The Brooklyn BrainLady

teaching & learning, in a fancy dress

In my post The Force is Strong in This One, I explained there are two sides to my AD/HD superpowers. Both sides were on full display in the past 24 hours:  I lost my keys, then I used The Force to retrieve them. Let’s set the scene: Beautifully sunny day. Busy sidewalk in Downtown Brooklyn. Ventilation …

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Keys? Pah-lease.

February 28, 2017

This school year I am a private tutor here in fair Brooklyn, traveling on my bike between clients’ homes when the weather is nice. (Yes, it’s dreamy.) It usually goes quite smoothly…until early last evening, when I dropped my keys through a grate and into an Alice-in-Wonderland hole about two stories deep. I’m standing there in the dark, bike still locked to a railing, 15 minutes from my next session, listening to my life tink-tink-tink its way into a distinctly different Monday night.

Apparently my efforts to build an ADHD-proof single woman’s existence came in handy as I attempted to remedy this problem. Simply follow these steps should you or a friend ever encounter such a situation:

How to Lose Your Keys

  1. Tell yourself to solve one problem at a time.
  2. Send craziest email ever to cancel last session. Remind yourself to get that phone number later.
  3. Follow random old lady into unknown building. Explore the basement. Find the office. Take pictures of the super’s phone number written on the whiteboard on the door. This will help you eventually get the key to your safe back, which you maybe don’t have a spare for at home.
  4. Go home.
  5. Use your negligent landlord’s crazy rock pile to hide a fake rock with your keys in it. Get keys.
  6. Use extra Clinique Bonus Days bags to keep all bike accessories organized. Get spare bike key.
  7. Jump back on subway to retrieve bike.
  8. Pretend you’re on the last episode of Grace and Frankie. Slo-mo strut to bike with unknown hiphop track playing in your head because you are a badass.

Total problem-solving time: 40 minutes


Because when you are wired for disaster, you anticipate disaster, baby!

Student: Beth, what did you say you have again? OCD? Beth: Nope! Though I understand your confusion. I have AD/HD. Student: Huh? But you’re not all, “Blaaaah!!!” [flaps arms, runs in a small circle with tongue wagging] Beth: That’s not what hyperactivity looks like in everyone. [student accurately senses a lecture, flees to his next …

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For the past 16 years, I have been one of those “good” teachers: the one parents request, the one administration knows will not only keep issues to a minimum, but also manage to teach even the toughest student a thing or two in nine months. Even as a post-undergrad newbie, my “at-risk” students would score …

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The federal government recently reminded school districts that they are allowed to use the word “dyslexia” when documenting a child’s special education needs. For you lay people, that’s like your doctor being reminded that she can use the word “insomnia” when you routinely cannot sleep. They may prefer the term “sleep disturbance” but they’re allowed …

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It’s that time of year again. Time for calling upon the executive skills of a ninja if one wants to dress as a ninja. For us creative types, Halloween is our New Year’s Eve. It is that swoony time of year…rife with ideas for what could be, when anything is possible…that comes with a clearly …

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Hyperactive subtype AD/HD comes with some pretty special superpowers. It took me a while to understand that the reason for my struggles was also the source of my strength. I get why Luke Skywalker needed three films to figure out what his deal was. I, too, needed lots of background knowledge, repeated contextual practice and an …

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