You Can’t Spell Daddy without ADD

David Kirschner
3 min readApr 18, 2022

I tried to teach my son with severe ADD about ADD. It did not go well.

Me: Noah, today we’re going to learn about your ADD. Do you know what that is?

Noah: No.

Me: It stands for Attention Deficit Disorder — do you know what a deficit is?

Noah: No.

Me: It means “without” or “lacking.” So you’re lacking the ability to pay attention. But it’s not your fault you have ADD. <Noah begins hiding behind a stuffed toy>

What you’re doing now is a good example.

Noah: What?

Me: You’re having a hard time focusing on what I’m saying, partially because it’s not something you want to hear, right? So instead of listening, you pick up your toys.

Noah: Don’t want to hear what?

Me: About ADD. Do you remember what ADD stands for?

Noah: Actual…(unintelligible) Dystopia? <smiles sheepishly>

Me: How do you know the word ‘dystopia’? Never mind, it stands for Attention Deficit Disorder. Remember what the second “D” is for?

Noah: Defiled?

Me: Deficit. And that’s a perfect example. I just told you the answer but you couldn’t remember it.

Noah: Yes I did. I was pretending not to.

Me: OK, what’s it stand for?

Noah: Attention Def-iance-it Disorder?

Me: Deficit. Remember what deficit means?

Noah: No, what does it mean?

Me: Lacking, without. OK, so you have ADD. And again, it’s not your fault, but it is an issue we have to deal with. It makes it hard for you to stay on one task. And that makes it hard for me to teach you.

<Noah fidgets, looking for something else to do>

Noah: What does?

Me: Your ADD. Remember what it stands for yet?

Noah: <smiles, saying nothing>

Me: OK, let’s watch this YouTube video about it. That may help.

<Video plays for 13 seconds>

Noah: How many views does this video have?

Me: <hitting pause>

Well, this is a good example of ADD, Noah, we made it 13 seconds in and you’re already thinking about something else.

Noah: It only has 310 views.

Me: It’s new, don’t worry about it. I’ve watched it, it’s good.

<I hit play. Another dozen seconds elapse.>

Noah: When was this posted?

Me: It was posted in 2021. Again, Noah, these interruptions are your ADD working against us. It’s great to have so many examples of attention deficit while we’re talking about it, but please try to focus on the video for more than 30 seconds. Think you can do that?

Noah: OK.

<Within 20 seconds, Noah is cracking his joints and squirming around on the sofa>

Me: Noah…you’re distracted again. Can you *please* focus on this video? I know that by now you remember what ADD stands for, right?

Noah: Attention Depra-cfit Disorder?

Me: Close enough…

Noah: Why are we watching this?

Me: Because you should be aware of your condition and how to work through the limitations it can cause. Does that make sense? Just like your autism — your ADD is a condition that you should understand better.

Noah: Can you re-start the video please?

Me: Will you actually watch it this time?

Noah: Yes.

<We start again. He seems to be watching closely>

This video is in 780p, is there an HD version?

Me: Huh? No, Noah, that’s not what we need to focus on. I’ll show you so we can move on, but please try to watch and not worry about the screen resolution of this video, OK?

Noah: Are there closed captions?

Me: Yes, would you like me to turn them on? Would that make it easier?

<Silence>

Would it?

Noah: Would what?

Me: Closed cap — never mind. Let’s keep going. You remember what we’re learning about, right?

Noah: ADD!

Me: Great! And that stands for what?

Noah: Attention…Declinate Disorder.

Me: Deficit.

Noah. Deficit.

Me: Let’s just get through this, OK? We still need to do coding and History.

Noah: Chikn Nuggit has a plush toy coming out.

Me: What?

Noah: Chikn Nuggit has a plush toy coming out.

Me: I don’t even know what that means. What’s Chikn Nuggit?

Noah: It’s a webtoon.

Me: I don’t know what that means either. What the heck is a webtoon?

Noah: Not sure.

Me: Should we just move onto the next subject?

Noah: No, I need a break.

Me: <hugging him> Me too.

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