Today I’d like to share with you a little information that I hope will be useful and a book I highly recommend.
Many of us with ADHD think we are behind our neurotypical peers in at least some areas of growth and development – even those of us who are considered “older” and are expected to be fully mature.
Often our challenges occur in areas of executive function – those self-regulation skills that allow us to work and study and manage our day-to-day lives. We might have trouble regulating our emotions and impulses, paying attention, organizing ourselves and our “stuff,” or remembering things. We might behave inappropriately in social situations, feeling remorse and shame when reliving the events afterwards.
The executive functions live primarily in the prefrontal cortex of the brain which is one of the last areas of the brain to develop. It is not fully developed in neurotypical adolescents until they are 25-30. In folks with ADHD it can take quite a few years longer for the higher brain functions to “come online.” Growth is still possible even into our sixties and seventies.
Why do we expect ourselves and our kids to follow a growth pattern that is unattainable? It seems obvious that you can’t do what your brain isn’t ready to do – but that seems to be a hard lesson to learn.
A 2019 book that is enormously helpful in putting human development into perspective is Late Bloomers: The Power of Patience in a World Obsessed with Early Achievement, by Rich Karlgaard. I purchased the Audible version a couple of years ago and am now listening to it for at least the third time.
I highly recommend this book to parents who need facts to counter the enormous pressure to have their kids conform to a growth schedule based on the trajectory of the Mark Zuckerbergs and Bill Gates of the world. If you are a parent, you need this information!
I also recommend this book for any adults who were once in their teens and twenties Chances are you received many messages about how you were falling short. This book can help you rewrite your own life’s journey and allow you to value your unique path through life.