Re: Not Listening

Something my ADHD boyfriend was very sensitive about was people saying he wasn't listening; he'd heard it all his life.  What I noticed was that days after we'd had a conversation I was sure he wasn't listening to he'd quote something back.  He was listening.  He just wasn't giving me reason to believe he was.  One day when he was irate about someone yet again saying he wasn't listening I asked him what he did to let them know he was listening.  He tilted his head like "huh" and I told him people need feedback to know you're listening.  Because he is so busy in his own head during conversations he was unaware that he wasn't acknowledging what people were saying.  We set up a few different ways he could do this and it has made a nice difference for him.


I got that all my life too.  I've learned to look people in the eye and say, 'mm-hmm...' and 'okay..' while they're talking instead of looking around the room or doing something else at the same time.  I know my daughter must be ADHD and one of the things that is a red flag to me is when I read her a story, she doesn't look at the book/picture but wants another toy to play with or she draws or looks at the pictures in A DIFFERENT book while she's listening to the story.  (she's 4).

Eye contact...

That helps me... I never knew how distracted I was by everything about around the conversation. Eye contact helps me tune out all the other signals bombarding me at the same time.


Good Work!

Sounds like you and your dh have a very healthy system of working together for solutions.  I hope that my dh and I will get to that place one day too!  

Your post made me think of our daughter who got "demerits" at school the other day because she was coloring the checkerboard squares on the outside of her folder while the math teacher was teaching.  The teacher assumed she was not paying attention, but our daughter has always done more than one thing at a time.  Yet, she can usually quote verbatim whatever conversation or instruction was happening at the time.  She can even follow multiple conversations at the same time.  But, we supported the teacher in this case because our daughter has to learn that it's not always enough to BE paying have to also LOOK LIKE you're paying attention!  A good lesson for us all!

On the other hand, my ADD son (age 13) really does NOT listen.  If he is doing ANYTHING else, especially anything with a screen, like TV or computer, he literally does not HEAR.  Medication has helped a LOT with this, but if he is "hyper-focused" you still have to break the focus to get him to (sort of) listen. The first day he took medication (4th grade), he came home from school saying, "Mom, guess what!  Today at school I was working on my paper while the teacher was talking...and I could STILL HEAR HER!"  It made me want to cry to think how hard he had to have been working for so many years; he could not even look down at his textbook without losing all auditory input!  If he took his eyes off the teacher, he literally could not HEAR her.  How difficult that must have been, but amazing how kids will compensate.  He had learned that he must keep his eyes focused on the speaker to be able to hear, never realizing that other people did not have to do that!  

It broke my heart that it took so long for us to figure out that there was a problem, but he had always made good grades, seemed to get along with everybody, and very rarely got in trouble.  But he was the daydreamer type vs. hyperactive, so no one noticed any problems until the workload increased enough that he could not keep all the plates spinning at the same time.  "Plates" were starting to fall, and I was unable to stop it from happening (I did not know then that I have ADD too!).  Now that he is in middle school, I see more of the social challenges (he tends to be content to isolate himself), organizational challenges (how many times can I tell him to WRITE THINGS DOWN!?!?!), and his grades are a constant challenge, mostly due to zeros for missing work or failing grades on tests and quizzes because he did not study.  I can get him to complete WRITTEN assignments most of the time (and then I have to just HOPE he remembers to turn them in!), but he just does not seem to GET the concept of studying at all, no matter what we say.  He is not a strong reader, so looking over notes or reading through the textbook is like torture for him to begin with.  Then there is often no real "structure" for general studying, so he has no idea where to start or how to organize the information before him.  I can already see that it is going to take us YEARS to teach him these skills.  I am just hoping he can learn it "well enough" before he goes to college (7th grade now)!  

Oops!  I lost track of time AGAIN.  Must go to bed (3am!!).  Have a great week!