Because I am ADHD, I never learnt my times tables, despite always getting straight A’s in maths for years. My short term memory just couldn’t hold all those numbers. I had to figure out an alternate way that worked for me without the hard work of committing it all to memory.
To this day I use the same method. I use a mix of memory and in-head multiplication. I remember the lower times-tables to around 5x. So to work out 7 x 8, I convert to to 7*4*2. I recall that 7*4 is 28, and multiply by 2 to get 56. A simple and quick ADHD strategy. A few clients have adopted similar approaches to mine.
I learn differently from others
After figuring out my ADHD, I also figured out a lot about what when wrong for me in education. Like most people with ADHD, I learn very well empirically, by doing and experiencing. Since we are right-brained we learn from the patterns we observe and the connections we make. But usually we have a greater, more profound thirst for knowledge and information than those around us. After all, learning can be constant novelty to a thirsty ADHD mind.
I’m mainly reconciled with my educational past, but continue to see many of the failings of modern education in the experience of the ADHD university students that I coach.
It’s time for some significant changes
Education remains far to focused on memory and rote. With the internet, immediate access to information is guaranteed, yet we expect students to remember dates of battles? It’s not that far away in the future that we will see memory implants, making the value of “I can remember lot’s of pointless information” a little redundant.
We should turn education towards analysis and presentation skills, to teamwork, creativity and independent thought. The skills supposedly in demand by business today. ADHD traits are valuable, they should be developed, refined and most of all encouraged. Please credit us for having the new ideas, solutions and unexpected perspectives.
Still today in 2016, I remain profoundly disappointed by the education offered in most western democracies – autocratic, memory based, unimaginative and narrow. I think today’s education really sucks
I hope that technology, online education and AI will help us find a way out from the drudgery of education for so many and to open up a brighter educational future for those of us who are a little memory constrained. A system that values ADHD skills – our ideas, solutions, creativity, perspectives, imagination and drive – as much or more than the ability to memorise a list of dates or a quote from a long dead king.