I hear this a lot, “You like to read?! I thought people with ADD couldn’t pay attention long enough to read.”
Yes, I like to read! A lot! I also enjoy writing and playing piano, and many other things that require me to pay attention.
Yes, ADD is a learning disorder. Yes, that means my brain doesn’t function 100% as it should, but it doesn’t mean I’m illiterate or stupid. It just means I have to work harder than some.
This reaction to my love of literature serves as another testament to how uneducated people are about ADD and how it actually affects the mind AND body. Here’s the thing, yes, an inability to pay attention is a struggle for those of us with ADD but it’s not about distraction, really, though it seems easy for teachers and parents to say children with ADD are easily distracted. It’s more about the effort it takes to get our brains to focus is so exhausting, that sometimes we need to check out. Even if that means simply staring out the window.
That said, someone with ADD also has this innate ability to hyper-focus, especially on things that we enjoy. And for someone like me, that has been practicing every technique available to manage ADD for years, I can find ways to “get in the zone” even when it’s something that’s not necessarily a passion of mine.
In this scenario, reading becomes an escape from the things that cause my brain to be overwhelmed. It becomes a way to check out. If you’ve researched ADD at all, you may have learned that there are actually several sub-sets of ADD. One of those being ADD with Anxiety, which is what I suffer from. So I allow myself to get lost in things like cleaning, reading, coloring, writing (pen to paper, not typing) and even organizing. These are things that don’t require me to force myself to focus but instead, I hyper-focus on these things as a means to tune out and recharge.
I’m curious to know what other misconceptions you’ve experienced.