Understanding the basics

Part of my last job was teaching K-12th grade students Computer Information Technology. While I was teaching my students, I myself was a student at our local community college working on a Web Design Degree.

This combination of circumstances offered me a unique opportunity. The students that were coming out of high school were lacking what I consider to be a vital piece of the technology puzzle; the basics. Problem-solving and critical thinking are the root of the basics.

With the advantage of learning computers from the beginning, I learned CLI and Basic programming before GUI was even a thing (Fascinated with Electronics). And back then, the only place to get information was from the two three-ring binders that came with our PC (The first model released to the public by IBM). We did have a set on encyclopedias up on the shelf but they didn’t offer much information on this new technology that I had at my fingertips.

I know some of you younger readers are going to gasp when I say this, but if you can only imagine, there was no such thing as the internet at that time. I have often thought, being the knowledge junkie that I am, how overloaded my brain would be today if I had access to Google and YouTube when I was a teenager.

With what I did have available at the time, I taught myself DOS and BASIC programming. At the age of 19, I took my first college course – in BASIC programming, of course. I was already married and a new mom at the time, so I took the course through the mail. SNAIL mail (again for you younger readers, this is what we older people call the actual mail you send through the post office.). Email wasn’t really a thing yet either. Oh. And cell phones didn’t exist.

When I completed my final project, my professor had to ask me to explain where I got the information that I used to create a graphic Yahtzee-type game as my final project for his Introduction to BASIC class.

Taking college courses today with the kids coming out of high school, It seems that the large majority know very little about technology. Because the technology has advanced so much with GUI (graphical user interface), we are losing the knowledge of what is underneath the hood, so to speak.

There seem to be fewer and fewer kids going into the technology field. My daughter was one of those honored with the title of High Honors for her high school career. Sitting in the auditorium of our small, local high school, I watched as one student after another walked across the stage and announced what they planned to study in college. Sadly, out of well over one hundred graduates receiving the distinction of High Honors, I was able to count on ONE hand, the number of them planning to enter any kind of technology field.

If your child is obsessed with electronics, I think you would be doing your child and yourself a great service to encourage them to use that obsession in a positive way. Yes, they will most likely squawk about it at first, but in the end you many be very surprised at the outcome.

As a technology teacher, I would recommend starting the younger kids out with something like code.org. If your child is older, they may be ready for codeacademy.com. Help them learn critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Math, although dreaded by many, doesn’t have to be a drudgery. I love tutoring students in math. I really believe that math is a subject that everyone can be good at. It is very critical, however, to try different approaches in teaching it to cater to an individuals learning style. Parents dread math because it wasn’t explained to them in a way that made sense. As a result, they unintentionally pass that dread on to their kids.

One of my go-to supplemental tools for teaching math is Khanacademy.org. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it is a good place to start. Find someone who is passionate about math to mentor you or your child.

When my students were old enough (as early as 4th grade), I would begin teaching them, in my tech class, about binary and the concept of number systems and how they work.

With technology growing at such an exponential rate, critical thinking and problem solving, will benefit anyone entering the job market. Even if you aren’t entering the job market, I’ve heard it is a great way to keep your mind sharp!! 😉

Controversy Within

Suffering in Ignorance

For all of my adult life, I have dealt with the frustrating effects of ADHD. Most depressing of all was that I didn’t KNOW I had ADHD until I was over 40 years old.

I have tried so hard to do my best and failed for as long as I can remember. Disorganization and forgetfulness was frustrating to those around me. They thought I was lazy. I was having a really difficult time trying to decide weather they were right, or if there was a reason that I couldn’t change it, no matter how hard I tried.

Epiphany

A situation that could have easily cause our house to burn down opened my eyes to the realization that this wasn’t just disorganization, forgetfulness, and down-right laziness as I really was beginning to believed. Standing in the kitchen cooking dinner, I heard my toddler in the bathroom calling out to me because he needed my help. I walked into the bathroom/laundry room to help my little guy out and the next thing I knew, I was folding laundry that had just finished drying, dinner long forgotten. The realization of what had happened cause a complete meltdown. I couldn’t take it any more. I was trying so hard and and still, I was failing those I loved the most.

Time for Action

I started doing research, starting with the book Driven to Driven to Distraction (Revised): Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder.

I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Was this guy reading my mind? Almost everything he said described me to a tee.

I visited my doctor and for many years, I was on non-narcotic prescription drugs for ADHD. Organization was still an issue, as did focus. Life became more manageable, however, and my stress level went down significantly.

Sometimes Surviving is Not Enough

Recently, I had a major career change. I loved this new job. However, I quickly discovered that the prescription I was on was not doing enough. The demands of a corporate job required more focus than the medication was providing. I felt like I was drowning. And my new manager (Let’s call her Kathy) was working with the assumption that I had a normal brain. Ha! So was I, for that matter. I began to worried the relationship was going to be difficult and challenging.

New Information

During a conversation with a friend who also suffers with ADHD, she told me that she was taking a time-released prescription amphetamine. I began doing more research. I read some information online, watched some documentaries, and talked it over with my husband.

After much internal turmoil over the issue, and having weighed the pro’s and cons, I went back to my doctor. With her advisement I decided it was time to try this avenue with the hope that it would allow me to be productive to my fullest potential at the new job.

A Coach Makes All the Difference

My doctor started me off with the smallest dose and gradually increased it over the next new months. I decided it was time to sit down and have a discussion with Kathy. I told her everything; about the ADHD, my struggles with keeping my head above water, and the decision my doctor and I had made.

That was all it took. This amazing woman started working with me to find a system that would help me in staying organized and keeping track of things. She has been very instrumental in helping me. I appreciate her immensely.

For the first time, I felt like a fog had lifted; one that I had never know existed! I believe the drug was the second important component in changing my life. The first, and most effective was an incredible person that God brought into my life.

I have seen it stated repeatedly that having a life coach is very important to the success of someone with ADD or ADHD. If you truly love someone with ADHD, there is a way you can help. I am not telling you to enable them. This is not an excuse to justify their issues. They have to genuinely WANT to change. In my case, I did want to change. I just didn’t know where to find a coach.

Natural is Always Better

I want to make it clear; my hope is to stop taking all prescription drugs at some point. If you are just starting your journey (for yourself or with someone you love), I hope you are able to start with a natural course of treatment and find a good coach. I really believe a great coach (Thank you, Kathy. Your an angel!) is the most crucial piece of the puzzle.

Consult your doctor. Make an educated decision that’s best for you. Don’t try to figure this out alone and suffer in silence. I hope you find success. I pray for an end to your frustration. Its time to reach out and let someone help.

Those that were close to me were often unable to help. They were too close to the situation. Frustration, anger, impatience, and resentment will have no place in the coaching process. There are many books and resources out there for coaches. I am sure that Google and Amazon have a lot to offer on the subject. 🙂

Lord,

Please be with your dear child who is reading this blog post. Open the doors and give them the tools that they need to find the peace and support that they need.

In Jesus Name,
Amen

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