Teachers with ADHD

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Peregrin5, Mar 29, 2016.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Mar 29, 2016

    So I finally gone and did it. Got diagnosed with adult ADHD. It is totally not a surprise to me. The only reason I didn't do it before is because I've been able to manage well so far with tips and tricks I've learned over time to maintain focus (Pomodoro technique, etc.). I also think teaching is one of those jobs where people with ADHD excel because it's very high interest and active. The only part that sucks is grading (requires high focus to do a very boring job). Some of the best teachers I know are either ADHD or OCD (some may not be aware of it though). I also relate very well to my ADHD students and understand when they have issues focusing and plan my curriculum to meet their needs because I know their needs very well.

    Anyway, I just wanted to reach out there. Anyone else who teaches as a teacher with ADHD? What are your experiences? Do you think it affects you at all?
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I've never been diagnosed with ADHD, but I do have high-functioning autism (well... Asperger Syndrome... Not sure exactly what classification that puts me in for DSM-V). Honestly, I think it's just a matter of knowing what works best for you. I definitely think I do well with the "quirky" kids because... Well, you know. The grading is a headache, and I sometimes struggle to make sure I don't launch into long soliloquies about my own life. I think being a teacher was a good fit for me because the kids don't really pick up on the fact that I'm a clown shoe disaster at any sort of social interaction.
     
  4. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    I have ADD. I teach kindergarten which helps because our activities are never very long but my organizational skills are lacking because I am a major procrastinator. However, I hide it pretty well from my P and parents. Also, I lose things constantly such as my stapler, books, copies of worksheets. My students actually help me find things sometimes. They think it's a game which is why kindergarten is perfect for me. The bad thing is that I exhaust what little organizational skills I do have at work and I have none left for my home life which is driving my family crazy.
     
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  5. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I know teachers who have ADHD--some are amazingly good and some are amazingly bad. These are ones that I know who have shared this with me and have been officially diagnosed. The good ones are incredibly dedicated and find a way to make a difference. The poor ones simply aren't that dedicated to teaching. IMO teaching is complicated and the label ADHD doesn't mean success or failure as a teacher.
     
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  6. bros

    bros Phenom

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    IF the ADHD is causing issues, I would suggest biofeedback - especially if you having anxiety with it, as those two are bedfellows. I have heard that biofeedback can be very helpful for ADHD (and anxiety)

    http://www.additudemag.com/adhdblogs/4/8888.html
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130896102
    http://kjponline.com/index.php/kjp/article/view/6 - refers to children

    DSM-V tosses it all under Autism, which is a bit silly.
     
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  7. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Peregrin, I hope you find something that is helpful to address your ADHD.
    gr3teacher, executive function issues are common in people with Asperger's Syndrome. It isn't always diagnosed as ADHD, but many of the symptoms and difficulties overlap.
     
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  8. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Thanks, bros. I will keep this in mind for someone I know. I know research started a while about regarding ADHD and biofeedback, but I was not sure how far it has come or that it is especially helpful with those who have anxiety.
     
  9. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    I think I would have been tested for ADD when I was in elementary school but the testing didn't exist back then. I do recall a 3rd grade teacher telling the class my new name was "Pokey Joe", and an elementary teacher initiating a class discussion about how I tend to daydream in class and what the students had noticed about it. I'm glad most teachers today are aware of more productive measures of assistance for ADD students!!! I also, as I've mentioned before, had a bacterial infection when I was 12 that went to my brain; I was embarrassed by my tics that developed from that, but most of my friends ignored them. I recall my Dad used a type of biofeedback to help me gain mastery over the tics. Back to the point, no one has a perfect brain (or perfect rest of the body, for that matter). I agree with Peregrin5, I can relate to the ADHD students, and frankly, I've enjoyed teaching them in the classroom.
     
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  10. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I can relate to most of the things here, although I've not been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. I'm consistently losing things and my cleaning/working process can be very inefficient. I do realize that I am this way, though, and when I have a lot to do writing lists is really helpful to me.

    Teaching is a good profession for people who like to stay busy. I walk around the classroom for a lot of the day. It would be very difficult for me to be in a chair all day long. I also feel that I better understand my challenging kids - I really relate when they have a hard time sitting still for long periods.

    The upside of that all is hyperfocus, which often accompanies attention difficulties. I can definitely get ultra involved in a task.

    ETA: Pomodoro is the best! As long as you actually remain on task when the timer's going haha.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2016
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  11. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Sounds interesting, but $2000-5000 for treatment?! Ack! I think most of the strategies they provide in that treatment can be done on your own for free (and I've already done some of them like meditation, and memory training). Although I've heard of brain EEG activity measurement tools that are now part of the consumer market like MUSE: http://www.gaiam.com/product/muse-brain-sensing-headband/05-61561_2.html (only 300 dollars). Might be interesting to see if someone's used this to treat ADHD.

    And thanks a2z. As I said, my ADHD doesn't affect me much in my profession, but I'm hoping to see some differences in focus during my summer positions (I like to intern for different labs or companies over the summer and they usually require one to do boring tasks for long periods of time) and to help with grading. I'm just curious to see how medication will affect me if at all.
     
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  12. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Sometimes insurance will pay for biofeedback - from what I have seen in the rules for my dad's plan from work for the last few years (He gets a copy of the rules every year even though he doesn't get it, he gets a copy just in case he needs to get it) - they usally cover a limited number of biofeedback sessionsa year with preapproval
     
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  13. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    ....clown shoe disaster at any sort of social interaction. Too funny! For whatever differences or quirks, working with kids is the best. I don't want to work with adults at all now and am very happy to be tutoring because the only interaction with adults other than parents is via e-reports.
     
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  14. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    This is so me! I don't teach kindergarten, never could, but I am always misplacing things. I taught 5th grade for many years and one time I lost the owl pellets when the P was in observing me! I looked and chatted with the kids at the same time about the activity, and eventually had to stop. I looked at the class and just told them I couldn't remember where I put the owl pellets. l looked in my locker storage, the science boxes, the desk drawer...and then I asked "Can you think of anywhere else I might have put them in this room?" I can't remember where they turned up, but they did quickly and we moved on with the investigation. The P actually gave me good marks for asking the kids for help.

    I was diagnosed with ADHD in the third grade and was medicated until high school when I put my foot down and refused to check in with the office anymore. I haven't taken meds since, but there are days when I swear I need them. These past couple years my moods at home have become more drastic when stress hits. I just don't know what, if anything, this would do to me at work.
     
  15. Kevin A. Stoda

    Kevin A. Stoda New Member

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    Yes, I didn't even think of getting diagnosed till I was in late 30s and had just read DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION for the first time. That was over 15 years ago, when I went back to try to get a PhD in college (to no avail). I took the second term opportunity to get thoroughly tested and observed by counselor, psychiatrist, and psychologist. (The observation and meeting with these professionals at university actually took 6-8 months, so I cannot believe I see reports of students abusing mediations and having doctors diagnose them in a day or a week with ADHD on programs like THE DOCTORS) .
    Only later, did I learn that both ADHD and Autism were prevalent on at least my mother's side of the family. It was a relief to be diagnosed and helpful to get medication for stressful times.
     
  16. Kevin A. Stoda

    Kevin A. Stoda New Member

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    Yes, I didn't even think of getting diagnosed till I was in late 30s and had just read DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION for the first time. That was over 15 years ago, when I went back to try to get a PhD in college (to no avail). I took the second term opportunity to get thoroughly tested and observed by counselor, psychiatrist, and psychologist. (The observation and meeting with these professionals at university actually took 6-8 months, so I cannot believe I see reports of students abusing mediations and having doctors diagnose them in a day or a week with ADHD on programs like THE DOCTORS) .
    Only later, did I learn that both ADHD and Autism were prevalent on at least my mother's side of the family. It was a relief to be diagnosed and helpful to get medication for stressful times. I imagine that knowing I have ADHD has enabled me to share more confidently with students who have self-doubts or reading/writing issues.
     
  17. renard

    renard Companion

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    I am one of the few who has generally outgrown it. I was on Ritalin trials when I was younger. I did okay later and seemed fairly focused. I do still strange things like lose things constantly and need a job where I have access to 10+ computer windows at once to not stare into space.

    I thought I was scott-free! I didn't realize it was largely genetic and then I started having kids. My oldest son is quite severe and requires 1:1 in class for it. Oh boy. I probably do better than other parents as I know a bit of how that feels, so I don't take it personally. So, yeah, ADHD is a constant part of my life but not as a teacher anymore LOL.
     
  18. Jac91

    Jac91 Rookie

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    I have ADD and noticed it immediately when I started teaching before then I was able to get through school without much effort. However I finally went to get medicated for it because it was effecting my organizational skills in my class. My co-teacher could tell the difference between me being on medication and off because I can sustain focus on things for longer periods. I think having ADD does help me relate to the students better and I have a higher tolerance for noise/students fidgeting because I know that they are doing it without thought and not being disrespectful. I do still tend to lose things but my students are great little helpers! Grading does take me longer just because at the end of the day my medication has worn off so I really have to make a plan and find a place to not get distracted to do it.

    It really doesn't hinder my teaching and I think it helps me think of interesting/different ways to do things because I relate it back to myself!
     
  19. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    hmm, I wanted to answer in this thread a year ago, but I guess, I felt it wasn't my time yet. Now I feel like I know much more about my ADHD and also about the school system. For 9 years I've been trying to find my niche in teaching. I tried preschool, special education preschools, subsitute preschool teacher, TSS (working with special needs students on behavior in the classroom or at home), substitute teacher at all levels, subsitute teacher's aide, ESL aide, and finally, my last job was a day-to-day Special Education teacher's aide. Hm, pretty long list, now that I look at it. I tossed it all out of the window about a month ago when I left school. I'm hoping never to come back there again.

    I think my ADHD hurt me big time in teaching and made me look what I am, very non-standard and non-conforming. Having mental problems on top of that added to the effect. Anxiety, bipolar disorder. I have learned to manage my symptoms so well over the years, most people had no idea if I was in the mania mood, or in depression, what was happening to me. I know it because even my closest friend was not aware. Well, I pretty experienced at hiding, I've spend years doing it. When I did make some mistakes based on my inability to control myself I usually apologezed, admitted my fault. And of course, I never talked about my problems in schools. this is not in my culture.

    So, people didn't know. However, they felt it. How do I know? I can write a short novel on all of the situations when I've been thrown out of various classes, about all the situations when I was viewed as a “foreigner, an outsider”, about things that school personnel did to me that would make my friend incredulous when she hear it and she would ask “Why do you let them bully you and don't stand for yourself?”

    As for working with special needs students for many years, I not only relate better to my students, I ONLY relate to the students, special needs in particular. It's the school personnel I've been trying to relate to all these years, and obviously, didn't succeed :(
     
  20. Hokiegrad1993

    Hokiegrad1993 Comrade

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    Dec 9, 2017

    Hi I have ADHD and was also just diagnosed. One helpful thing that may have already been said is take your struggles and use them as positives toward your students. For example, I cannot stand lectures and being talked to as a method of teaching. It goes one ear and out the other but group activities short lessons and hands on activities helps the information stick and I plan to incorporate that in all my teaching.
     

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