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What is ADHD? I hear this question rather frequently. My standard response is to say “Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder” and then give a quick description of the three main symptoms: distraction, inattention and hyperactivity.

If I’m on my game the sincerity in my delivery makes the questioner realize I’m talking about something beyond the occasional distraction, something more than not noticing your spouse’s haircut, and something a bit more excessive than going for a brisk walk.

But I’m not always on my game.

Can I tell ’em or what?

There are times when some people don’t believe me. These folks have already convinced themselves that a rumour they heard 20 years ago about ADD being an excuse for teachers to require problem children to be drugged is the only truth they need. They are so assured of their rightness that they sometimes won’t listen to reason.

So, I’ve compiled a list of extras for those who don’t believe. Symptoms are qualities a person has, some of these are not symptoms, per se, they’re more … indicators, marks found on the trail of a life lived in partnership with ADHD. But whether symptom or hallmark, add them up, they tell a story.

The list:

  • Poor oral health Yep, we tend to have bad teeth. Do we forget to buy toothpaste? Forget to brush and floss? Forget to make dental appointments or forget to go when we do make them? Or can we just not afford to go to the dentist? All good questions.
  • Poor financial organization We are more likely to have a financial plan for the weekend than for our retirement. Our idea of planning for the future is a more short term thing. Many of us are just trying to remember that we have the rent or mortgage to pay on the first.
  • Hoarding and clutter Which came first, the chicken or the egg? These two siblings of a disorganized life are hallmarks of our disorder. Like our symptoms though, not all ADHDers suffer from them, in fact the randomly chosen ADHDer may be insufferably organized, if that’s something they hyper-focus on.
  • Dysgraphia Dysgraphia is poor penmanship turned up to ten. I have to print if I want to have a hope of others being able to read what I have written. I can decipher it, but even I have trouble.
  • Skin hypersensitivity Itchy material, scratchy tags, clothing that is too tight or too loose, all these can prove to be irritating. My three big ones are collars that are too tight, long sleeves, and labels on the back of my neck.
  • Lateness Being late or missing appointments all together isn’t cool, I try hard not to do that, but I don’t always succeed. I’m better at it than many of our tribe, but there is still room for improvement.
  • Undone taxes Yes, the reason my road is in such great need of repair is because I’m two years behind on my taxes. I think it may be time to find someone who will do my taxes for me … or at least with me.

So that’s my List of Extra Indicators for ADHD. I know there are more out there, so let me know if I’ve forgotten any.

Oh, that reminds me, poor memory should have been on that list. Funny I’d forget that, my memory is actually quite good … I think??!?