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Old 07-12-2005, 11:19 PM   #5
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Re: ADHD Diagnostic Testing - Day 1

Dancergrl28 and Sylvia,

Ask your physcian for a referal to a psychologist that does ADHD evaluations. In my neck of Penn's woods, they are rare birds. I signed back in February for the earliest dates open - July 11, 12. It was well worth the wait and the the $50 copay.

Today's testing targeted the same cognitive functions as yesterday but with no meds. At the end, the doctor printed out graphs showing the two day results.

Two areas of cognitive deficiency showed up. Not surprisingly, attentiveness was one. It was also the area that benefited most from Ritalin. The difference was striking. The graph showed exceptional attentiveness on Ritalin even exceeding maximum scale value at one point. Without meds, however, there was a rapid decline that finally leveled out near the bottom of the chart. I find it significant that my best efforts under scrutiny in a labortory setting could not offset the attention deficit I've experienced all my life.

The other area of concern is short term memory. I did not do as poorly as the attention test but neither was there much gain on Ritalin. The short term memory problems influenced the fluid reasoning test results. Fluid reasoning is what computer programming is all about. I thought I would excel for sure. I came in just above average. How can that be? The simpler two step test problems I could manage. But as the number of steps increased so did my failure rate. What I can't do is hold in my short term memory the results of calculation 1 to be used in calculation 2 the results of which are to be used in calculation 3, etc. The crux of the matter is I can work out algorithms on paper but not in my mind because my short term memory is deficient.

The short term memory problem sheds a lot of light on what ails me. I figured I was forever losing, misplacing and forgetting things because I existed in a state of distraction. No doubt distraction is the major player but deficient short term memory is also playing a significant role.

What to do? Task lists help in day-to-day planning. Writing out algorithms and diagramming software solutions before coding overcomes the fluid reasoning that at average is still deficient for the type of work I do. Tell you what. Good planning is a good software practice. No one will ever know the difference.

But the attention deficit? Unknowingly I've been looking for an effective management tool for about 50 years now and haven't found one - except for Ritalin. Maybe some day.