snow White's step mother knew how to use her mirror. Do you? People with ADD often have low self-esteem and problems fitting into the outside world. They are different. Viva la difference! Yes, yes, the difference is a gift, a strength, but you still have to get along with other people. Even the most talented people have to work on themselves to make the most of those talents, even Tiger Woods. Over the years, I discovered that others see things to which I'm totally oblivious. I remember many, many years ago being greeted at the entrance to the lab where I worked by a security guard who called me "Smiley". I never knew why. Did I smile at him? I don't know. Or was he pulling my leg because I didn't smile? Just recently, at a bridge tournament, someone asked me if I had written the score which I had, and she said "Oh, we didn't think you had because it was legible." Oops! I was surprised to realize that people actually notice such details- yes that's it, the devil is in the details as they say. Then there are the times when other people address me by name and I don't have the foggiest idea who they are or where I've met them. When I learned about ADHD and met and talked with other people with ADHD; it all began to make sense. Poor memory for details, the inability to take in the outside world; my brain is usually busy inside, no time for the outside. Perhaps you feel that your were cast in a mold of steel and change is not an option; others have to change to fit you. If that's the case you may already have lost several jobs and a couple of spouses because people don't need to put up with you. When you are ready to change, take out your mirror, a full length mirror. Ask your mirror "How ADHD am I today?" Your mirror will tell you. Starting at the top: 1. Does your hair need cutting, washing, combing? 2. Do you have circles under your eyes? Do you look tired. Sleep deprivation can cause ADD-like behavior. Make a note to get more sleep. 3. Do you look wan and pale? Do you need more exercise to tone up your muscles and put color in your cheeks? 4. Are your teeth clean? Do they need attention? Healthy gums and teeth make for a great smile, and you need a smile for good relations. 5. Are your hands clean? Fingernails trimmed and clean? This is a big one for me. I pull a few weeds in the garden then go out only to realize that my finger nails still have dirt under them. Do other people notice? I don't know but I do know that many people are more observant than I am. 6. Do your clothes fit you? Are they clean and ironed? No spots on your shirt or pants? All the buttons are present and buttoned? The clothes you wear and the standard they need to meet depend on your environment. 7. Do your socks match? Do you have shoes on? Do they match? Mismatched socks is standard ADHD joke. 8. How's your posture? Practice standing and walking in different moods. Try walking like a gracious King/Queen or a determined warrior or a lover or a magician. What's the difference for you? 9. Last, smile to yourself, look yourself in the eye, say "Hi". Practice, out loud, saying "Hello, Tom" or "Hello Mary" or whoever you expect to meet during the day. A smile and a warm "Hello" is the beginning of good relations. Now you're ready to leave the house, today. What about tomorrow? You need to have this talk with your mirror everyday, but if you are ADHD how is this going to happen? Here are some ideas. Place the mirror near the door where you can't leave without seeing yourself. Mark the keywords, hair, hands, socks, buttons, etc on the mirror at the appropriate level. If you don't want to mark on the mirror, create a frame for the mirror from brown wrapping paper and mark the reminders on the paper, or use pictures instead of words, attach to the mirror. Now you have a permanent check list of questions to ask your mirror. You know and I know that there is still a problem: REMEMBERING to take time to talk to your mirror. Ask for help. Joey, the stripeless zebra, knows what it means to be different. He has volunteered to help. Down load a picture of Joey without his stripes Every time you do your mirror check before leaving, color in a stripe on Joey. When Joey has all his stripes give yourself a reward. If you think your are too old for such games, ask your 8 year old (or 10 year old or even 5 year old) to prompt you. I'm sure they will love to color in stripes on Joey and earn the reward. If they are ADHD too, you can help them learn these rules of good grooming.
Zebra Joke :
How do you diagnose ADHD in a chicken?
If it never gets across the road because of all the distractions.
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