I am watching a video from Jessica McCabe from the YouTube channel How To ADHD. (Link below).
The subject of the video, hence the title, is “Creating An ADHD Friendly World”. It sounds great, right? A world where people with ADHD are finally accepted! Not only that but integrated better into society. Is this merely wishful thinking? As it turns out…no.
In the video, Jessica says that “We live in a world where mental illness is talked about on a daily basis, and it’s ok!” We are getting more and more recognition. Whether that is a pro or a con is another story. But for this, I am focusing on the pros.
Take employment for example. I feel incredibly fortunate with my work! My advocacy job (PFA) is designed for people on the Autism Spectrum and its affiliates, if I can put it like that. Not just helping neurotypical people see what people with Autism, ADD, ADHD, whatever are going through, but giving those people jobs! My other job is a little more straightforward, but I never feel ashamed to ask for help or accommodations.
What kind of accommodations would I require? Well, written tasks help…somewhat. You can write down the tasks I am supposed to do all you want, but if I don’t know how to do it…how the Hell am I supposed to do that task? Two words: SHOW ME! I am a visual learner more than anything. At work in Hamden, I am expected to break down boxes, vacuum, assemble boxes, fill mineral oil bottles, et cetera. Seems like simple tasks a five year old can do right? Well if you’ve never done it before AND have a mental impairment, it’s challenging. My boss physically showed me how to do each thing and after a few times, and over a year of working there, I know what to do and how to do it…and do it right!
I see written things as kind of a waste, actually. That sounds hypocritical of me, since I have A TON of papers with notes, ideas, jokes, etc. in a drawer at my house. And I get it. To some people, they thrive on visual reminders. But me? If you were to put a sticky note on my dishwasher saying “Empty/Fill” I’d probably ignore it and throw it out. Now if you tell me or ask me to do the dishes, I’ll do the dishes. Checklists and task lists are nice, but they aren’t for me. I find them overwhelming. To me, a task list is a “Oh my God! I have all this crap to do in x amount of time?! I’d better hurry!” That leads to tasks either being done half-assed, or not done at all.
I am better at audio/visual. I mentioned showing me how to do a task or chore, but telling me “Do this” after I am done one thing is beneficial to me. I find it better because I can focus on the task at hand and not think about all the other stuff I have to do.
Education is another topic Jessica talked about in the video. I know, I know. “How can you teach what you don’t know?” Well, as Jess put it, accommodations. In High School, and even some Middle School, I had assigned note takers and extra time on tests. I didn’t always need it, but it’s things like that that show progress. We are making progress for ADHD’ers.
Simply asking for help is a HUGE pro. Jessica uses her mom’s death as an example. She said after her mom died, she got forms to fill out from the bank and she felt overwhelmed. So what did she do? She called the bank and told them about her ADHD and how she felt overwhelmed. The bank helped her with the forms. Advocating is a massive step for people like me and Jessica.
So can the world be ADHD friendly? I think it can. I do think we still have a little ways to go but we are getting there. People are beginning to take notice of mental illness and actually doing things about it. So do you think our world can/is becoming ADHD friendly? Or is it a pipe dream? Let me know in the comments, be sure to watch Jessica’s videos, and as always, thanks for reading!