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Are You ADD or MTI?
Are you Quick Smart or Multiple Thought Impaired?
(The Positives of having ADD)
By: Steve Plog - Results Project Founder
If you get divorced are you “Choice Impaired?” Then why on earth do you call kids Attention Deficit if they simply don’t like to focus on boring things for long periods of time? First off, let me explain, that I don’t have a deficit, the Government does! Have you ever noticed that everything a doctor diagnoses you with is a negative?
I don’t mind labels, I just don’t like negative labels. I’m a guy, my mom is a girl. That is anatomically correct. Why don’t we call the kids what they really are. Notice that your ADD kid has a very high IQ? Notice how your ADD kid is doing everything fast? How about we call them “Quick Smart” instead? Would any child mind going into a classroom if over the door it said, “Quick Smart Class” instead of special needs class? Which one empowers the child and builds their self-esteem and which one demoralizes them?
I get a kick out of people telling me that their child has a “problem” with Attention Deficit. I was 39 before I found out that I also had a “problem” with ADD. Funny how I could go 39 years without a problem and now, as if by magic, I have a problem. A doctor officially diagnosed me with having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in 1994.
Now there’s a negative diagnosis if I have ever heard one. Half the words in the name of my so-called problem are identifying me as a loser. I now have a “Deficit,” I’m told! For the record, I don’t have a deficit – the federal government has that. I’m also told I have a disorder. No, I’m not disorderly. I can stand on any street corner and not get arrested for being disorderly.
So what do I have? I have a right-brain thinking apparatus. People often refer to right-brained as being creative and left-brained as being analytical. Let’s look at who says I have a problem. We’ll start with the left-brain environment called school. Don’t think it’s a left-brain environment?
I remember being told to sit quietly with my hands folded, feet together and eyes forward (brain out the window.) Sound familiar? Which part of this sounds like a creative environment? If you guessed none you get an “A.” Now we’re going to be graded on our ability to fit in and function in a world we don’t belong in or will ever get a job in when we graduate.
Let me ask you some questions. Answer truthfully. There are tall people and short people; which one is normal and fits in and which one needs to be fixed? There are left-handed people and right-handed people; which one is normal and fits in and which one needs to be fixed? One more: there are people with long attention spans and other people with short attention spans; which one is normal and fits in and which one needs to be fixed?
I’m tall, I’m right-handed, and I have a short attention span. None of these traits need to be fixed. Let’s take a look at some people whose biographies or life history indicate strong ADD or ADHD behaviors.
Famous people who appear to have ADD or ADHD behaviors.
||George Bernard Shaw
||Sir Isaac Newton
||Zsa Zsa Gabor
||Edgar Allan Poe
|Leonardo da Vinci
||Alexander Graham Bell
||Vincent van Gogh
||Gen. George Patton
||John D. Rockerfeller
||F. Scott Fitzgerald
||George C. Scott
|John F. Kennedy
||The Wright Brothers
||Dwight D. Eisenhower
||Diamond Dallas Page
|Erich [Mancow] Muller
It sounds to me that if someone says that you have ADD you should consider it a compliment. In fact, looking at this very small list of possibilities it looks like without people with ADD, nothing would get done. Now let’s take some of these famous people and see what they would be like in today’s world if they were in school or trying to “fit in” at a job.
Let’s take the first guy on the list, Albert Einstein. He didn’t even speak until he was 4 years old so today they would have put him on Ritalin and locked him in a room with the learning disabled kids. Remember, he flunked 6th grade math. That’s right, he could do calculus in his head but he flunked plain old math. So into the dummy class he goes and he is given a lifetime of prescription drugs.
How about Bill Cosby? Instead of becoming a comedian, he gets a job sitting in a tollbooth all day by himself. Day in and day out he just gives change. The problem is he can’t concentrate on the mundane and he keeps losing money. So they fire him and tell anyone who asks them for a recommendation, “He’s so slow he can’t count to 50!”
One more: Walt Disney. He gets a job working in an office cubicle and spends his time daydreaming on what I refer to as “Mental HBO.” Until his boss comes by for the 10th time that day and says “Walt, pay attention, stop day dreaming, start concentrating and get to work before I fire you!”
Wait, I know I said only one more, but I’m on a roll! Babe Ruth gets a job as a CPA and his boss comes by his desk and asks, “Where’s Ruth?” To which his fellow employees say that Mr. Ruth is not back from lunch yet and it’s 1:15. “Tell Mister Ruth when he gets back to clean out his desk, we don’t want anyone working here who can’t tell time.”
You see, if you evaluate extreme right-brained people only in left-brain environments you get the wrong picture. Let’s reverse it. Let’s take some left-brained people and see how they would fit into the ADD creative world. OK?
Hold on a minute. I just hit writer’s block because I’m trying to think of some very boring, timely, regimental, stick in the mud, left-brained people with good memories who are famous. Can someone give me a hint just to get me started? There must be someone . . . .
Ok, let’s take someone we know is smart, like a college professor - how about the professor from the Gilligan’s Island TV show. Do you remember his name? I don’t. He was a nice guy, but not very exciting. Ok, so let’s say that Walt Disney lost his mind, and put old what’s – his – name (I still can’t remember his name!) in charge of his creative department for new projects. What would the outcome be? Regular Duck, Mundane Mouse, Snow Beige and the Seven Height-Impaired People. Who wants to go see the movie? Come on, let’s see those hands. Anyone, anyone at all? Why is everyone staring out the windows? Are you all daydreaming? Hey, we have a hand up! No, wait, that person said his name is Bill Gates, and when I said “windows” he said it gave him an idea.
Yes we daydream, that’s how creative people come up with ideas like figuring out how to harness electricity after watching a thunderstorm. You will find we have a low threshold of boredom. We go into what I call “Mental HBO.” Not only can I daydream while you talk to me, I can daydream while I talk to you. As a matter of fact I’m doing it right now while I’m typing because I can think of more than one thing at a time. My thoughts are multifaceted while the left-brained people are what I would diagnose as “Multiple thought impaired!”
I’m ADD and you’re “Multiple Thought Impaired.” Someone should start a charity for you. I can see the ads now: “Send in your donation for those who have never had an original thought in their life!” Someone get me Jerry Lewis’ phone number! Will he listen to me? Yes of course, and I’ll give you three guesses why. Watch one of his old movies and picture him at the tollbooth.
So far, everyone keeps looking at ADD through the left-brained mentality. Let’s look at the positive traits that are the opposite of everything they say is wrong with us.
Now take a look at our list of famous ADD people and see if you can spot the traits on the right side of this chart in all of the people listed. Now who truly has the problem and who needs to be fixed?
|Half-Empty Glass of Water
||Half-Full Glass of Water
|You're easily distracted
||I'm constantly monitoring environment
|You can't focus
||I can multitask
|Your attention span is short
||My creative span is long
|You can't sit still at your CPA desk
||I can stand up at my sales counter all day
|You can't work in an assembly line
||I don't plan to
|you can't keep quiet
||I plan on talking for a living
|You're a poor planner
||I'm quick to improvise
|You can't write well
||I can type like the wind
||I'm ready to change strategy quickly
|You make snap decisions
||I make my mind up quickly
|You have no patience
||I can get results now!
|You have difficulty following instructions
||I'm independent and think outside the box
|You have a problem with authority
||I'm a born leader
|You're a daydreamer
||So was Walt Disney
|You act without considering consequences
||I'm willing to take risks and face danger
|You're lacking in the social graces
||Bite me!! (OK, You got one right)
Do you still think having ADD Traits are so bad? Visit this link and take a look at a long list of ADD traits. And if you recognize yourself in here, rejoice!
50 (or so) Great Things About Having ADD!
Can you imagine what the list for left-brained people would look like? Zzzzzzzzz. Is being ADD ever a problem? Is being boring ever a problem? Nobody is right the way they are all the time. Ok, I know what you’re thinking – “Being ADD does have some drawbacks, doesn’t it?” Yup, and being tall I sometimes bump my head. But for the sake of argument, let’s tackle some of these so-called problems that kids have with ADD.
So-called problem #1: he can’t sit still in school and pay attention. So what’s your point? Name one job that pays you to sit still, quietly with your hands folded, feet together and your eyes forward. Not one? So he can’t do something he’s never going to have to do in his life? Sounds like a zero problem to me. Here’s my question: do you want him to pay attention and learn or do you want him to sit quietly bound and gagged for hours on end? ADD people can learn while they’re moving around!
Here are some success stories that might help illustrate what I’m talking about regarding learning to study “ADD Style.” The first is from Carolyn, who is blessed with Michael, age 12, who is positively ADHD and proud of it.
Michael came home one day and I brought him to a special table Mr. Plog had told me to prepare. In the middle of the room stood this table with extensions on the legs making it chest high to Michael. When he stood next to the table it was writing height and there was no chair to sit on because it was made to be used standing.
I told Michael “I’ve decided you never ‘have’ to do homework again. It’s your choice and it’s totally up to you.” Steve was right, at this time I had his total attention, you could have heard a pin drop! I went on, “I have decided that you will determine if you want to do your homework or not.” I can honestly say I’ve never seen a bigger smile in my life.
I told him to come over to the table and look at the 15 minute timer I had sitting on the table. There were also comic books, a big sheet of white paper covering the whole table, crayons and his toys. I told him that I was going to ask him if he had homework when he comes home tomorrow and if he does then he has to stand at the table for 15 minutes to the second. After 15 minutes to the second he can go play for 15 minutes to the second. After playtime I would ask him if he had homework and if he said yes then he had to go back to the table for another 15 minutes.
Now the difference is I’m not telling him to do his homework. I’m just telling him the consequences if he still has some. This takes me, the teacher and everyone else out of the loop and puts the responsibility on Michael. I’m not saying he has to do his homework, I’m just telling him he’ll have to go back and forth every 15 minutes until he turns 18 and moves out of the house.
So the next day Michael comes home and I ask him “do you have homework?” He said “yes” and I told him to stand at the table. For the first 3 minutes he started to do his homework and then started reading his comic books. Ding! The 15 minutes were up and I told him to go play. He walked right over to the TV and sat down. Exactly 15 minutes to the second I pulled the cord out of the wall.
When he started to object, I escorted him to the table and told him “we will not be waiting until there is a commercial or until the scene is over. We will not be negotiating anything, period. It will be 15 minutes to the second.” ADD people will not take no for an answer, they will stretch anything out until they wear you out. Mr. Plog was very adamant that there be no pushing the time back. No changing the rules, no adjustments, no exceptions, nothing, zero, nada, zip, zilch.
At the table again Michael started doing his homework and made it about 5 minutes before he was back to the comic book. Ding. At exactly 15 minutes to the second I said, “go play.” Michael took one look at the TV (all shows are at least 30 minutes) and figured that was not going to work. So he started playing Nintendo.
Ding. Exactly 15 minutes to the second I pulled the plug out of the wall and he screamed, “Wait!” No, I told him, if you wanted to save the game you should have done it before the bell. Back to the table we go. Michael then did an amazing thing; he started doing his homework and stayed concentrating on it for the full 15 minutes! He was still working when the bell went off again.
Ding. Exactly 15 minutes later I said, “OK go play.” He smiled and said, “great I’m almost done.” I took the pen out of his hand and said “go play.” Michael said “give me the pen back, I’m almost done.” I told him “no you can’t be here now, because you can only be here for 15 minutes.” He persisted “Mom, I’m almost done.” I said “I know but that’s the way the game is played.” He still persisted.
Do you catch this argument? Michael is saying let me do my homework and mom is saying no you have to go play! Isn’t that happening all over America today? ADD kids are begging to do their homework and moms are forcing them to go play.
For 15 minutes Michael paced the floor eating a PB&J with milk waiting, waiting. (What’s he waiting for? To do his homework! Isn’t that the case all over America, ADD kids pacing the floor waiting for their moms to let them finish their homework?) Ding. Michael races back to his stand up desk and finishes the work in 2 minutes flat and says “see, I told you I was almost done.” I smiled and said “I believe you, but that’s the way the game is played. You can only be at the table for 15 minutes.
(You see when an ADD child is told to sit there until they are done they will start to daydream after a few minutes and could be there all day. The emphasis is that you can only be at the desk for 15 minutes, period. You now have a deadline. We have built in the procrastination factor for you.)
Michael came home the next day and walked straight to the stand up desk and wham! He finished his homework in 15 minutes flat. Now the amazing thing is that his teacher had given him 45 minutes worth of homework. Maybe for the “multiple thought impaired” children in his class, but not Michael! Mr. Plog told him that if his brain were powering a racecar and the other kids in his class had their brains powering a racecar; his would be the fastest car on the track.
The game Michael now plays against himself is if he can do his homework in one sitting then he did it ADD speed. If he does it in two sittings then he did it slug speed. Michael’s grades have gone from D’s to B’s with this simple little game plus those little chewable fruit and vegetable pills that we use from the Results Program. Now he’s doing homework ADD Style!
“I told Mr. Plog that I couldn’t even get my ADD class to sit down and take roll in the morning. Then he told me to take roll ADD Style. After he explained it I tried it the very next day. I told the class that everyone who is sitting down in their chair and answers when their name is called gets to have recess from 8:30am until 8:50am, right at the start of the day. Well, would you believe that eight of those kids thought that standing over their chair, or touching the chair or sitting in someone else’s chair counted?
“I told those eight kids to sit with their hands folded, feet together, against the wall and be quiet while the other kids played right in front of them for 20 minutes! Then I have roll call again after lunch and we do this again. Would you believe that in just one day everyone is sitting quietly in his or her own chair waiting to qualify for recess? I now have four breaks in the day, which means I have four hours of concentration and attention instead of five hours of space cadets.”
Life in the ADD fast lane
Let me explain what it’s like to listen to the multiple thought impaired all day long. Have you ever visited your grandparents who are over 90 in the rest home and really listened to them for a while? Kind of slow huh? Well now picture that you are visiting people that seem that slow and you talk to them 5 hours a day, 12 years in a row. (That’s what school was like for me.) Have you ever listened to someone who stutters really badly? Have you ever listened to someone who had too much to drink tell a really long boring story? If you have done at least one of these you know what you sound like when you talk to us. Reallllll slowwwwww.
The reason we’re not listening is because we can’t concentrate on too much dead air, as they say in radio land. Our minds think real fast, we listen fast, and we talk fast. Try staring at a wall and concentrating on the wall itself. That is what a conversation with you is like. Take an 8-year-old with ADD and try talking faster. Guess what? You got his attention. Use small words and just talk fast.
Let me explain something. Let’s say two people of the same age and athletic ability decide to exercise. One walks 2 hours a day for a year and the other runs 2 hours a day for a year. Guess who has the strongest legs? The runner! Now think of your ADD brain as the runner and the multiple thought impaired brain as the walker and guess who has the most developed brain? Speed up the conversation and you have instant attention.
It’s simple logic. ADD people have a short attention span and think real fast, so how should they do anything? Fast and in short spurts. How should you teach them? How should they do their jobs? Fast and in short spurts.
We’re just fine thank you. I happen to be blessed with a very creative mind with a short memory. So when someone calls and says let’s get together for lunch day after tomorrow I say great, call me back and remind me. If they say write it down, I tell them, “no I’ll just lose the piece of paper and besides you’re the multiple thought impaired rocket scientist with the great memory, so you remember to remind me.”
I stopped apologizing for being creative a long time ago. Others call it a short attention span. I correct them and tell them “it keeps the creative juices flowing, thank you.” Ten minutes after I meet someone at a party, right in front of 20 people I’ll ask them their name again. I say, “sorry, I forgot your name.” Then five minutes later I’ll ask again. When they say “you have a bad memory” I say “I couldn’t fit creativity and memory in the same head, so boring lost out.”
What about drugs, behavior modification, lists, organization charts? Sounds like some good topics for some opportunist to sell a lot of “how to” material. You take a duck and send him to eagle school to learn how to hunt. First day out the new eagle school graduate spots a squirrel and then you know what happens? The duck makes friends with the squirrel! Why? Because he’s a duck!
When kids are in school they are fighting for an identity. They are searching for self-esteem and trying to find out where they fit in. Little things like a bad haircut can set them back 6 months. Their ego is very fragile at that age. Right in the middle of trying to fit in, the people they trust the most, their parents, doctors and teachers, point their finger at them and say “You have ADD!” and “There is something wrong with you, you’re going to have to go to Special Class.” Now try to fit in. Yeah, right. I just get to the batter’s box to find out I get to start with 2 strikes against me in the game of life. Forget that! By the way, what do kids call the special class? Dummy or retard class.
I tried to fit in and compete academically for eight years. All I could get was a D average. By the time I got to high school I couldn’t take it anymore. My self-esteem couldn’t take it anymore. I tried to study but I just didn’t get it. My ego was taking a beating every time they would pass the test back down the line with my grade stamped in a big red letter “D” and everyone got to see it. So I decided to compete in something else. Class clown and troublemaker. If the teacher called on me I made jokes or would argue. This way my self-esteem was intact because my identity wasn’t student, it was school hood. In 1973, in my junior year at Wilson High School in Portland, Oregon, I rode my motorcycle right through the front door of the school and right down the main hall and right into jail, all on the idea that finals were coming next week.
Have you ever noticed that auto manufacturers only make one model of car on any one assembly line? No, each model comes from a different line or even a different manufacturing plant. If industry realizes this efficiency, why does our educational system try to make Chevrolet kids from the parts of our Cadillac kids? Maybe the real problem with our school system is that with the funds available for education, they can only cater to the majority of the ("average") kids that can't learn as fast. And the teachers don't have the time or ability to teach the kids at their individual learning pace. So they have to try to do the best they can for the majority.
You see, if I could have competed academically, I would have. I just didn’t have any idea how. Now, oddly enough there is research dating back to 1962 showing that nutritional therapy works. There is research proving that nutrition can increase academics and lower violence. Have you ever noticed that psychiatric doctors never provide a "cure" for a "disorder," they only prescribe a "treatment for a symptom?" Instead of taking psychotropic drugs to put me into a stupor and slow me down, I’m now eating fruit and vegetable supplements and concentrating on living ADD-style and life is great for me. I wouldn’t give up my ADD for anything in the world.
Ok, let’s talk about some real silly logic. Everyone in the D.A.R.E. program is telling kids from one end of this planet to the other that smoking pot leads to cocaine. Now there is not one single molecule in pot that is in cocaine. Not one, you still with me? Now Ritalin has 90% of the exact same compounds as cocaine and no one is mentioning that Ritalin leads to cocaine. Confused? I am. Now here’s another little fun fact. According to the Physicians Desk Reference and the FDA, both Ritalin and cocaine are class 2 drugs.
Meaning they are both just about as toxic, addicting and dangerous in eyes of the medical community. So your child goes to school and on one side of the hall they are saying don’t buy a Class II drug from your best friend, and on the other side of the hall they are giving a Class II drug to your sister. You’re confused, so you go to your high school library and hit the Internet and look them both up and discover they are almost identical. In your teenage thinking, either they are both OK or they are both not OK.
You look up Ritalin and discover that Sweden, the country that makes it, outlawed it in the 1980’s! Wake up parents, you have the information superhighway going straight into your kids bedroom and you as a parent can’t justify telling your kid to stay off drugs when your doctor is prescribing the exact same level of drug to his sister.
All over the Internet they are telling your children that every single one of the children who shot other kids in school were on a prescription drug. (You know, the same one you’re giving his sister.) Your children are more up on drugs than you ever were. They don’t listen to you because you are uninformed. They are the authority, not you. Kids research things that they are interested in.
Having Fun Getting High
I’m an ex-drug and alcohol abuser. I now do seminars against drug abuse and drinking and I will start the meeting by spending a full fifteen minutes telling what a great time I had getting high. When Nancy Reagan started that ad “Just Say No” all of us renamed it “Just Say Now.” What did she know about drugs? My parents said they were bad for me and I was escaping reality. I didn’t listen to them because they didn’t know what they were talking about. They were right, but they didn’t know what they were talking about.
I didn’t start taking drugs and drinking until my junior year in high school. Then I read everything I could get my hands on about drugs. I was curious and I wanted to know what I was doing. Even way back then we had underground drug information; heck, we even had a national magazine that is still around today called “High Times.” I became an informed party animal. This is what nobody is addressing, the fact that kids are more informed than their parents and teachers about drugs. They are on the Internet getting well educated on something that interests them. I was the expert, not the adults.
When my dad told me that drug users were just escaping from reality, I laughed. At that time for fun I rode a motorcycle, went skiing, hiking, fishing and got high. I didn’t ride my bike every day, or fish, ski, hike or get high every day. They were all recreation. When I rode my bike was I escaping from reality? Heck, no, I was just having fun. When I got high was I escaping from reality? Heck, no, I thought I was just having fun.
Getting high was a great icebreaker for meeting new people or getting a girl to talk to you, especially if you’re shy. After I was getting high for a while things didn’t seem to be as much fun as I thought. One of my friends got a 15-year-old girl pregnant. Another one killed a girl walking across the street while he was driving drunk. One of my friends died riding his bike into a truck at 70 mph. My own brother-in-law almost killed himself and his brother on a bike driving way to fast.
The reason I talk first about having fun with drugs is because unless they think you know what you are talking about they won’t listen. In your job right now have you ever had someone talk to you about your work, and they didn’t know what they were talking about? How long did you listen? Right!
Now, how are you going to tell your kid not to take a class 2 drug from his friends when you are giving a class 2 drug made out of the same things to his kid sister? If you don’t make sense to your kids they’re not going to listen. Your kids have also checked out the web to see who is paying the school districts to put kids on drugs. In 1985 Congress passed the Individual Development Education Assistance Act (I.D.E.A.), giving funds in the billions to subsidize schools with kids who have learning disabilities.
Here’s the way it works: the US Government will give up to $450 and the state will give up to $160 to a school for each student who is labeled with a learning disability. Let’s do some math. At my old high school we had 2000 kids. The school figures about 10% have ADD, which is about 200 kids. You multiply 200 x $600 and that school gets over $120,000 per year for putting kids on drugs that are in the same FDA schedule classification as cocaine. Now how are you going to tell them not to take drugs? I’ve been there and I can’t figure out a way to justify both positions. You shouldn’t be taking either one.
Nutrition Deficit Disorder. (N.D.D.)
In this web site, the research provided and the school program show that most kids suffer from N.D.D. and you can turn around kids who are failing and violent with Nutrition Therapy. With nutrition your children can keep clear eyes instead of that drugged out bland look you get when you’re on drugs. They keep their personality, spirit, curiosity, enthusiasm, health and mental capacity to achieve. The research and the school results prove that nutrition is safe and it works. The research and news headlines prove that drugs are dangerous. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
You can take nutrition at the same time you take the drugs. Then slowly cut back the drugs until you don’t need them anymore. Can you think or any downside to doing this? So, if it’s safe, natural and has no side effects, and you have nothing to lose and everything to gain, what are you waiting for?
Steve V. Plog – AdhD