Motivational and inspirational writer, Bryan Hutchinson is the author of several books about life with ADHD including the highly acclaimed, best selling "One Boy′s Struggle: A Memoir" and the author of the hilarious eBook that went viral "10 Things I Hate about ADHD"

Those with ADD ADHD miss subtle human communication cues

Why can't I 'see' what he means? We Adder’s are wickedly intelligent and able to perceive things that people without ADD ADHD have a very difficult time understanding, or rather, we tend to see things in a situation that are not yet clear to most people. As true as that is and as much of an advantage our perception and intuition is, we also have a disadvantage of missing the subtle human communication cues. I have an idea why that is and I have tested this idea. There is a way for Adder’s to learn what cues we are missing and start recognizing them for what they are. Many Adders do indeed learn the cues, but usually much time has passed and it’s in late adulthood.

At a very young age, non-Adder children start learning the subtle human communication cues that are a natural part of life. Youngsters of the age of 2, and often earlier than that, recognize facial cues from their parents and siblings. The subtle human communication cues are what guide a child in his or her actions before understanding ‘speech’. I think because of our distracted ADD ADHD nature, even at such a young age, we do not fully comprehend these cues, because we do not observe them as closely. Yes, we comprehend them, but on a more limited level from lack of focusing on them. That’s partly the reason Adder children are more challenging to raise. Because we miss an expression or a body motion from a parent we are perceived to be ignoring them. Then when we go off to school, and beyond, we continue to miss such subtle communication cues… it might be eye movements, raised eyebrows, a shrug, or a smile—people generally communicate on a completely other level which does not involve speech and is called body language. Adders need speech, clearly articulated.

Adders really get to know how much they are missing when they come to the age of relationships. It is not uncommon for Adders to be married late or miss out on several potential relationships. In my experiences many relationships do not form for Adders because of miscommunication and self doubt… well, self doubt comes partially from the miscommunication. The other person could be giving very clear indicators through non-speech and we Adders will completely miss them. This, I think, is a big problem. Think about it, at the beginning of any relationship of opposite sexes with hopes of becoming a romance neither person just comes out and says what their wants, needs, or intentions are: an Adder needs this clearly defined, but it is not typical and does not happen in the real world. Would you just go up to a new person you met and want to get to know and just come out and say: “Hey, I like you and would like to work out a relationship with you? Do you think we could just skip the courtship and get into the relationship?” –that’s not very likely to work and therefore an Adder is often perceived to be naïve or disinterested when missing the key, yet subtle cues of intentions. Kiss her or not kiss her? Do I have her approval even though she didn’t ‘say’ I can kiss her? For most people, if they have been aware and have been observing the non-verbal cues, then they would usually know the answer.

The good news is that we as Adders can learn body language and learn these cues, but it could take a very long time. If an Adder is undiagnosed he or she might think they are just dumb, stupid for not ‘getting it’ and over time, lots of time, we eventually (hopefully) learn some of the cues which were missed in the past. For those who know they have ADD ADHD this learning process could be much faster by knowing what it is they are missing and therefore start to deliberately learn the subtle human communication cues. The key is to know that this is a problem and accepting one’s situation and purposely learn what cues are and train one’s self to observe them. This is one of the reasons why diagnosis of ADD ADHD is often described by Adders as being liberating!

So, with knowing part of what we are missing in the everyday communications, why is it that Adders have such amazing intuition and perception? I think I know the answer…. But, that’s in another article to come soon!


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