New TECHWR-L Poll - ADD?

Subject: New TECHWR-L Poll - ADD?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 2005 16:02:22 -0400

Gene wrote: <<Offhand, I can't think of any career field in which an inability to pay attention to what needs to be done when it needs to be done could possibly be an "advantage." >>

This is a common misperception of both ADD and ADHD. In fact, both conditions are frequently accompanied by an ability to hyperfocus on one particular thing of interest, even if the person seems incapable of concentrating on anything else. This is certainly true of my son (his "pet" interest is insects)--and to a surprising extent for me, though I've not been diagnosed with either condition.

If I'm an undiagnosed case of ADD (something I increasingly suspect for a variety of reasons), it clearly helps me with my editing; my colleagues frequently point out how many things I catch that they missed.

Bruce Byfield replied: <<To tell the truth, the poll question surprises me. Given the tendency to introversion in many tech writers, I would have thought that Asperger Syndrome and autism would be more common than ADD.>>

Here's another misperception that needs correcting (not accusing Bruce of this, btw; just noting that his statement could easily be misinterpreted). ADD, PDD, and Asperger's are all what are know as "autism-spectrum disorders", which means that they are collections of symptoms that overlap broadly with full-blown autism in many areas, even though they aren't technically autism. The definitions are surprisingly vague and subjective, and there's still no gold standard for diagnosis that everyone accepts.

Bruce also added: <<Of course, I'm putting aside the question of just how widespread such conditions really are. These days, a moment's inattention is put down to ADD, and a momentary twinge in the wrist to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome -- a quickness to diagnose (and self-dramatize0 that trivializes genuine concerns.>>

Very much true. My son was diagnosed by the local expert--a psychiatrist with an international reputation in this field, not a general practitioner who had been seduced into pushing ritalin like tylenol by the local pharmaceutical sales rep. We knew the diagnosis was correct when we put him on the minimum dose of ritalin and he picked up a couple years of reading skills, reaching a level appropriate for his age, in the space of a few months. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say.

Moreover, nobody would have remotely called him "sedated", which is the classic sign that a child has been wrongly diagnosed, overmedicated, or both. The classroom teachers who use ritalin to sedate kids they can't control by other means are a big problem, and the doctors who support them in such diagnoses without adequate training are possibly even worse.

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Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)
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Re: New TECHWR-L Poll - ADD: From: Tom Johnson
Re: New TECHWR-L Poll - ADD: From: Bruce Byfield

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