Organized or Not?

People who don’t live with someone who is chronically disorganized have no perception of what it is or what it means to be organizationally challenged or to have executive function impairment. Einstein had to be reminded to shower and change his clothes, comb his hair, wash his dishes, what meetings to go to, what his class schedule was for teaching, etc.  Einstein’s brain had room for nothing but physics! His professor friends and research buddies met regularly after his wife died to set up a schedule to help keep him on track. Imagine–a world-level genius needed help. Edison would have missed half the deadlines in his life had he not had people who reminded him of everything. Rockefeller had to be reminded of his meetings, deadlines, commitments, etc. John J. Audubon once showed up for a meeting with the president of the U.S. the day after it should have taken place. He missed a ship sailing for England because he forgot what day of the week it was. (He was in his 30’s when this happened.) There were many people around these individuals who had no perception of their needs and who were highly critical of their deficits. Those who perceived the need were assistive and were critical to these individuals’ success.

We can’t keep thinking that all people are alike, that everyone will learn everything at the same time. With disability, some things can never be learned. Who seriously thinks a person with a math disability will be able to learn higher math? How? Just by insisting? Something in the brain is different, and insistence doesn’t change brains. Neurological disabilities are what they are. With a disability that carries with it a component of disorganization as ADD/ADHD does, it is unrealistic to think we can expect a child or an adult with the disability to grow up “no longer disabled.”  Something in the brain is different, and insistence doesn’t change brains–and often growing up doesn’t, either. Therefore, we are the ones who must alter our expectations to accommodate the reality of the disability. To do otherwise is just as unrealistic as asking a person born with a short leg to “just grow it to the same size as the other one.”


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