Having been diagnosed in my 30s with ADHD, I had already had a lifetime of experience finding various coping mechanisms as well as bad habits to compensate for the ADHD traits I wasn't even aware I had. It wasn't until I got my diagnosis that I really started my journey of self-discovery and began examining which of my "personality traits" were actually caused by my ADHD. I've come a long way in discovering how my ADHD affects my life, but I sometimes struggle to find a way to explain these traits to people without sounding like I'm making excuses for myself. So when I received my deck of ADHD Traits Cards in the mail for my Inattentive Type ADHD I was excited to take a look and see how well they explain everything. And they did not disappoint.
Upon first opening the pack, I loved how the top card tells the story of the creator. This immediately made it relatable and gave a sense that I could trust that these were going to be from the perspective of someone who has ADHD. The second card in the deck has 3 bullet points. The first gives a quick explanation of the 3 different presentations (types) of ADHD. The second bullet point talks about the difficulty in finding information about Adult ADHD and why the creator made this set of flashcards. The third bullet point touches on the fact that there are positive aspects to ADHD, but that this deck only focuses on identifying and managing ADHD traits in adulthood. This is probably my one and ONLY complaint about the deck. More on this later.
How I can use this:
I looked through the deck, which consisted of 28 flash cards printed front and back.
On one side of the card is printed the specific ADHD trait to which the card refers. On the opposite side, the cards are formatted in one of 3 different ways.
The first format is the description of the ADHD trait and why ADHD presents this trait.
The second format is a real-world example of how the trait could present itself in adult life.
The third and final format gives some of the top tips for managing said ADHD trait.
I like the way it's divided into these three formats. This provides a way to give a focused response and excellent descriptions as to why we, as adults with ADHD, might struggle with things in our day-to-day lives because of these traits. Sometimes when I am trying to explain why it is that I struggle with something related to ADHD, my mind will suddenly go blank when trying to think of examples thanks to poor working memory. The examples card gives a way to overcome that by already having some real-world examples written out for you. I also like that it gives an example so that it shows these examples of how people are affected by these things so you can show others that it's not, in fact, just something only you are struggling with. It could also help in situations where I might be struggling and beating myself up over one of these traits. Having an example of others with ADHD having similar issues might help to ease some of that broken feeling and motivate me to find ways to fix the issue, which leads to my next point.
I also like that it gives examples of steps we can take to help compensate for these traits. And I love that the examples aren't of things aimed at "fixing us". They are examples of tools we can utilize to make our ADHD brains not have to focus on the things we struggle with and therefore making our lives much less stressful.
Pros and Khaaaahn!
ADHD makes life hard. Mostly because it is an invisible disability that we mask most of our lives out of shame. Many of us become so good at hiding it that it doesn't look like anything is wrong. So, when we fail and have to see the disappointment in people's faces it brings us down even more into that spiral of self-deprecation. And so, because it's just easier to keep masking we, like Spock in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan", decide that the needs of the many (everyone else) outweigh the needs of the few (ourselves), and so we work even harder to make up for these ADHD traits and end up with massive burnout.
But, having a tool like this could be a game-changer. Having something that is quick and easy to take out for reference, either for ourselves, or to have others look over could make allowing us to open up about our struggles a bit. Maybe if people are able to see that this thing that they thought was just laziness on our part, is actually something that has a substantial effect on not only our lives but many other people out there. So much so that someone had to make a deck of flashcards to explain its complexities.
I love that the ADHD Traits cards are broken up into different formats so you can choose whatever works best for whatever scenario you are needing. Whether it's a way to help bring yourself out of a slump, or you are needing to explain to someone else why you forgot your 3:30 appointment, or how you forgot that you had a pot of water boiling on the stove.
The only thing I think could be improved here would be some cards that show, and explain, some of the positive traits of ADHD such as natural creativity and the ability to think outside the box. It might help to break some of the negativity and stigma surrounding ADHD. Where I understand that there are a lot of traits that need to be explained and managed that are a hindrance to adults with ADHD, I think it's important that we are also able to identify the positive aspects of it and be able to explain them and how they could benefit us for our wellbeing, as well as careers.
The Final Grade
I grew up with undiagnosed ADHD. So, for most of my life, I've had to try and find ways to explain why I kept disappointing people left and right without even really knowing what the reason was myself. Once I got a diagnosis it opened up my eyes that there really WAS something behind the curtain that was causing all the issues. But I still didn't really know how to explain it or give examples that made sense to other people.
So, having something that I can not only use to help myself understand my ADHD brain better but that I can use to help others understand better gets this tool a 5 out of 5 stars in my book.
If you want to pick up a deck for yourself, you can head on over to adhdtraits.com and order a deck. They come in Either the ADHD Inattentive Type, ADHD Hyperactive-Impulsive Type, or you can get both for the Combined Type.
If you already own a deck and want to share your experience, feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you thought.