ADHD Simulation – Reading with Distractions

I’ve been “gifted” all my life.  I’ve also been overcompensating for my learning issues for as long as I can remember.  The two don’t seem to go together, do they?  But, for many, they do.

It’s really hard being in gifted classes with the smartest people in school, knowing that you’re smart, but somehow feeling that you just don’t belong.  I would get stupidly excited for summer reading books.  I really, really, really wanted to learn.  I have this unbelievable thirst for knowledge.  It sounds so lame, but it’s really the truth.  The problem is, I could never quench it.  My brain wouldn’t allow me to actually focus or absorb much at all.

I would dive into those summer reading books with such enthusiasm…but ask me how many I actually finished.  Maybe five…and that’s being generous.

Then, in college, I realized how slowly I actually read.  I was studying for a psychology test and  there was this passage (I don’t remember the numbers), “Remedial readers trail in at … words a minute.”  I timed myself and I was so much slower than the remedial reader.  There was a part of me, in that moment, that realized that I might actually be screwed (aka there might actually be an underlying issue).

Years later, I stumbled upon a video on PBS that did a pretty accurate job of simulating what happens in an ADD / ADHD brain when it tries to read.  I shared it with a few friends and they were shocked.  It’s all I’ve ever known, so it was comforting, instead of shocking, to know that other people were going through it, too.  Not that I want anyone else to have to struggle just because I do, but there’s comfort in knowing you’re not alone.

Anyway, I’ve looked for the video for years since.  I’m not 100% convinced that this is the original video I found, but it definitely delivers the same effect.  Feel free to give it a whirl…it stresses me out just to look at it.  It looks too much like the way the inside of my brain feels.

ADHD Reading Experience

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