The Distracted Pre-Schooler

I came across something interesting this weekend, while I was thumbing through the album my parents put together of my baby photos and accomplishments, etc. I couldn’t help but chuckle, reading it as an adult, and in the context of my Adult ADD diagnosis.

In the first few pages I came across a letter from my pre-school teacher. Apparently, it was one of those typewritten letters that they teacher sent home at the end of the school year, individualized for each student. Mine started out saying what a pleasure it was to have me in the classroom. Then the next three paragraphs were the teacher’s recommendations on how my parents could help me continue learning during the summer.

The first of those recommendations had a red check-mark next to it (the other two did not), and read something like this:

If you are working on something with him and he seems distracted, stop the activity and allow him an opportunity to do something else for a while before trying to get him to refocus.

That’s still how I operate today, and I’m at my best in an environment where I can stop and change tasks or activities when I get distracted. Even with treatment and coaching, I still get distracted, the difference is that I now I’m more likely to recognize it and adjust for it, and that it’s a little easier to refocus. And having inattentive type ADD, the letter doesn’t say anything about having any trouble sitting still. Just staying focused. If something catches my eye or arouses my interest in the middle of a project … well, the pull is very strong. I was the kid who didn’t necessarily disrupt the class, but who just started out the window and quietly daydreamed; easy to miss if you’re teaching a class of 30 or more kids, some of whom are hyperactive.

Interestingly enough, this is the same teacher who picked up on my early reading ability. Not only was I reading by the time I started pre-school, but I was also a very expressive reader when I read aloud. I remember most of the other kids read in a flat monotone, but I somehow learned that things like questions marks, exclamation points, and commas called for more emotive reading.

I guess this teacher (whom I still see when I go home, because she goes to my parents’ church), must have told another teacher about this kid in her class who was an impressive reader. Because one of my earliest memories is being taken to a third grade class to read to them. My guess is that the other teacher asked my teacher to bring me to her class to maybe help inspire her students a little in the reading department.

Anyway, it was interesting and funny to come across that. Next time I’m home I’ll see if I can find any old report cards and count how many of them have comments like “Terrance has the ability to accomplish much more if only he would apply himself,” or “Terrance’s work will improve if he learns to focus,” etc.

Just for laughs, of course. I have to laugh about it, otherwise I’ll get wrapped up in thinking about how I slipped under the radar for so long, and how I might have gotten treatment sooner if I had been hyper and more disruptive.

About Terrance

Black. Gay. Father. Buddhist. Vegetarian. Liberal.
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2 Responses to The Distracted Pre-Schooler

  1. Nio says:

    My report cards always said “does not pay attention” and “does not wear her glasses.” I still don’t pay attention, but I do wear my glasses.

  2. Tim Who? says:

    From day one I did the very least i could do and not get an F. I didn’t skip school and I was always polite I just never did anything. I don’t recall EVER doing homework so every year my report card said D.D.D.D.D.D.D.D.D.D.

    Around Jr High my mother stopped even looking at them, signing them without even opening them up, because she knew it said D.D.D.D.D.D.D.D.D.D.

    In my Senior year I learned that I almost had enought credits to graduate early and if I took just one extra class and had a 3.0 average for the 1st quarter I could graduate at the half year mark (Jan 26th) I was 4.0 from that day on and I made the Dean’s List. When the school called to report to my Mother that I was at the top of my class she argued with them for a half hour. You MUST have the wrong number! Tim…My Tim?…Spell the last name…Are you sure?

    I walked out that Jan and never looked back…

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