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!

Well, folks, it looks like Secretary DeVos is having a hard time getting her head around the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Hey, we’re all been there, right? That’s why I created these handy dandy postcards for us to send along in support. Feel free to share, print and send away! Don’t forget: Make sure you …

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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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About five years ago, the ceiling fell in on me. I was sitting at a neuroscience conference dedicated to the theme of “Attention and Learning”. The keynote speaker was a bold and articulate Patricia Quinn, renowned expert on AD/HD. I was totally connecting her presentation to my own classroom and I was *psyched*: Weak emotional …

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When I was little, my brother asked me to play video games with him once a month. That was about how long it took for him to forget that I have almost no ability to make a person who is not me move by pressing buttons. I also did not want to “share” the Rubik’s …

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I should never be alone in an office supply store. But every year I have to make a back-to-school pilgrimage to see what the organizational gods have designed for this year’s batch of adolescent frontal lobes. The frontal lobe, which contains the prefrontal cortex, is our executive command center- the place where problem-solving and decision-making …

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