Roberta Schneider wanted to learn more about her son’s hyperactivity, which makes it impossible for him to read “more than a chapter of a book at a time.”
So about five years ago she started attending a support group run by Children and Adults with ADHD (CHADD) of R.I. at Bradley Hospital in East Providence. Little did Ms. Schneider know, however, that she’d end up learning as much about herself as her son.
After listening to other parents’ descriptions of their children’s behavior as well as from people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) themselves, a light went off in her head: This sounds a lot like me.
She realized that perhaps there was a reason she drove too fast, talked too fast, was disorganized and often forgetful.
â��I started to put the pieces together,” said Ms. Schneider, a Rumford resident w
ho now serves as coordinator for the support group. “I was telling someone tha t when I read a book, I read from the back forward and someone else said, ‘Oh my God, I do that as well.’”
Ms. Schneider is 52, yet was diagnosed with ADHD only four years ago. She’s one of many adults with ADHD (also referred to as ADD), a neurobehavioral, disorder characterized by attentional problems and/or hyperactivity.
“It’s like when you’re driving a sports car, and your brakes don’t work,� she said, describing how she often feels. “When I get up in the morning, I’m racing. Something inside of me is moving, shifting. I don’t just sit down and have breakfast; it takes me a while.”
While ADHD is often thought of as strictly a childhood disorder — it affects anywhere from 3 to 7 percent of school-age children, according to the American Psychiatric Association — recent studies suggest that the inattentiveness and impulsivity component of the condition can persist well into adulthood. It’s estimated that about 60 percent of children with the disorder carry on symptoms into adulthood, which translates to about 4 percent of the U.S. adult population, or 8 million adults.
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