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Writing ADD:

One of the characters in my writing project has ADD (this takes place in a fantasy setting with limited knowledge of mental abnormalities, so it is never outright stated) I've done research, but I want to ensure the portryal will be acurate and non offensive.
  • He is quite intelligent (much more educated than average) and is extremely skilled in his field of choice, lingustics
  • Unfortuanetly, he is very bad at organization and has a very messy work space
  • His work partner is the main thing that keeps him organized, but it is not to the point where he is entirely dependent upon them
  • He is extroverted, and has a positive attitude about life and people
  • He has aspects of a carpe diem, 'act now, think later' attitude (although most of it has o do the fact he has a terminal illness, which is not revealed until much later)

Certain quirks about him could be played for laughs, but not in ways that would be offensive to people affected as a whole, or scathing. Any things in particular I should avoid in characterization and gags?

Keep in mind that I am neurotypical and haven't experienced these things. I would be particuarly helpful if someone actually affected could help me out (although it is not 100% neccessary)

As with Muse, I'm neurotypical. However, some things to consider about people with ADHD:

Generally, they tend not to cope well in school - especially in a normal classroom where no special provisions or accommodations are provided for them. Which is not to say they aren't smart. However, it would make more sense to make it clear that your character seems 'gifted' in his chosen field rather than having received a good education in it. He'd probably understand the subject really well - having absorbed it really fast - but is unable to explain it to others; if you know what I'm trying to get at.
 
Hm, I actually hadn't heard of the whole "difficulty with explaining to others' thing with ADD before. I assume having a 'mind that works faster than you mouth' would be common as well?

 5 JHM, Fri, 28th Dec '12 7:54:37 AM from Neither Here Nor There Relationship Status: I know
Thunder, Perfect Mind
As someone with classic ADHD, I would like to point out that paying attention to something isn't the problem; rather, it's paying attention to something that does not interest. If I care about a subject, I will retain every bit of stray information that I receive about it, but if I find a subject boring, then I probably won't hold onto much of it.

Another thing: Simply repeating something over and over will actually make me less likely to remember it, because I will find it dull and tune it out. Make it interesting for me and I'll have it down on the second go.
Like I said: Understanding a subject of interest is fine. It's the talking about it that they sometimes aren't so good at.

They tend to be more spontaneous in their explanation; rather than first thinking it through, organising their points to formulate a structure. They tend not to like it for someone to interrupt them with questions halfway through; preferring to explain things their way and according to their train of thought? Can't keep up? Tough. If I can't keep up with what they're talking about at the moment, they just lose interest in me.

At least, that's the impression I got based on what I've learned and observed of people with newly diagnosed/untreated/poorly managed ADHD. But I could be wrong.

edited 28th Dec '12 8:31:41 AM by peasant

 
 7 JHM, Fri, 28th Dec '12 1:29:55 PM from Neither Here Nor There Relationship Status: I know
Thunder, Perfect Mind
[up] That's a bit of an overgeneralisation. The tendency to ramble is accurate, as is the inclination to go off on distant tangents, but what kind of attitude the person takes will vary with the individual.

Actually, if you want a neat little demonstration of AD(H)D in action, watch one of Eddie Izzard's comedy routines. Specifically, pay attention to when he changes a subject...
So, yeah, as someone with ADD, it sounds like your character is pretty plausible so far. Interest is a big factor in ability to pay attention, I was actually diagnosed pretty late because I had a real interest in history and literature and science that supported and concealed my poor grades in math. If you character is interested in something, he will have a greater ability to focus on it and if he's really interested in it he will focus on it to the exclusion of everything else. When 9/11 happened, my school didn't call us in from recess for another hour because they were trying to figure out how to tell us, or even if to tell us what had happened. I was so focused on the book I was reading, that I had only just started to notice we were out for longer than normal when they finally called us back in for class.

I second watching Eddie Izzard, that's pretty much how my brain works.

edited 29th Dec '12 10:28:32 AM by ladygem

I've followed the suggestions of watching Eddie Izzard (god, he's fantastic XD I regret not watching him earlier) And by how he changes topics, what I got out of it he will suddenly change to another topic with some small similarity to the the previous one, but comepletely different. Something like:
  • (note, this is extemely simplified)
    • "I took a trip to Brazil this summer. It was very warm and we swam often. There was much wildlife such as parrots. My great aunt had a pet parrot. It yelled profanity at us, very much like the aunt herself. She didn't get along with the rest of our family"

Is this similar to the thought process previously described?

edited 29th Dec '12 4:37:21 PM by TheMuse

 10 Matues, Sun, 30th Dec '12 7:45:58 AM Relationship Status: Reincarnated romance
A string of loosely connected ideas and memories..
The rain in Spain tend to drain the brain of sane.
Are there any popular misconceptions/offensive steryotypes I should avoid? I know things like "I'm taking about a topic- ohlookashinybutterfly" are given, but is there anything else?

 12 JHM, Tue, 1st Jan '13 5:06:56 PM from Neither Here Nor There Relationship Status: I know
Thunder, Perfect Mind
[up] Well, that particular stereotype isn't completely unfounded; it's very easy to get lost in a subject when something else presents itself as an intriguing alternative. That said, there are a few things that you might want to keep in mind here:
  • Hyperactivity is not the same thing as being inexhaustible. We get tired just like normal people, and sometimes we just want to chill out. It's just that or threshold for excitement is lower... just like our threshold for boredom.
  • While certain stimulant-based medications are effective in calming down certain people with AD/HD, the effect that they have on many of us isn't so simple. My personal experience was that I would focus much more acutely, but only on what I found interesting, and if I couldn't find something in class to bead in on, I'd just do something unrelated.
  • Speaking of which, even without the influence of psychotropics, hyper-focusing is actually a common thing in AD/HD. The best way to describe it is a kind of temporary tunnel vision. You also see it in people with Asperger's Syndrome, although the behaviours surrounding it are a bit different.
  • Other shared traits between AD/HD and Asperger's include performing weird little repetitive tasks or rituals when not otherwise occupied and a somewhat diminished capacity for recognising social cues. The former includes things like walking in patterns on floor tiles and methodical knuckle cracking; the latter is why we do these things even when other people are around.
  • Just because we do weird things doesn't mean that we don't recognise that they're weird, or even that we don't care. Sometimes we simply can't help our strangeness; other times, we play it up just because. It varies.
 13 Matthias Pendragon, Mon, 7th Jan '13 7:40:35 PM from A spinning orb in space
Honor For All...
[up] Having a ADHD, this is pretty accurate.

When I was younger it was almost impossible to sit still. Even now I tend to tap a beat with my fingers when I'm listening to something or trying to pay attention, or bored.I agree with the above statements about not being able to pay attention to anything that doesn't interest me, but focusing 100 percent on anything that does. My brain works in that scattered way, making hardly visible connections that seem completely unrelated to anyone else.

One thing you may want to avoid is making the ADD his character. It will be a defining trait, but my ADD doesn't define me as a person. As long as you don't make his inter person about the way his head works, your interpretation sounds good.
Some people think I'm strange. I think it's sad that they can't see all the awesome stuff going on in my head right now.

 14 Eldritch Blue Rose, Wed, 6th Feb '13 8:05:48 PM from A Really Red Room
The Puzzler
Many AD(H)D people are very good at visualizing things. Have him give other people instructions on how to get to his house or something using visual landmarks over the phone, and have the people in the car get lost. grin
So now I know that my lack of success in college is due to ADD — or sleep apnea. I need to do a sleep study some time.
 15 JHM, Thu, 7th Feb '13 11:10:28 AM from Neither Here Nor There Relationship Status: I know
Thunder, Perfect Mind
[up] Yeah, I suck at remembering street names, but my landmark recall is great, so I can attest to that one personally.
 16 Palindromee, Fri, 8th Mar '13 1:18:12 PM from Honnouji Academy Relationship Status: She's holding a very large knife
midori kitakami, chief loser
I have ADD, and I know this sounds stupid, but I feel as if I am 'above' others of my age. I'm really cynical, and tend to hate people before I know who they are, and have a Hair-Trigger Temper. I change my behavior drastically around different groups (e.g. parents vs. peers).

Hopefully that helps.
disappointing
But that's more likely caused by judgement you've recieved by others due to your ADD than your ADD itself, correct?

 18 Salmon Punch, Mon, 11th Mar '13 10:21:57 AM from Connecticutt, USA
I never asked for this
Read informative books on conditions like ADD, or meet a therapist/counselor (not as a patient) and discuss what in his eyes are the telltale signs. Research can be a pain but it's the only option when dealing with things like this.
"You like Castlevania, don't you?"
Yeah, I've been working on that actually. I just wanted to see if I could get some first-hand knowledge about specific habits or quirks those affected may have in their daily lives.

 20 Palindromee, Tue, 19th Mar '13 7:54:50 AM from Honnouji Academy Relationship Status: She's holding a very large knife
midori kitakami, chief loser
@The Muse, not really, I wasn't officially diagnosed until yesterday, and didn't really suspect it before then.

If he starts taking meds, I can help you with that too. I just started andDAMNITMYHEADHURTS

edited 19th Mar '13 7:55:34 AM by Palindromee

disappointing
 21 Salmon Punch, Wed, 20th Mar '13 7:01:08 AM from Connecticutt, USA
I never asked for this
[up] You should probably tell your doctor about that.

edited 20th Mar '13 7:01:21 AM by SalmonPunch

"You like Castlevania, don't you?"
 22 Palindromee, Thu, 21st Mar '13 7:30:00 AM from Honnouji Academy Relationship Status: She's holding a very large knife
midori kitakami, chief loser
I did. It's normal.

Apparently.
disappointing
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Total posts: 22
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