2278 It Might Be A Thing.

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I think on some level John doesn’t want to know for sure if his academic struggles are simply laziness or a condition. Not knowing something like that leaves room to shift blame in your head as it suits the situation. It’s also something he hasn’t ever considered. He might just not be ready to process the idea at the moment. Either way Nina is carefully framing everything as normal & not something to be ashamed of. It’s more kindness than many people get from a professional. Although I can understand why some professionals run out of kindness over time. It’s draining to care. Especially if it’s a huge part of your job & outcomes are often grim. John simply has the benefit of having a friend/coworker who likes him being the one floating the idea. It’s not the kind of thing Carol could do with he same level of tact. The fact that Nina was able to suggest that he might have a learning disorder at all without John getting upset says a lot about her framing & tone are gently presenting ideas to him in a way that isn’t judgmental or adversarial. It’s something we can all stand to be mindful of from time to time.

37 Comments

damn that’s an actual word lmfao

Which word, comorbidity? It’s a word that’s been used quite a lot during this pandemic, so I’m a little surprised you’re unfamiliar with it. Mind you, I’ve never seen it used in the rather abstract way it is in this comic — usually it’s strictly used in the medical sense of having more than one health condition. (Although I guess Jackie’s just expanding the definition to include mental health.)

I feel John’s pain in this section. I have only realized as an adult that I likely have ADD or ADHD, though I have already developed work arounds and am not sure if I can get tested. A huge OMG moment for me happened about two years ago when I had a similar conversation with my wife. She was reading symptoms of ADD and started asking me about a hundred questions that sounded like me all through me childhood. I should clarify that she is a psychology major. I got kind of upset because I have asked her not to psychoanalyze me, but decided to see what she was getting at. I matched symptoms so well that I think I was a 90% match for a “textbook” case. And to think, none of my teachers caught on. My parents had suspicions, but anyone that grew up in the eighties and nineties, especially in rural Texas, will probably understand their hesitation to have me tested. Mom says the school I attended told her that if I tested positive for ADD or ADHD, the only help the school had for those diseases was to straight up put me in special ed and take me out of regular classes, and my mother was not having that since I was smart enough to be correcting teachers and administrators on a regular basis.

Another thing is the textbook changes, or in this case the DSM, the big book of mental diagnoses. During my time in the world of psychology we went from DSM-II through DSM-V-T. When I was a psych student ADHD was just starting to be discussed out in the world. I saw my first diagnosed case Asperger’s in the 1990’s. By the time I moved into administration there were whole chapters on the topic. The people with those symptoms were there all along. What changed was the way that the symptoms were conceptualized. We had an in house school where I worked and we spent a lot of time just figuring out how to provide services with a group of kids of whom many had some kind of attentional issue. But yeah, if you were in school during the 1970’s unless you had a diagnosis of mental retardation and went to the Special Education classroom you just had to struggle along with the rest of the class.

And the way the symptoms are conceptualized determines diagnostic billing and reimbursement. Psych diagnosis guides to DSM category numbers were a motherlode of production work at the shop where I spent the ’90s.

What is an “in house school”?

I worked at an adolescent psychiatric program in a state psychiatric hospital. Most of the kids were there for substance abuse treatment/behavior disorders. ADHD and various learning disorder were a common co-occurring condition. At least in Texas, there is a requirement for providing educational services. The hospital had and still does have an agreement with the local school district to provide educational services. The school district provided the teachers and the hospital provided the physical plant and supplies. The effectiveness of this arrangement peaked in the first half of the 1990’s. We were able to offer educational credit recovery, GED, vocational education and even helped a few kids graduate high school. All of this took place “in house” that is to say on the hospital grounds although any academic credits earned were counted as though the patient was attending the local school. Sadly, a lot of this was lost to budget cuts and politics. The state hospital system does still provide academic services on grounds but at a much more basic, just the three R’s level. My job included doing psychological testing and basic academic assessments. The school had in house (there’s that phrase again) psychology services and the teachers participated in the treatment teams. Given the resources we had it was really apretty good system.

Which also begs the question how humanity has handled this fairly common condition for millennia. Testing is good, medication is nice (I’m on it), but I also feel like perhaps the very way we structure schooling and education is rather myopic for precisely this reason–we attempt to put everyone in the same box and it’s ever more clear that few of us ever fit that box just right. We’re throwing Ritalin, or I guess it’s Adderral these days, at the problem, but more fundamental changes may be in order. Folks don’t like change though, and people still want to go “Not my little Timmy, he doesn’t have problems! Or if he does, just give him the magic cure so he can go back to being absolutely normal!”

Environments have changed over time. Trade craft was more important years ago. Now it’s all book knowledge. That requires different learning approaches. Sadly modern man really doesn’t know much in the way of practical skills anymore and would be completely hosed if things went back to trade craft. If someone was asked to make their own food, clothing or shelter they probably would be naked, starving and homeless…

Sadly I think you hit the nail on the head with that observation.

As a benchmark I look at the Scouting organizations – Guides was a lost cause even in the 70s with their overly coddling and infantilising of the girls – Scouting started its death spiral around the start of the new millennium with the updated yet watered down and woke program, as well as the centralization of administration and loss of actual effective support.
[ Canada Here – states is their own unique mess ]

Outside of Scouting and 4H, what youth programs even bother with life skills these days?

Life skills? They don’t even deal with social skills or even manners from what I can see. But I think it will be alright, society adapts, and will change for the better. Glacially slowly but, sure.

The army/navy/air force cadet programs do a pretty good job of teaching those skills, and survival skills were taught in hunter training classes I took. I am in Canada, those programs may be different in other countries.

The closest we get in the modern age to that is the maker and prepper culture when it comes to any useful skills when the power goes out or the grocery store is empty.

You made me think of a kid from my welding class in HS. He was kind of a troublesome class clown, but not malicious by any measure. May have had ADD, very fidgety, struggled with academics. It turned out he was actually *very* good at welding, had an artisans’ mind more than academic one. Last I heard he was going to trade school and my teacher really tried to nurture his talent. It was a small class, so the rest of us weren’t neglected either.

Wouldn’t have even the First clue how to hunt and trap, nor skin nor tan leather. But carding spinning weaving sewing and tailoring … that I have down pat. Forging, hardening, and tempering knives and swords, ditto. Making paper and inks, and a printing press, yeah. Catching a rabbit…. uhh… I’m SOL.

“how humanity has handled this fairly common condition for millennia”

The intelligent ones became stereotypical absent-minded professors.
The rest were treated as village idiots, or became artists. Depnds on whether and what tgey hyperfocused on.

Attention deficit isn’t an inability to pay attrention — it’s an inability to control what you’re paying attrntion to.

That is really well put, “it’s an inability to control what you’re paying attention to.” That sounds so much like… Squirrel! There’s another one, over there! Oooww, wanna go ride bikes? Uhh, me.
It was not a real thing yet, when I was in school. The teachers tortured me for my inability to pay attention! They’d send me to see the principal of the school. Give other kids permission to call me out if I looked away. They said everything three or four times, if you caught on the first time, or the second time, the rest of the explanation was just repetition. I got Bs and Cs, where’s the problem. I could answer any question they gave me. “Y

You! To the office, Now. Come back with a slip signed by the principal.”
Our principal was a really nasty one. Only swear word I Ever heard my mother use, was describing that principal. I wasn’t that smart, not even close to gifted, I was just really good at memorizing what I saw. Not like eidetic, more like just latch onto the picture of the diagrams, without any of the words.

I have ADD myself. When it kicks in I go into what I call “Jackrabbit mode” I can’t sit still but I use it to multitask as much as possible. I find when I do any kind of physical tasks like wood working, metal work, etc.. I don’t have to think I just do. Learning a new skill requires a different part of my brain vs trying to understand a math problem. With math I have to work it six ways to Sunday and eventually I get it.

Yup. You get hyperfocused on a project or something that interests you next thing you know the day’s wasted and you feel like a lazy jerk for wasting your life away.

Tact and empathy are one of those things I feel require a predisposition, but at the same time can be honed. Some people might pride themselves in being direct and how that is a sign of being genuine, however, as the comic and post suggested, delivery of the message is just as important.

You can give somebody a stone in two ways: you can lob it at them, or you can just gently hand it over – both transfer the stone, albeit, one without as much physical harm.

Or make stone soup. Or bell the cat (from Tom and Jerry).

Never did like that rodent.
Somehow the cartoons always made the cat out as the bad guy.
Jerry was a squatter, thief and all around bully in most episodes.

Well, yes. The viewpoint is with the underdog; in this case, the mouse. And the plot is usually trying to eat the mouse.

Which brings up a philosophical question: what kind of religion — what kind of ethical standard for behaviour — can be a faith for both the predator and the prey? If humans were to follow it, would it make for a pleasant human society?

Every time I hear a child called “lazy” related to school, I suspect they’re actually dyslexic. More often than not, when I’m able to check, it turns out I’m right.

Funny enough, since it’s my field, when I hear “The kid is dyslexic”, I assume vision disorders. Which is true like a third to a half of the time, depending on sources. It’s remarkable how many kids just don’t see right, but they don’t know they don’t see right, they find ways to cope, and nothing gets done. Even alot of eye doctors don’t bother checking.

My sister found out that her daughter was dyslexic then that girl was reading aloud her favorite story book – in the dark. She could recite the book by rote.

I am an old fellow. A few short years ago I was diagnosed with autism. The psychologist that aided me in figuring this out told me that simply because I could use words, that would have been enough when, I was a child to have just not picked up on it. Fast forward to now. Well all I can tell you is because of my advance age there is nothing to do for me now but for the love of all I hold dear it certainly explains a lot of my life. I look back on situations that I was involved in and cringe does not even come close to describe the level of social awkwardness that I have displayed at times. It was an odd realization believing all my life that I had a normal brain and that I saw things in a normal manner. It has led me to now listen more than I speak as I no longer trust that my perceptions are clear.

Well, don’t worry about it. If anything is becoming “clear”, it’s that “normal” is either far less common than previously thought, or doesn’t exist, in this context. We can be relatively on the same page when it comes to objective things like “Hammers hurt when you smash your finger”, but for social interaction and perspectives on culture and politics, it’s all over the place, even outside of “mental illness and neurological conditions” which afflict quite probably the majority of the population at a given time. We’re all together in being screwed up.

How many points does the word “comorbidity” give you in Scrabble? :)

In German you get 29 points.
With a word of that length you also hit at least one special.

WOW!

The Y gives you 10 points in German.
But of course “comorbidity” is not a German word so it is not legal. The German “Komorbiditaet” only gives you 22 Points, just fitting 13 letters on a 15×15 grid with at least 6 already in place is a feat itself.

Without including letter and word multipliers the base value is 21.

But the only way to get it to work on a Scrabble board would be to use all seven of your files in hand plus other tiles on board. Using all seven tiles in one word grants a fifty point bonus so the actual score would be 71 points without any letter or word score multipliers.

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