Adults with LD or ADHD

Opening doors

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Joined: Jun 30, 2009
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Posted Jun 30, 2009 at 10:00:30 PM
Subject: Opening doors

The title of this topic was the title I was reserving for a book I've wanted to write over the past 12 years or so. Mine is a story that spans 47 years, but since I've yet to see a happy ending am at a loss of how to complete my book. So, this forum is a good place to just begin writing, and see what types of responses I get. Hopefully, my trials can be useful for others to help them find their ways.

I don't wish to write a book here, which would be easy for me to do, so I will need to abbreviate as much as I am able: From my earliest memories, I wanted to learn everything possible about this fascinating world. My sister was 1-1/2 years older than me and was able to get out of the house sooner, and off to school. During those, seemingly, long afternoons stranded in the TV room, I was forced to endure long periods of boredom. Only occasionally did I get an opportunity to get out in the yard, or off to a store with mom. I do remember going to the library, every couple of weeks. All those books lining the walls had something to tell us. What were they saying? I couldn't read a lick back then, before kindergarten, but that didn't stop me from digging out dozens of kids books with lots of pictures.

I always thought my ability to read books was only a little ways away, but, to my dismay, found reading in the first grade a significant problem. I managed to make it to the second reading level group at the reading table in the first grade, but my reading consisted of a very monotone, word-for-word, cry for help. It was really sad, and directly behind those deficiencies were the drudgeries of needing to learn spelling words and finish other assignments. Well, I managed to get through each grade and didn't need to take special ed, except for one hour of reading assistance per day (in the special room in the basement of the school).

Well, my educational aspirations didn't go off as planned, but I managed to get through those first 4 years of grammar school with only a few bumps and bruise. Then, I experienced one magical year in the 5th grade where nothing I did went wrong--except for my unsuccessful episode of wanting to learn the saxophone, in which case our live-in grandmother promised to disown me if I continued playing that blasted thing!

Despite some successes in early middle school, reading deficiencies continued to remain a problem. I could read words, but my brain just could not process them quickly. The process was still slow and laborious. I received absolutely no pleasure from reading at all. My older sister was able to read all kinds of books; she had an encyclopedia of classic children's stories (with no pictures!), and another set of 4 volumes of world countries, that I so wanted to be able to read, but simply could not.

Though my mom had brought me to a number of specialist throughout my early middle school years, this curse of illiteracy would follow me up through the end of high school and beyond.

This is a good description of my school years. Along with reading difficulties, I had lost substantial confidence in many of my abilities during my high school years. During this period, my family and I had relocated to Southern California, where personality was majorally important. I, however, had tremendous difficulties talking to kids my age--we just didn't have much in common, me being a former East Coaster.

During this time, I became withdrawn from the world. I didn't communicate with many people and nobody wanted to talk to me. Whenever I tried to say something, my words became garbled and hard for people to understand, even my family. Too often I would hear the phrase "what is wrong with him?" spoken to my parents from relatives. All I wanted to do was hide under a rock and let the world forget about me. I hated being me. Even when I tried to cry out for help, nobody would hear me.

Well, I managed to graduate from high school, which in California wasn't very hard (for most people). For me, I came very close to not finishing.

After limping out of high school (where I had few friends and no relationship), I promised myself I would do everything possible to find answers to my dilemmas. My 20s was a period of exploration where I would find some successes in the areas of reading and clear thinking. (The specifics subject for later writings.) It was towards the end of my 20s that I found something that would pave the way for tremendous personal growth throughout my 30s.

It was during the middle of my 30s that I discovered I was ADD. I read the popular book ADD in Adults by Lynn Weiss. Reading that book was like a series of daggers going through my chest.

That was 15 years ago. Now, I am into my later 40s, I have made tremendous improvements in all areas of my life, but still find myself unable to be employed. I still drift in society watching life pass me by. Though I am much more focused in all areas of my life, trying to become employed in any form of work is like trying to hop onto a freeway without an on-ramp. Nobody will hire me, not even for a dishwashing or janitorial job. I am locked out.

There is much I can do. I can definitely write. I have good typing skills, communication skills, I have solid skills in reason, I am conscious about people and my surroundings. The one problem I face is that I never was able to finish a college degree, even though I had been able to get an Associated Degree in Liberal Studies, way back in 1984.

So, I have experienced lots of triumphs and can probably help others who have learning disabilities. I just can't get started in anything new.

This is the end of part one of my story.
[Modified by: jay on June 30, 2009 10:04 PM]

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Joined Jun 30, 2009
Posts: 3

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Posted:Jul 01, 2009 7:24:23 PM

It looks like I've left lots of gaps in my story about my schooling years, but there is so much I have to write about, it is impossible to cover everything here.

The biggest problem that I faced was a lack of reading, and that problem had caused further difficulties with me having many gaps in general knowledge. My knowledge of history and social issues existed in isolated islands. Even later in my high school years, there was very little knowledge about how society came to be as it is now. Therefore, I could never hold even general discussions about what was going on in the world. I would be in a group of kids, or other people, and I would have nothing to say about anything.

This same thing would happen with social situations. I couldn't remember specifics of discussions I had with people, so next time when we talked, my mind would be full of gaps of what to say, about anything. Then, if you instinctively know you are not going to remember things discussed with friends, again, you are not going to have anything to say (about anything) during general conversations.

This was a common theme that ran through my older teen years. Thus, I had absolutely no confidence in my communication skills. Nobody in Southern California wants to spend time with this kind of communication downer. They want to talk with people who are quick and witty.

So, the problems were compounded for me. My performance in school was poor because my reading and memory skills were poor, my cofidence at talking to everyone from family members to school mates were non-existent, and I could not form relationships for this same reason. Even after several years of participating in a church youth group proved pointless. I still couldn't communicate,very well, with people.

Of all of these, the lack of reading was the most frustrating and puzzling. I deeply wanted to read. I would dig all kinds of books out of the library in the hopes that something would begin clicking in my brain. But, I would only return them having only read a few pages of this novel or that non-fiction book. There were some good science fiction books I wanted to read. I would only be able to make it through half of one book before I needed to return the books--in defeat!

I could understand tv shows and movies with little problem. Why was I not able to comprehend books I deeply wanted to read? That was the greatest mystery of my life.

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