Let me begin at the beginning. HOW I ENCOUNTERED THE CONNECTION My initiation to ADHD came through my middle son, Ben. Ben is truly what experts call a textarticle case of ADHD, if there is such a thing. A happy but busy child, he didn't run into any trouble until the first grade when we realized he wasn't learning. The teacher insisted Ben's lack of progress was because he wasn't motivated. However, we feared retardation, because Ben couldn't hold a fork or tie his shoes even though he was six. If you have poor nunchi, all is not lost. The first step to fixing a problem, the saying goes, is recognizing you have a problem. Here are some self-diagnostic questions to see whether you are a no-nunchi: A NUNCHI SELF-ASSESSMENT QUIZ Which of the following scenarios have you experienced? You have been told any of the following: Read the room; Yes, thanks, we heard you the first time; You're in a conference room at work, waiting for a meeting to start. To break the silence, you say, Is this another one of George's idiotic meetings that could have been covered in an email? You hassle a colleague for being late on Thursday morning, only to be pulled aside and told, You know he's been taking his mother for chemo every Thursday morning since September, right? One day I woke up and realized that twenty-five was too young to settle for a life without passion, Lisa answered. I thought about it. Twenty-five is too young to settle for a life without passion.

Thirty-seven is too young to settle for a life without passion. Eighty-three is too young to settle for a life without passion. Any age is too young to settle for a life without passion. Life is like a post card on which we write trivial messages in big letters and then squeeze what we really want to say in little letters around the margins. It's also like a telephone answering machine on which you have just so much time to leave a message. Have you ever left a message on someone's machine, and been cut off by a loud annoying beep right in the middle of a sentence? Then you had to call back to record what you really wanted to say. When his school delays resulted in a diagnosis of ADHD as well as an extremely high IQ, I was momentarily relieved. After all, ADHD accounted for his delayed social and motor skills. The relief I felt is common to many parents whose children have just received an ADHD diagnosis. I truly believed that the diagnosis would lead to answers and solutions. Instead, it led only to medication. As is common even today, the experts recommended we treat Ben's condition with Ritalin. My husband, Tom, and I resisted this until I'd done enough research to discover there was really no other treatment option. After we gave Ritalin a try, Ben seemed to calm down almost immediately and moved into his school's advanced education program. He still struggled with motor-skill problems and maintaining friendships, but these didn't frustrate him as much as when he wasn't on medication. So for us, Ritalin seemed a success. You are broaching what you think is an important topic. Someone responds by muttering, Bad timing. Your friends will see you one-on-one but have suddenly stopped inviting you to group outings.

People repeatedly glance at each other while you are talking. After speaking, you are met by a long, inexplicable silence from everyone in the room. If three or more of these scenarios seem familiar to you, you would benefit from working on your nunchi. If you look and listen, the answers are all right in front of you. You don't have to go through life feeling like a victim and wondering why bad things always seem to blindside you. Nunchi makes life more navigable and within your control. The Eight Deadly No-Nunchi Archetypes After that happened to me a few times, I realized that I may not have unlimited time to talk on someone's answering machine. Now I give the most important information first, just in case I am cut off. If I have time left, I leave more casual information. We never really know how much time we have to leave the message we came to impart to the world. It may be one year or a hundred. It's a very wise practice to do first things first; Sing your most cherished song now, and if you have some extra time you can sing some variations on the theme. Then you won't have to call back to finish your message. ACTIVATION: Go back to the list you made in the Making Now Count Activation above. During this time I came to believe much more could be done for people with ADHD, so I joined CHADD. As a parent advocate, I immersed myself in local and national conferences on ADHD and read every bit of research I could. At that time all of the literature focused upon people who exhibited hyperactivity along with inattentiveness.

Soon, however, the portrait of a person with ADHD changed to reflect children more like my oldest son, Jeff, who was inattentive but not hyperactive. This newer subtype was just emerging in ADHD research. Unlike Ben, Jeff performed well in school during his elementary years. He was by all accounts a happy, bright student. Consequently, due to our preoccupation with Ben's difficulties, my husband and I failed to see that Jeff was having more and more trouble keeping up. We reasoned that some of Jeff's difficulties stemmed from his entering middle school. We accused him of being unmotivated and lazy, unlike his brother Ben, who had a disability. If you've ever watched first-round auditions for The X Factor or any of those other talent shows, you absolutely know what it looks like when someone has no nunchi. The show producers intentionally throw in people who aren't just bad singers--that would be boring--but who are completely convinced they're brilliant. In other words, people with no nunchi. Every version of The X Factor or [Country]'s Got Talent in the entire world includes these nunchi-challenged auditions. Everyone loves them. You might feel guilty making fun of someone just for being a bad singer. But you rarely feel guilty crucifying a bad singer who is entirely convinced he or she is great. The singer with no nunchi has demonstrated tone-deafness in both the literal sense and the sense of ignoring social cues. Either their friends are afraid to tell them they have no talent, or they haven't got any friends (or they don't listen to them). It's human nature to believe that those who fail to take on board the reactions of those around them may have waived their right to sympathy from the audience. Put this article down, go to the telephone, and call the appropriate people. Remember that your purpose is not to elicit a particular response, but to tell the deepest truth you know. Just Be Here

I have a ten-year-old mentor who keeps me honest. One day as Shanera and I were driving home from our visit to Parrot Jungle, she was playing with a little stuffed bunny I had bought her. Feeling bored during the long drive, I decided to make some conversation in hopes that Shanera would say something humorous or profound. So, Shanera, how about if you tell me the story of your life? I invited her. Without looking up, she answered seriously, Right now the story of my life is getting this price tag off of this bunny's ear! Out of the mouths of babes. It was difficult for Tom and me to see Jeff any other way at this stage. He and Ben were nearly polar opposites. Ben had always lagged behind developmentally; Jeff had always developed ahead of schedule. Where Ben had been easygoing as a baby, Jeff was much more demanding, self-sufficient, and bossy. And though Ben had his share of social troubles, Jeff made friends easily and was a natural leader. So it was hard for Tom and me to understand what was happening to Jeff. My firstborn moved into first place for my attention when his teacher called to report Jeff was isolated, depressed, and unmotivated. In many ways he resembled the newer portrait of ADHD that had recently emerged in the research--that of learners who internalize their inattentiveness rather than acting out on it. These people tend to be dreamers who have less-defined attention deficits and who become hyperfocused and hypoactive rather than hyperactive. You do not want to be like a bad X Factor contestant. It's simply not the case that ignorance is bliss, unless you think it would be blissful to have your friends peel away without explanation. You could also be missing out on opportunities to improve at singing (or another skill) or to choose a different passion where you could genuinely excel.