Guest Blogger

Ben Glenn

Ben Glenn

Deep in the dark recesses of a damp basement in a stern Illinois government building, there are many X-Files-style filing cabinets, and in one there’s a file with my name on it, Ben Glenn. About 4 inches thick, filled with papers that date all the way back to the early ’80s, the file reads like a novel: “A long, long time ago in a land far, far away there was a boy in the third grade who was asked to take some tests that would change the course of his life forever.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if the story continued, “…and after being placed in a special education class, all of Ben’s challenges went away and he had a successful academic career”? Maybe. But it didn’t. Growing up in a special education class was a negative experience — the biggest challenge of my young life.

And while we’re separating fantasy from fiction, I guess I should clarify that I didn’t really sneak into the government warehouse to steal my personal files. I requested them and received them in the mail, like an organized, intelligent adult like my wife would do.

In 1998, three years into my marriage, my wife, who is the smartest person I know, suggested that I visit a psychologist to see if I might in fact have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) (on top of the dyslexia with which I really was diagnosed in the third grade). At the initial meeting, to help with the diagnosis, the psychologist asked me to try and track down my records. I was curious to see what was written about me, hoping it would explain why I had to go through so much adversity.

I wasn’t sure if there would be anything left to find, so imagine my surprise (and yes, I will admit to this!) a small burst of pride when I discovered such a gigantic file.

When the papers arrived from the State of Illinois, deciphering the information was not unlike trying to read in a foreign language. “Why does this stuff always have to be so complicated?” I asked my wife, feeling not a little frustrated. I gave the file to my psychologist; he gave me the ADD/ADHD stamp of approval in return … and I’m afraid not much else. Confused and unsure where to turn, the only thing I was sure of was that I needed to get to the bottom of my “disability.”

It can be incredibly discouraging to receive a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD, especially if you never get beyond the surface — that it is a disorder, a cause of disorganization, absentmindedness, and poor focus — to find the benefits. In the fourteen years that have passed since the day I got that file, I have met hundreds of parents, teachers, and students who are, or have been, as frustrated and confused about ADD/ADHD and the struggles that come along with it as I was, and because of my experiences and theirs, I have worked to find simple and practical answers to questions people have about ADD/ADHD.

My hope is to encourage you with information and insights about ADD/ADHD that might convince you that it’s not the end of the road for you or your child. And I also hope to do it in such a way so as to continue living up to a moniker that someone gave me a few years back, “The Simple ADHD Expert.”


Blog Posts by Ben Glenn

  • Finding the good in ADHD, Part 5: Sensivity

    Finding the good in ADHD, Part 5: Sensivity

    [Sen-si-tiv-i-ty, adj. easily offended, embarrassed, and angered; hurt feelings from tone of voice; cares about others.] I’m 6’4” tall and weigh 250 pounds. I’m an amateur boxer. I lift weights. Oh, did I tell you that I’m also a sensitive guy? Yeah, you heard right; sensitive. Being sensitive can have a downside and an upside.

    Read full story
  • Finding the good in ADHD, Part 4: Adaptability

    Finding the good in ADHD, Part 4: Adaptability

    [Ad-dapt-a-bil-i-ty adj. changes subject a lot; adjusts to different conditions; enjoys variety; eager to offer suggestions and assistance.] ADHD brains thrive within structured environments (the how, what and when), but absolutely can’t stand routines (doing things we already know how to do over and over). It’s important to understand the difference between the two and […]

    Read full story
  • Finding the good in ADHD, Part 3: Resourcefulness

    Finding the good in ADHD, Part 3: Resourcefulness

    [Re-source-ful-ness, adj. looking at other student’s papers; asks lots of questions; blurts out answers before their called upon; impatiently takes matters into their own hands.]

    Read full story
  • Finding the good in ADHD, Part 2: SENSE OF HUMOR

    Finding the good in ADHD, Part 2: Sense of Humor

    [Sense of hu-mor, n. points out funny actions, objects, and situations in classroom; laughs at weird moments; makes inappropriate comments; good at entertaining themselves.]

    Read full story
  • Looking for the Good in ADHD, Part 1: High Energy

    Looking for the Good in ADHD, Part 1: High Energy

    As an ADHD lifer I am here to declare to you that there is more to ADHD than meets the eye. Unfortunately, because the negatives can be so disruptive at home and especially in the classroom, any positives that might exist can get lost in the negative’s glare. But don’t lose heart, there is good […]

    Read full story