Does ADD include a poor memory?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MidwestMom, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I talked to Jumper's math teacher and asked her why she had struggled in algebra (she ended up with a D+ and even the teacher said she was trying hard). The teacher said that she had trouble remembering how to do certain formulas.

    Jumper has a horrible memory. I really worry about her future because even when she studies hard and tries hard she doesn't seem to remember details. She does better on multiple choice tests. She is good at expressive writing, if it is creative, but not when she has to explain something technical.

    Is this part of ADD? I'm wondering if the whole ADD thing isn't the problem. I'm crabby tonight, worried about her future. It's not her fault she has a poor memory and is disorganized yet what kind of job can she do when she gets older if she has these problems? She is enjoying her high school life so much...I want the rest of her life to be happy as well. this what to expect from ADD? She certainly agrees she has trouble concentrating. Stimulants made her feel "hyper." She won't take them. They didn't help her concentration either. They just made her unable to sit still and she was actually babbling to That's not like her.

    Any good articles on ADD that address this? The stuff I read on ADD is all over the map. Some of the descriptions of ADD I read about remind me of autism, but she has no speech problems, no social skills deficits, and in general is 100% definitely NOT autistic. On the other hand, I read about ADD doctors and lawyers and wonder, "They have ADD????" That doesn't ring true either. I really need some good, accurate links...and any advice.

    Thanks :)
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member


    Can she multi-task? That has always been a huge issue for difficult child 1, but not at all for difficult child 3 until this year, and now it looks almost certain that taking citalopram has greatly stuffed up difficult child 3's memory being laid down, which flows on to not being able to multi-task.

    The way for Jumper to approach maths, is step-wise. Learn how to identify the steps, make notes as she goes, and rely on her notes and ability to do this. Intensive tuition from someone who is an expert in helping kids with multi-tasking issues will help her get confidence, which is a big part of this battle also.

    And she may just need time. She might not be able to do this until she's 27.

  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well...I was going to, poor memory doesnt have to be a sign of ADD. Jamie was/is classic ADHD and he has a perfectly fine memory. Always has. He had problems with attention and impulsiveness when he was younger (and that danged hyperactivity!) but ritalin took care of that. Now he is able to maintain on his own.

    He will never be a student even though I would love for him to get his bachelor's. He did graduate 3rd in the police academy though so he can learn now without the ritalin.
  4. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the answers and especially the links. I'd be happy for more feedback.

    Marg, my daughter will want to do what her peers do at eighteen. I guess I have to go one day at a time, but sometimes I get scared. She is bright and mature...she is going to want to go to college (of some sort) and get a job. Maybe she will have to go to a two year college first and take a few classes. No rush. She needs to be around other kids. If you look up the word "sociable" you'll see her face. She is always always always out with various friends and won't do well if they all move on and she doesn't.
  6. keista

    keista New Member

    Is it just Math she's having difficulty with? Does she do well with some units, but not others?

    Son always has some trouble with math - he claims he hates it. In elementary he was an ace - did fractions in his head. In middle school, he started getting stuck because he thought he should be able to do it in his head, and was too lazy to write things out. Now he's still lazy, but writes stuff out when necessary. has always pulled a B, sometimes a C

    This year, he got a D, some units were not a problem, but others he could not function through. So, just wondering if it was similar for Jumper, or if her problems were for the whole course.

    Anyway, If she has an IEP you might consider trying to get Math specific accommodations. Maybe a teacher approved "cheat sheet" of the formulas. It's pretty safe to say she won't be going into a math based field of study or work, so she just really needs to know basics. Any formulas she might need in the future will be set into whatever program she's using.
  7. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    There is a thread in the Archives about ADHD and Executive Function.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Heather. I will look.

    She has a poor memory for all subjects. And she has trouble understanding what she reads, however she can read fluently (no dyslexia). And she has trouble understanding/retaining what is said to her in a classroom as well. In short, she has a poor memory. Testing is hard for her. Her 504 lets her bring notes. Until that was allowed she failed every single test she took.

  9. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    It is likely that she has poor working memory. That should have been tested by neuropsychologist. It is reported as a subscore, along with processing speed. My son has similar issues.

    I think there is a lot of overall between ADHD and poor executive functioning. Working memory issues are more characteristic of poor executive functioning. There is currently some research on some brain training work to improve working memory with supposedly robust research results that you might want to investigate.
  10. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Both Miss KT (ADHD) and Hubby (ADD) have poor memories. Drives me nuts.
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    She's going to want to keep up with her peers... and your job is to appear to support that, while still slowing her down. She will NOT be ready for a degree program...

    How can you slow them down? I'm more familiar with the "guy" side of that... for example, if he wants to be an engineer, steer him into a related trade first: machining, millwright, mechanic - this allows time for them to mature, and "earn while they learn", and even save up toward their degree... some places will take formal trade certification as partial credit toward a degree... for example, a degree in education is sometimes taken as "2 years on top of 4" - either get another degree first, OR get another 4-year program (and an apprenticeship counts). Want to be a nurse or doctor? start with LPN. Want to be a dietician? start with commercial cooking. The hands-on experience makes the theoretical stuff easier to understand later - and tends to be a huge leg up when they get into the workforce. (If you've made stuff to spec on the metal lathe, when YOU go to design a part, you're thinking of both how it works AND how its made - the fellow beside you has no idea what its like to actually make 20 of those things and get them all the same.)

    Memory problems... technically, NOT "part of" ADD - just another in a stream of possible comorbid conditions. Not all ADDers have significant executive function issues. Kids can have working memory issues and not be ADD.

    I think, too often (we fell into this trap), we take the first diagnosis as "final and complete" - and usually, it isn't. ADD, sensory issues, auditory issues, motor skills issues, memory issues, learning disabilities... The latest research we've heard about seems to indicate that these are all somewhat related, AND likely on the same general spectrum as the pervasive developmental disorders (Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) being one of those). Non-Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids usually don't have the extreme social difficulties that are typical of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids - not that they don't have social issues, but not the same kinds. Even Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids are a wide range of skills and issues... If you like, try to picture all of these disorders as happening in the same area of the brain. Some people have no issues, others have one or two mild issues - enough to notice, but workable. Others have various sub-parts affected, some more than others. Its all "related" somehow. For example, an ADD kid may show "hits" on some of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) testing, without reaching the clinical threshold for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)... might have serious problems with empathy, but not enough other problems to "be" Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or Aspergers.

    Besides the ADD diagnosis, what other testing has been done? It will be important to know this as she goes forward, as this will help frame the kinds of accommodations she will need and the kinds of learning environments that are more likely to be successful.

    There's different kinds of working memory issues... from difficulty getting info in, to difficulty getting info out, to "unreliable" memory - getting it right sometimes and wrong other times, or remembering stuff that didn't actually happen. Some kids with memory problems can handle rote memorization - others can't do it if they were paid a million bucks. I could never get my multiplication tables right - until about grade 7, when some kind whiz of a math teacher sat me down and taught me some "rules" for fast calc of the tables... (4xY = 2x2xY; 8xY = 2x4xY = 2x2x2xY - if you know your twos, you can do 4s and 8s) I was allowed to bring the "rules" list in to exams, and have it open on my desk during math class. (This was YEARS before the whole concept of "accommodations" and working memory issues was even thought about!)

    And some "working memory issues" are not working memory issues at all... auditory processing problems, for example, can sometimes look like working memory problems. Seems like you've ruled out dyslexia, which is a learning disability.

    I'd suggest pursuing whatever other avenues you have to get a full ed-psychiatric or neuro-psychiatric work-up... what other formal problems exist beyond the ADD???
  12. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    NL has poor short term memory, but fantastic long term. The trick is how to get things from short term to long term. For "normal" brains, that may be repetition, for ADD brains, repetition probably doesn't work because concentration goes out the wayside.
    NL has had several jobs now and excelled at all. But to do so, expectations must be very clear up front. There must be no long string of directions, but one by one steps. He's doing best in the cooking field - he was doing garde manger work and is currently making gelato at a very small company (just him and the owner).
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the extra feedback.

    Jumper is way too socially astute (probably better than most people on earth socially) to have any form of autism. She has no deficits in socializing. None. She never has. Anything she has is not on the spectrum. She has no symptoms at all, never did. Her ability to transition, go with the flow, pick up on what others need and want and interact are outstanding...she is friends with everyone and it comes naturally. That's why even an ADD diagnosis puzzles me. I'm thinking too that her memory problems are separate from anything we have so far been told.

    Jumper has a neuropsychologist appointment. scheduled for this coming Tuesday. It will be very intensive and go from 8-3. Sonic went to the same neuropsychologist center and they are excellent. I guess I was wondering if there is something I should tell the neuropsychologist. Jumper is such a puzzle. Although she was adopted, I knew her birthmother really well and she did not drink or use drugs during her entire pregnancy and did get prenatal care. I saw her birth and held her before anyone else did. She was a normal birth and a calm, yet observant baby. She hit all her milestones early. She walked at seven months (yes, seven months) and spoke at ten mnths. She smiled and laughed a lot and never had any behavioral problems. She still doesn't.

    By third grade she was referred for an IEP because she still couldn't read, even with Title I. She has since caught up as far as reading words. Often she says she doesn't understand what she is reading. She also doesn't really understand or absord when her teachers lecture the students. She DOES take good notes and is allowed to use them for tests.

    The most puzzling thing is that she is a phenomenal good that if her grades were better she'd probably get scholarship offers to colleges. Anything her coach tells her to do verbally, she can understand and do. But even when her math teacher sits with her (as she often does) and works hard with her, she tends to forget the formulas or mix them up.Her math teacher is Jumper's basketball coach and she loves Jumper. She tries hard to help her and we have a good relationship.

    From looking at symptoms of learning disabilities, she does not seem to have dyslexia or Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD). I am so worn out trying to help this child. She wants to be an athletic trainer. Truly, at this point, I don't know how that will happen. Despite trying as hard as she can, she received three C's and a D+ (math) in her regular classes.

    Her IQ was tested at 106. She should be able to do the work. And, no, she doesn't have a NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD). She scored pretty much the same across t he board. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Frustrating.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    MWM, given that on this site you and I especially tend to see autism under every rock, if you say Jumper doesn't have autism, I will happily believe you!

    I'm thinking - executive function issues especially attention-based problems with laying down memory. And when I say "attention-based problems" I am not talking about kids not bothering to pay attention. This is something more complex at the level of brain function, it is not a kid who just doesn't care. She needs to find her own way of learning so she can achieve to her ability. Her brain is still maturing, it will just take longer. If she wants to do stuff at the same time as her peers, then she will need to set her sights lower. But she also needs to recognise that when she is older, about ten years older than she expects, she will then be able to do the stuff she wants to do at 17. In other words - when she finishes school she could get a fairly low-pressure job somewhere, and work her way to the top. By the time she has worked for a few years she will have more confidence, more capability and her brain will have begun to really catch up so she WILL be better able to learn as she should. That is when she should consider college or university. In the meantime, she could have some nest egg stashed away.

  15. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi, I see you've gotten a lot of positive answers here!
    I have to agree ... my son has to do things over and over until it is cemented in his memory.
    The Adderall (Concerta) helps, so that when it wears off, I can tell him to slow down and work through it and some of it (such as math) will come back to him.
    Best of luck!
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks all.

    Marg, i agree with you. However, I am thinking of a two year college plus part time work. She can take a few classes. She is going to need the socialization that goes with being around kids her age (or young adults). Most young adults in two year colleges are slower to mature in some ways. She is always going to struggle with the memory thing...I have it too and it has hampered me in many ways. I have become a big fan of post-its and notes...but at jobs, they often expect me to catch on faster than I can. I don't even know if Jumper can multi-task enough to work at McD' I had trouble doing it. I think I am going to gently suggest maybe she start out in an Early Childcare Program. That doesn't require a great deal of memory and shes can take advantage of how good she is with people and little kids. They love her. She can always try something more challenging later on.

    she could also keep playing sports at a two year college. That's very important to her.

    Soooooooooo frustrating. I agree that executive functions are part of the problem. Although her birthmother was a gem and her kids with her hub have no serious learning problems, her birth father went the wrong way and got into drugs...can't help wondering if he had learning problems. He probably did.

    Ok, onto her neuropsychologist evaluation to learn more.
  17. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I think my reply got lost in cyber space...unbeknowst to me until I looked for the thread. So...I'll just give the bottom line and make it short. Every Federally funded college and university has to provide some accomodations to those who have a deficit or a disability. One of our other members posted in recent weeks about her similar concerns. Her daughter was an avid athlete too. Check it out. You may feel alot better when you find that help is there and she doesn't need to be limited in her goal setting. DDD
  18. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    My ADHD son had a very poor memory in all things except directions to places and the specs of all cars. -RM
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    DDD, yes, there are also colleges that CATER to Learning Disability (LD) kids and will help greatly.

    But you still need a decent grade point average to get in, usually the same standards as any other student. Right now, she isn't there. My autistic son has a much higher GPA than she does.
  20. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    If you can get her some intensive Maths coaching at a facility (or with a tutor) skilled in helping kids with executive function issues, it might bring her average up.

    With difficult child 3, we have had to drop his subject load back to part-part-time. That seems to also be helping. It is increasingly looking like the citalopram was the problem (still is - we're weaning off). I asked him last night how he was feeling, he said he was ok, not too stressed but he is feeling like his head is not so fuzzy.

    The partial load plus work to fill in, could be the best way to go. And if she can't get her grades up enough - then she can go back to it after a year or so's break. Is thee a part-time option for her, with school? You might need to ask. We have that option here.