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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
Sarah Jane Keyser : ADHD Coach
HELP: How do I turn off my Motor Mouth?
"No! You can't come!" Joey was stunned. Koko and Sammy, his best friends (or so he thought), had just told him that he couldn't play their new game with them. "You talk too much!", Koko threw back as they disappeared into the brush. Joey stood for a long time looking after them and then dejectedly wandered off in another direction. He ambled along sniffing and nibbling half -heartedly at the dry tasteless grasses. He came finally to a big swampy lake. Distant cousins, a family of hippopotami were splashing around in the muddy water. Mama was standing near the edge surveying her boisterous family. "Good evening Mama Tamus" and without waiting for a reply Joey started to tell Mama Hippopotamus all about his sorrow. "You know, they just walked off and left me. I was only trying to tell them about the neat spot I'd found for a good roll, that was when Miss Zebrette, she's our teacher, she's always mad at me you know, she was telling us to study for the herbology exam when this little lizard ran across the in front of me..." Joey went on and on, one phrase flowing into the next without a pause like ideas tumbling from a kaleidoscope. Finally, Mama Hippopotamus turned and waded into the lake; as she sank below the water she called back "Yes, Joey, you talk too much." Joey sighed and looked woefully after the retreating back of Mama Hippopotamus. "Hee hee hee, you sure do talk too much Joey" "Yeah, Joey, ha ha ha, talks too much" Joey went bright pink to the roots of his stripe less tail. He looked up to see who was tormenting him now. Two little monkeys were bouncing up and down just above his head. "W-w-who a-a-are you?" "I'm Chip" "and I'm Chap and we know all about you, Joey" "Well I can't help it", wailed Joey. "The words just keep falling out of my mouth, and if I stop I forget what I want to say. Can you help me, please." "Sure, we can help. Tell us your story now." Joey started to tell Chip and Chap how he wanted to play with his friends, but they didn't want him. After two sentences Chip yelled "Stop!" and threw a nut at Joey. Chap yelled "Look!" and threw another nut. Joey's mouth stopped moving and he looked with startled eyes at the monkeys. Then both together said "Listen!". Joey waited his ears straight up. Chip laughed, "That's a great story, go on" Chap said "Don't stop, What happened then?" Joey continued to tell his story. And every two or three sentences the monkeys would repeat : "Stop! Look! Listen!" until Joey learned to stop himself and look for the reaction of his new friends. "Gee whiz, do you think that's all it takes to play with my friends?" "It's a start. If you still have problems we'll come and throw more nuts at you." "Thanks a lot fellas." "See you again Joey" Chip and Chap said together.
(to be continued)
Some years ago, while I was still working, I was sitting next to a woman who talked a lot. This was before I knew anything about ADD and motor mouth. I asked her one day if she could think a bit before she talked. Her answer floored me. She said "I don't know what I think until I've said it." Oh! I could see that her brain was not wired like mine. I have to design what I want to say before I talk because my brain shuts down when I open my mouth.
On another occasion I had lunch with an acquaintance and couldn't get away until 4:00 pm, and then I was embarrassed to excuse myself. Her thoughts kept tumbling out in a constant flood of words. I couldn't find a single space to insert a word.
The problem for the motor-mouth is another form of disorganization. The thoughts are like wisps of clouds blowing in the wind; she can only capture them by letting them spill out of her mouth, and if interrupted she loses them. Putting them in order and editing them is not possible without some assistance.
The problem for the listener is to avoid being drowned in the tsunami of words. To interrupt or walk away is rude.
Help starts with self awareness. The speed talker needs to realize how his habit drives people away and then be open to guidance. Friends can help by using agreed signals (other than throwing nuts) to remind the driver to STOP, LOOK and LISTEN.
Zebra Tips : Learn to drive your Turbo Charged (ADHD) Brain
I went to Tucson AZ in May to attend the ADDA (Attention Deficit Disorder Association) conference (www.add.org). When you get a lot of people together all with ADHD the energy flows and the ambience is really special.
I went especially to hear Ned Hallowell, author of the "Distraction .." books, talk about alternative treatments. Here in Switzerland, as else where, people are reluctant to use medications and they aren't always effective anyway.
Dr. Hallowell offers a different approach to ADD treatment. The disease model using the words "disorder" and "deficit", he says, create a problem; they lead to shame, low expectations and frustration.
With his patients, he uses different mental images; he talks about a turbo-charged brain which just happens to have Chevrolet brakes. You win or you spin. And there are some things we need to work on.
Here are the points he mentioned.
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