Friday, January 28, 2011
Energetic, Impulsive, and Distractible
My daughter, Beckie, is an amazing girl. She has worked through most of her sensory processing and auditory processing difficulties. She is funny, kind, and is doing well at her part-time job teaching martial arts. Beckie also has a diagnosis of ADHD, combined type. Girls are less likely than boys to be considered hyperactive, but my Beckie has that component with a capital H. I love her energy! Even now that she is an older teen, her hyperactivity is still apparent. Beckie has learned strategies to help her focus over the years, and she knows ways to help burn up her excess energy. She teaches martial arts for several hours each week. She rides her bike or walks to neighborhood destinations. When she was younger, Beckie used to race cars from our house to the end of the block, running barefoot down the sidewalk just for the pure joy of it. At home these days she listens to music on her iPod and paces or runs through the house. Our first floor is structured in such a way that Beckie can basically run laps around it. Since we have hardwood floors, she can also get a running start and go for a nice slide across the floor. It's kind of hard on her socks, but that energy has to be expended somehow and the sliding across the floor is relatively tame. We laugh together about the time I asked her if her hair dryer had stopped working, because she was running around the house with her hair only halfway dried. Beckie explained to me that her long hair takes several minutes to dry and she had to take a break from the monotony of drying her hair so she could move around a bit. Her attention span is short, but intense. She studies very hard, but not for hours on end. After concentrating for a period of in-depth studying, Beckie tells me her brain needs to take a break and do something different for awhile. I'm actually glad that she recognizes what she needs and finds strategies that work for her. Is she distractible with a short attention span? Yes, but she can focus and sustain her attention when needed. Is she hyperactive? Absolutely, but her extra energy is often a plus. There are times when Beckie acts impulsively. For example, she walks into a room, sees me there, and grabs me for a hug. Sometimes she will spontaneously start giving me a back rub as she is going by, and it is the best 10-second back rub I've ever had! True, it only lasts a few seconds before she is on her way, but I do enjoy those brief moments. Beckie faces challenges from being so energetic, impulsive, and distractible. But it's not all bad. There's something wonderful about Beckie's ability to spontaneously show affection and respond with enthusiasm to so many different things. She is growing as the individual she is meant to be, without the burden of trying to completely change her natural inclinations.