Review of Post-Neurofeedback Tests

January 4, 2014

There were two more tests for me to complete today.  I don’t remember what the two tests were called, but I think they both determined  how well I can strategize.  In which case, I failed….quiet miserably.

The first test was done on the computer.  Four items were displayed on the screen.  Above each number was a different shape.  I was to determine which shape was different out of the four.  If I got the answer correct, a soft BING would ring. It kind of reminded me  of a doorbell  However, if I got the answer wrong, a sharp sound like a ERRRRRPP would shrill loudly.  I got more of the annoying ERRRRR sounds than the BING sounds.  Anyway, here is an example of one of the problems:

four shapes

It was easy at first.  In the problem above, I could tell that number four was the different item because the shape was bigger.  Yet as time went on, it became much harder because ALL the shapes looked different from one another.  My eyes started to twitch from the annoying ERRRRR sound.  It was almost like being a rat in a maze, trying to find the cheese but only running into a dead end.  I was so frustrated.

At the end of the test, Doc came in saying, “So I heard from the ERRRRR sound that you got quite a number of problems wrong.”

I turned from the computer and glared at him. As someone who fails quite often, I wasn’t happy to be reminded of something else I did poorly.  I felt like saying, “No shit, Doc.  Did you need your degree from Harvard to tell you that?” Instead I only muttered “Yeah…”

Some doctors have really big egos and can’t relate to their patients.  Thankfully, my Doc isn’t one of them.  He sat down beside me.  “Mary, the point of these tests is to see what else needs to be worked on.”  Doc then showed me a picture of my brain scan on the computer.  The picture from a few months ago showed a big clump of brain waves, almost like a huge knot.   When Doc showed me a more recent scan of my brain, the waves appeared straightened out.

While I was happy about the results, I felt my heart sank.  Why was I still troubled with certain visual things especially when I graded papers?  I told this to Doc, who wasn’t sure what I meant.

“You mean you confuse the operations systems?”

“Well I do sometimes mix up my addition with my multiplication sign.  But it is more than that,” I replied.

Doc frowned.  “Explain.”

“Sometimes I remember facts wrong.  Like the problem 8 +7.  I’ll say it is 13 instead of…of…” I don’t know why, but the brain blanked out.  Why couldn’t I remember 8+7?  I paused before I answered.  Doc waited patiently.

“Fifteen!”  I finally remembered the answer.  Thank God!  Although it was embarrassing, I’m glad Doc was able to see another issue I was having.  These “brain freezes” seem to happen often.  Sometimes I would lose my train of thought. For example, I was talking to a colleague about the teacher I work with. I was talking about her and I could not remember her name.  The conversation went like this:

“I just feel so bad for Mrs…..Mrs…ummm…..”   How embarrassing!

Doc said it could be a ‘contamination’ problems.  In other words, yes, my brain could be remembering the facts wrong.  This could indicate that something is wrong with the left temporal lobe.   He didn’t go into any details.  I’ll have to ask him more about it later.  The good news is there is a brand new brain mapping program that will help ‘fix’ my temporal lobe.  Doc wanted to try it out today but there wasn’t time.

Doc left the room and his assistant, Lilly, came in to give me the second test.  This test I took was so confusing that I can’t even really explain it, but I’ll try.

Each question had “A” and “B”.  Next to A and B were shapes.  I had to tell Lilly the connection between A and B.

A and B shaps

“What is the rule for the square to be in box B.”  Lilly asked.   I tried to say what was in box B, like ‘big, orange, square,” but Lilly said I had to give one answer…the right answer.  As the questions got harder, there were  many times that I had to say “I don’t know.”

I also don’t know how long it will take to resolve my visual issue.  I only hope it will not take long….because if the school recognizes that I am miss-grading papers…I’m in deep shit.

A.D.D/A.D.H.D

Hello fellow A.D.D/A.D.H.Ders!

                How many of you have (or had) trouble at work due to your disability?  What have you done about it?  Have you asked your employer for certain accommodations or for just some plain understanding?   Have you found ways to accommodate for your disability without having to let your employer know?  How many of you have lost your job(s) because you weren’t able to have the same accommodations at work as you did when you were in school? 

                Four of my eight jobs ended due to the limitations of my A.D.D.  Now anyone who knows me personally will tell you I am a hard worker.  I come in first and leave last.  I try to always have a smile on my face and do more than what is required of me.  Yet my downfall at work has always been the inability to keep up with the workload.  I put in a fifty to sixty hour week and am still not able to get everything done as fast as my employers require.  

                  At my last job, one of my co-workers asked (more than once) why I got so little done in such a large amount of time compared to my predecessor.    In reality, it takes me at least twice as long as others to get work done because my A.D.D brain processes things a lot slower.  Think of my brain as an older computer.  The more data you store on your old computer, the slower it runs.  On the other hand, a newer computer (or someone that doesn’t have A.D.D) is able to store more data without being overloaded, and is able to work faster.   Of course, I’ve never disclosed this information to any of recent employers or my co-workers.  Why?  Because admitting you have a disability (even with documentation of proof) could make things at work worse instead of better. 

          As A.D.D/A.D.H.D children, we are covered by the Individuals with Disability Act.  This act requires school districts to provide disabled children with the accommodations that are stated in their I.E.P. (Individual Education Plans).   As a student, my I.E.P stated that I was allowed extra time to complete my tests.  My teachers were also required to assign me only half of the problems or questions for homework.   

          As adults, we fall under the Americans with Disability Act. Ironically, the same accommodations we had as children are not necessary available to us as adults. The Americans with Disability Act states that employers must give employees with disabilities “reasonable” accommodations.  The word “reasonable,” makes the whole statement very ambiguous.  How I describe “reasonable” and how my employer might are two different things.

       In her book, A.D.D in the Workplace, Dr. Kathleen G. Nadeau advises us to seek accommodations only as a last result because “A.D.D. is an invisible disability that is poorly understood and often interpreted negatively by employers.  If you are having difficulty functioning on the job and then decide to disclose you’re A.D.D, you run the risk of being seen in an even more negative light (Nadeau, pg. 204).”(1)

        Before my last job was terminated, I remember being asked to help my fellow co-workers to stuff envelopes one afternoon.  During this time, another one of my co-works, who I will call Nick, mentioned in passing that he had A.D.H.D.  Once Nick left the room, the Business Administrator quietly asked that we re-check Nick’s work.   It was this type of negativity that I wished to avoid. 

       Even in a perfect world where we can admit our disability without fear of being discriminated, I wouldn’t expect the same accommodations as I did as a child.  I would not expect to be given extra time to complete my work, or even to have my workload cut in half.  Instead, I would request that I be given a part-time assistant to assist me with certain tasks.  Even if I had an assistant for as little as ten hours a week, I know I could have gotten my work done more efficiently and on time.  I realize that in this economy employers are looking to save money, but if we can’t get similar accommodations as when we were in school, what is the point of getting them at all?

       What do you think, dear readers?  Should we hope for similar accommodations at work as we were allowed at school?  Has your A.D.H.D/A.D.D helped or hinder you are work?  For me, there was one job where my A.D.D helped me to shine.  However, I will discuss that in a later post.

 

Until next time, dear readers;

 

Mary Shine-out!

 

(1): Nadeu, Kathleen.  (1997) ADD in the Work Place.  New York & London: Brunner-Routledge.