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2 days ago

ADHD Wise UK

Just a quick note before I take the evening off... 😱

Please plan in something nice for yourself. 🥰

I’m leaving my phone at home and going for a curry with my lovely hubby. 👩‍❤️‍👨
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3 days ago

ADHD Wise UK

It’s Tuesday night and I have already worked 35 hours.

Sunday: 9 hours
Monday: 13 hours
Tuesday: 13 hours

Errr, I think I best take the rest of the week easy.
Errr, no. Tomorrow is an 8 hour day but then I’m down with ADHD Surrey and ADHD Foundation until Saturday night.

🙏The saving grace is that I absolutely love what I do.
🧡The essential thing is the support of my family.
🥰The icing on the cake is the feedback and acknowledgment from my amazing clients.
🤝The encouraging part is the growing team around me.
🙋🏼‍♀️The purpose is to make a difference - and I know that I do.

However, my current working hours are not maintainable and ‘No’ is a word I’m learning to say.

I’m not a Martyr. I get paid for a lot of what I do. But I do a lot for love too.
It took me a year to replace my part time teacher income, and now I’m almost back to a full time teacher salary. And I have my initial investment to pay back so it’s still hard. The intention is to earn a living but not a fortune. I know what I’m doing and why I’m doing it and I’m very proud to be a thriving #ADHD professional and a champion for change. I’ll take sone time out next week. #TeamADHD #lovewhatyoudo #dowhatyoulove #findyourpurpose
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3 days ago

ADHD Wise UK

Another testimonial that made me want to cry. 🤭

Jannine has persevered with my son for several months now, attempting to get him to engage with her which sometimes is successful and sometimes isn't. She has always been patient and constantly looking at different options and has never given up hope. She was rewarded recently when something serious and extremely upsetting happened to him and it was Jannine he contacted to tell her about it and to talk to.
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4 days ago

ADHD Wise UK

I can see my influence on the work of others. I love this, although sometimes It would be nice to see it acknowledged. Just a little nod or a thank you. Just a ‘I love this and I’m inspired’ or an ‘I’m stealing this’. Or even better, credit me in the post or publication. We are all influenced by each other and our work should always make others want to do more or better. But when I pour my heart and soul into something and see it replicated elsewhere, sometimes even better than my original idea, I should be able to feel proud of my input in someone else’s work.

Talk to me. I’m nice! Anyone who has worked with me will tell you I get great satisfaction from the achievements of others. A legacy is built on sharing and supporting others and I will help you or work with you if I can. I ask for grace, consideration and acknowledgment.

I haven’t written this about one person or organisation. It’s not personally aimed at anyone. It’s cumulative because it happens often in the UK and US. I notice! Sometimes it makes me smile but not when it happens a lot and especially not when it is so thinly disguised. It’s a compliment when it’s acknowledged. I’m not precious and I know that we can all unwittingly take on the words of others and make them our own - hence why most make me smile. I like that I inspire others to write. But write from you own heart please and not from mine.

I have #ADHD. The upside to this is the ideas and words will keep coming. Nearly 5 years in and I’m still writing! No sign of writers block yet but I do find myself being guarded and I have to consciously decide to let go and commit to sharing freely and I really shouldn’t even have to think about it.

Hey ho. My idealism I know. Maybe I’m just deluded. The book content stays under wraps but other than that, I’ll just carry on being me.

Jannine 🦉
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4 days ago

ADHD Wise UK

#Neurodiversity.
#WeBelong“We belong”. Neurodiversity - recognising that if 1 in 5 human beings have either ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia or Dyscalculia - means we can not be ‘errors of genetics’. We are not ‘disordered’ we are different. We are human. We are intelligent. We are employable.
Yes there are aspects of our lives that are challenging ... but we are not ‘less than’ and need only for you to see and understand those differences so we are able to achieve our potential and live happy, healthy, successful lives. “We belong”
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ADHD Wise

ASD/ADHD/SPD EYE CONTACT: WHY YOU SHOULDN’T INSIST ON IT

Today I heard a professional I respect praising a young person for improved eye contact. I was quite taken aback as it isn’t something I have ever felt we should be insisting upon. Being as she is quite an enlightened person, it occurs to me that many people do not know what I know about eye contact so I thought I’d share.

Eye contact can be physically painful! Yes it can! I know this because whilst I can maintain eye contact for a short time, I cannot maintain it for long enough to conduct a meeting for example. If I try, my eyes will close against my will. I will try, but the effort is painful and I will eventually fail.

It’s hard to explain why that is but I’ll try. If I’m looking at your eyes, I’m really looking. I can see the array of colours, the pupil dilation, the reflections in your pupils, the whites of your eyes, the red blood vessels, and if you’re wearing them, the outline of your contact lenses. I see your eyelashes as they go from dark at the base, to lighter and thinner at the ends. I see the details of your make up or your wrinkles. I think I also see deeper into your eyes, so I make judgements about whether you’re interested in what I’m saying, whether you like or respect me, and I decide whether I like and trust you.

That’s intense isn’t it? That’s tough to maintain isn’t it? My eyes blur and water from trying. I find myself trying to force it – and it hurts.

If I remember in time, I can ‘fake’ eye contact. This can be by focussing on eyebrows, glasses frames or make up – or anything like that. This prevents the fatigue that comes from actually making eye contact and is very effective. But I have to think about the strategy. It doesn’t come naturally and I’m often in trouble before it occurs to me.

So if a child finds eye contact as intense and painful as I do, is it any wonder they avoid it? Does a person with this difficulty ever consider why they avoid it? Do family and professionals ever consider why the person avoids it?

Probably not. I hadn’t until I heard the comment that inspired this blog.

Is it right for society to insist on eye contact?

Well, it’s a socially expected thing to do. Eye contact is supposed to mean something, and for some of us, it means too much – so we avoid it. It is considered to be a way of communicating that a person is listening, but for some of us, it’s impossible to look and listen at the same time. It can cause a sensory overload.

I would say that eye contact is a socially constructed norm, rather than something that is necessary to communicate. I understand that society is so entrenched in what it thinks is acceptable and normal that it probably hasn’t even considered that its insistence on eye contact might cause pain or discomfort – as well as actually inhibiting the persons ability to pay attention to what you’re saying.

Being as I said eye contact is not something I insist upon, what do I do instead?

As a parent and a teacher, I ask for verbal confirmation that I have been heard and understood. I might ask a child to look in my direction so I know they’re not distracted. Mostly I know I have my children’s attention because they are talking with me – rather than me talking at them.

I’ve taught my students to make notes, this means I can just check that they’re on task from what they are putting down on the page. The use of visual displays such as PowerPoint, video and white board writing means they have something to look at that engages them without ever needing to make eye contact. We also have sufficient dialogue in class that I know I have their attention because they are talking with me.

I have never considered it before, but I realise now that my own difficulties with eye contact mean I have removed that barrier to communication from my home, and my classroom without even thinking about it.

I don’t believe eye contact is necessary for communication, but society expects it. Maybe it’s helpful to teach a cheat method to help your child fit in? But please don’t force eye contact under the assumption that you’re helping the child. You might be unwittingly inflicting discomfort and pain. Your child avoids eye contact for a reason.

Jannine Harris PGCE MA

ADHD Wise UK

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