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Old 09-03-08, 08:47 AM
canislupus canislupus is offline

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Re: Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (SCT)

Well, to add to the growing database, here is my experience/story:

initial situation:
55 db hearing loss, mayb from birth, more likely due to overdose of antibiotics during "toddlerhood".

subsequent iq testing provided a result of 133, worst partial test result in memorizing.

it was believed that this iq in combination with hearing aid would allow for ordinary schooling despite the hearing problem.

curriculum vitae:
in short - not at all. even though most iq tests i took later scored in the same range and a little above (there might be a training bias) i did not do exceptionally well in math or natural sciences. i never did any homework (too, arduous - considered that "cool" at the time, later realized i was completely incapable of doing it) and was largely absent during lectures. the only kind of learning i did was in a last minute frenzy before exams.

my average day consisted of 12+ hours of computer gaming. either thrill seeking, playing shooters or semi absent, playing strategy games (almost meditative, certainly not goal oriented or good play).

this behavior carried on deep into university life (computer science) and did only break down after aquiring my bachelor degree. understanding of the subject matter of course is required for a master thesis and for the different kind of exams (oral) a computer science diploma in germany requires. even though the grades i got as a bachelor were good, i would have been quite unable to explain the contents of my subjects to anybody who would have asked. the way i "learned" was a kind of reference learning - i knew where things were written down, and since books were allowed during exams, i could return to the pages in question and solve the given problem by analogy. there were surprisingly many assignments to be solved that way and even though my understanding was severely limited, i scored within the upper 10% of quite a number of exams, high level abstraction tends to completely blow my mind though.

the latter is due to defective working memory i think. memory retrieval often tends to be poor, short term memory is abysmal but the inability to deal with several (more than one is a problem already) lines of formulae at once is a killer.

i can relate closely to the accent problem discussed here earlier, wether this is due to hearing loss or auditory processing i dont know. for other languages or accent heavy speech on tv i generally use subtitles.

looking somebody in the eye can be a real problem for me. the sensation that occurs then is best described as "cognitive overload". it has adverse effects on my own thought process and often interrupts my line of thought/speech. i tend to be oversensitive to social situations in general though.

concentration on a given task is very hard for me. i tend to do multiple things in parallel which, given the defective working memory, of course tends to not save me any time any time whatsoever.

i often have a feeling of "nothing stays" i.e. reading does not increase my knowledge base. i know that this is partly caused by inadequate learning behavior but there seems to be more to it. i can read volumes without digesting. the focus feel no larger than a single sentence.

most typical inattentive symptom: following written words with the eyes while having the mind on a completly different topic. forces me to reread paragraphs indefinitely. same holds true for audio books or conversations.

sometimes i feel very dizzy. "consciousness" then seems to concentrate in the forehead, without access to memory (neither motoric/procedural nor wisdom/deklarative) or combinatorial facilities in my brain. horrible state of mind. intense feeling of helplessness, almost dementia.

parents: my mother is described as a typical ADHD-C type during childhood, still has inattention problems. doesnt belive in psychologic/medical treatment and avoids the issue during discussion.
no higher education, low qualification job. my father was a social maverick, had the same "no eye contact" tic. studied endlessy (16 years), achieved doctoral degree in biology later on.

confronting the situation:
methylphenidate hasnt helped at all, rather seemed to introduce more dizzyness and agressive behavior.
atomoxetin is being tried now.

sports help against sluggishness. not doing sport for over a decade hasnt helped motric skill development. sticking to the same sport for 2 years has improved the situation though distractability is present in the midst of a sportive situation as well.

and on a personal note:
i feel great disgust for the "anti drugs" opinion as i think it is some peoples personal dogma (a beloved pet theory if you like) that seriously hampers the treatment of those in need. i accept skepticism since medical treatment involves other immediate dangers, but nontreatment should also be seen as a more salient danger in itself. it directly causes people to be less than they could possibly have been and furthers lifestyles that are neither benefical to society nor to the afflicted individual.
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