“Is” and “Like”

Is - to have an objective existence

Like - to be suitable, agreeable, prefer

Someone wrote “I realize it [A.D.D.] is a GIFT if we treat it as such.”

The phrase within that sentence – “if we treat it as such” – defines the underlying problem, the deception, that is perpetrated by Hallowell and Handelman and many others who see A.D.D. as being a gift. There is a world of difference between saying “A.D.D. is LIKE a gift” (that is, if we treat it as such) and saying “A.D.D. IS a gift.” A sizable number of A.D.D.ers would agree with the first phrase (though it’s a gift that has some awfully peculiar properties) and would disagree with the second phrase.

This is a distinction that should be quite obvious to professionals such as Hallowell and Handelman. [note 1] To ignore this distinction is to practice deception. It is like a carnival trick: you feel good when it is occurring but when you walk away you begin to realize that you were hoodwinked, that what you thought you were getting is not what you ended up with.

  1. My real anger is aimed at Hallowell since he is the one who almost single-handedly put A.D.D. on the map with his book “Driven to Distraction.” My anger towards Hallowell, and this should be the same for others, is that he has betrayed the A.D.D.ers who saw him as a beacon of light who could illuminate the dark recesses of the A.D.D. mind. Instead, he has become a huckster spouting the A.D.D. IS A GIFT nonsense.
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  • http://acrimonyastraea.livejournal.com Astraea

    The English major in me loves this post. I really dislike that “if we treat it as such” part, though, because it implies that people who struggle unsuccessfully just aren’t trying hard enough.

    I much prefer the treament of ADD in books like “You mean I’m not lazy, stupid or crazy,” where there is an overall positive tone but there is balance between acknowledging the obstacles and seeing the advantages.

  • Jeff

    Your points are well taken. Further, I was also not enamored with that phrase but, when I read it, the “is/like” distinction jumped out at me.

  • Scott Hutson

    Many definitions for “Gift” and “Gifted”. I could say (“if” I was considered an expert on this subject);”ADD is like a gift if we treat it like a gift”. That would not make it a “Gift”(for me anyway). Or maybe ;”ADD is a gift if we just tell ourselves it is”. It’s still not a gift, if I have to tell myself it is.

    A gift is something I am given, with no strings attached. Free of charge. I’ll know it when I get it.


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