Managing ADD/ADHD: Where are my keys?

By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH


Quite possibly my favorite trait of an ADD/ADHD person is their ability to misplace so many important things in a variety of places. One would surmise that as time goes on, the number of places that their sun glasses, cell phone, wallet, homework or keys would land would be limited or at the very least consistent with previous locations but this is not the case. Rather, those with an advantage of ADD/ADHD seem to have an unlimited number of new and creative locations for their most basic and most frequently used items.

Not only is the location of the keys creative, but at the moment of initial placement, it is also logical and systematic. The difficulty lies in remembering the logic of the location instead of the actual location because the logic of the location is the right key needed to solve the end mystery. This key concept can then be transferred to other traits of difficulty for those blessed with ADD/ADHD.

Bigger than life dreams. Spend a little time asking a person with ADD/ADHD about their dreams for the future and you are likely to become almost intoxicated by their passion. They seem to have an ability to see past the mundane to the larger picture and have no fear of inserting themselves at the center. This ability can cause difficulty when they are so distracted by the future that they minimize the importance of doing the smaller tasks to reach the future. For instance, a person who wants to attend Princeton University (big picture) needs to get good grades (medium picture) and their homework needs to be completed (smaller picture). By applying the logic of achieving the larger picture to measurable medium and smaller pictures, the larger picture becomes more realistic to achieve.

Danger while driving. Have you ever gotten into the passenger’s side of a car only to find yourself more frightened by the driver’s driving then going upside down and backwards on a roller coaster at 60 M.P.H.? Not that every ADD/ADHD person is a dangerous driver, but they do tend to take a few more risks and are prone to become more distracted by their cell phone, other drivers, radio, and even just talking. Amazingly, their quick reflexes and ability to think fast are precisely what makes them a better than average driver but that still does not minimize the anxiety you feel in the passenger’s seat. Again, logic is your new best friend as you survey the car for any potential distractions and then systematically reduce the number. Also, engaging an ADD/ADHD person in a conversation that they are passionate about will help them to better focus on their driving and as a side benefit, they sometimes slow down.

Non-stop channel surfing. Once you surrender the TV remote to a person with ADD/ADHD you are not likely to get it back without a fight. After all, there may be a better program on then the one already being watched and commercials are designed for channel surfing. Just when you believe that they have decided on one station, wait a few more minutes and it will change again. This constant checking of better stations plays out in other areas of their lives with the constant changing of passionate and almost obsessive interests from one to another. Once again, logic can help as you gently and carefully display the already abandoned interests and inquire if selling of some of the old interests can help to fund the new interests.

Managing ADD/ADHD behavior is more effectively done if you spend a little time trying to find the logic in their thinking before you respond to help. More importantly however is for you not to help unless they ask for your help as many with ADD/ADHD value their independence and would prefer to look for their keys by themselves even if they are grumbling about the keys being lost.



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"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2011), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"

About the author- Chris Hammond is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.

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