Jul 8, 2010

Poll Results: Do You Have a Challenged Brain?

Summary: The latest poll question has been answered and closed. You shared openly and honestly about your brain challenges. Now let's explore more together, over the coming weeks, about the communications challenges they present you and how you can grow to overcome them.

I've already asked if you have a challenged brain. Many of us do--most certainly when we're worked up emotionally. But other challenges can pressure our brains, our bodies, our outlook on life. Some examples you know are:

- Attention Deficit Disorder, also known as ADD or ADHD (for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder): Commonly diagnosed in children, this brain challenge can also affect adults, especially those who have had it since childhood. It's commonly characterized by difficulty focusing or paying close attention to one subject at a time; simple mistakes in tasks or homework that are made even when the person knows the right answer or the correct way of performing tasks; chronic disorganization and forgetfulness. (Tara McGillicuddy, a blogger who not only coaches people with ADHD, but also has it herself, just posted about a workshop she'll be presenting this fall on self-advocacy strategies for adults and teens.)

- Mood disorders: These run the gamut from short-term and seasonal depression to Type I Bipolar Disorder, which can contain periodic hallucinations and psychosis. Substance-induced mood disorders can mirror other such brain challenges, but are only brought on by the intake of substances like drugs and alcohol and/or their withdrawal from the body/brain. (Some mood-related blogs I recommend are Julie Fast's "Bipolar Happens," "My Son Has 2 Brains"--a mother's perspective on raising a young child with a mood disorder--and Helia's health blog about Seasonal Affective Disorder.)

- Autism: A brain challenge that may or may not involve brain chemistry, but definitely involves the size and shape of the brain and its hemispheres, autism--like most brain challenges--appears on a sliding scale, or spectrum. People with High Functioning Autism and Aspgerger Syndrome have the ability to socialize, but are often somewhat confused by the hidden 'rules' of social life and society. This confusion becomes increasingly deeper the further you go into the autism spectrum; those with full-blown autism frequently seem to live inside their own heads, rarely communicating verbally with others, except via sound bites they may have taken from TV shows, music and movies. (From a parent's perspective, "The Joy of Autism" is an interesting blog; from that of someone with an autistic brain, visit "Aspitude!")

Of those who voted, only one reader indicated, "My brain is only challenged whenever I am emotional," meaning that several of you with additional challenges were interested in this poll.

What didn't I include in the poll? Psychiatric and personality disorders like schizophrenia and Borderline Personality Disorder, Oppositional/Defiant Disorder and Histrionic Personality Disorder are just a few. I could also have listed other learning disorders or challenges that affect the senses like deafness or blindness. (Incidentally, the blogger at "Aspitude!", Elisia Ashkenazy, is also profoundly deaf.)

All brain challenges can be 'overcome' through hard work and a desire to grow. The first step is recognition. Over the coming weeks, let's look at some specific challenges to communicating clearly that these and other brain challenges give you. More importantly, let's solve some challenges--together!

© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2010

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