This Week: The Gift of ADHD and Regional Center Funding

In my weekly You Aughta Know This Week post, I discuss an article about why ADHD can be a gift and a petition I created in support of California Regional Centers.

This Week in ADHD

Thanks to NeuroRebel for posting a link to this article about making the most of your ADHD.

People with ADHD are the explorers of the universe, whether it is the physical world or their inner world. They are curious and restless. So they are wired to learn voraciously, taking in every detail excitedly and curiously and their high levels of creativity means they can synthesize conceptual links that previously didn’t exist before.

“Curious and restless” struck a chord with me.

I always have at least a dozen topics about which I am currently intensely interested, and that list of topics changes as I go. For instance now, I’m studying speech development in children, non-medicinal ADHD treatment, Watergate, the future of American health care system with respect to foreign systems, and a number of other things I don’t want to share publicly. At some point, I reach a point where I feel like I understand a topic and move on. Great. But I also have about 20-30 unread books in my Audible account, 40 unlistened-to podcasts, 50 unread books on my Kindle, 40 tabs open on my iPhone’s Safari, and 10 books sitting on my bedside table.

Basically, I have a huge number of varying inputs on dozens of topics that I am trying to absorb, and it is always like that. And I want to listen to or read every single one. Back before the Kindle, I had so many paper books that each move would require at least two hours to review each book and determine if it was worth moving. Even now, with digital e-books that don’t require this deliberation, I still have a bookcase worth of keepers, even though I’ve moved across country twice and ditched most of my books each time.

However, all of this input is actually good. I’m known at my job as being incredibly in tune with the news and popular culture books, and I’ve even had a boss ask if I wrote my thesis on a particular subject in history on which I most certainly had never written a thesis or even a paper of any sort.

While I appreciate the woman in the article suggesting that we try to play to our strengths, we have to be honest that we are very unique creatures. I don’t know how I will describe myself if/when I interview for my next job. How do you position your skills to give yourself the opportunity to shine in a role without facing the ADHD pitfalls, like boring and pointless meetings and routine administrative tasks like returning project emails? Guess there is yet more for me to study and research.

This Week in Autism

In California, we have Regional Centers which service children and adults with developmental delays and disabilities. They certainly are not perfect, but it is through them that many parents learn about potential therapies for their children. At our local Regional Center, a therapist recommended I get my son into a special needs pre-school for two year olds. I had to fight for it, but literally would not have even know it existed without her input. And she was a huge part of our first year with the Regional Center, coming over every week trying to interest my son in new toys.

Currently, the Regional Center is responsible for my son’s pre-school and his speech therapy. I am very grateful for the help they’ve extended, and our amazing case manager who has done so much to help our son get services he needs. But often when I visit the Regional Center website to look up information, I see a plea for parents to push the state legislature to pass improvements in funding. Regional Centers are publicly funded, but not adequately so.

Recently, I saw an article about autism caregivers and was reminded that this issue is still unresolved. This time, I did something. It is a small thing, but I created a petition asking the legislature to pass legislation aimed at fixing some of these funding problems. Assuming I get a fair number of signatures, I’ll bring it to my local Assemblymember’s office and do a mini lobbying visit. So please sign!  For more information, you can see my post about why I created the petition.

California’s Regional Centers are a model for the entire country, yet aides to children and adults with autism are not being paid fairly. As a result, Regional Centers are facing funding issues–and those with developmental disabilities pay the price. Pass AB 2623 to modernize Regional Center reimbursements.

And this is my weekly post on the media I consumed this week: April 21: On a Related Note.

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