Sunday, January 2, 2011

i-Phone Malfunction more serious if you have ADHD

As soon as I awoke this morning I knew that something was wrong. You see, each weekday I go for a walk at 5am with my friend Lorraine. Often, I don't fel like going, but the knowledge that she will be standing at my gate waiting for me to appear is enough to get me moving. And I always feel SO good afterwards. But this morning, as soon as I opened my eyes, I realised that it didn't feel like 5am - too light and too hot. My trusty i-phone alarm had failed. 'How could this happen?', I asked my husband, and saw immediately by the look on his face that he didn't believe me. He patted my hand kindly and got me the paper from the porch. Shortly thereafter, our daughter, who was scheduled to go kayaking in the ocean with her Dad, had to be woken - most unusual for our disciplined dancer. She too was protesting that her i-phone had let her down. How curious? And then I spotted the article on pg 5 of the newspaper. It seems that a software glitch prevented the i-phone alarm function from working after January 1st. Pretty much nobody noticed until this morning.

My first thought when I awoke had been one of embarrassment and disappointment, because I had let my friend down. But I knew that she would understand, because I am (normally) always so reliable. Then I started to worry about all of my clients and friends with ADHD who rely so much on technology like the i-phone. It struck me that an incident such as this has farther-reaching consequences for those whose brains function in a different manner.

People with ADHD are often thought of as being unreliable. This is because time management skills do not come naturally to these lateral-thinking, big picture people who love to live in the moment. Society can be very judgemental of such wondrous beings, and so I spared a thought for those who would be accused of 'not caring', enough to be on time this morning. How would they explain their way out of this situation, knowing full well that many people have heard many excuses from them in the past? And what would it do for their confidence? Having found a reminder system that works for them, would this software glitch make them feel despondent about 'ever getting it right'?

Well here's what I think: people with ADHD should take comfort from the fact that Apple Software got it wrong. Everybody should give themself permission to get it wrong sometimes. It's what makes it so wonderful when we get it right. The i-phone is a great invention. It has changed the way we communicate, and has made the world a lot more accessible to people with disabilities. Such big-picture, lateral thinking can come at a price. Ask anyone with ADHD. Sometimes the mundane details are overlooked. And that's not the end of the world.

Fortunately, today is a public holiday in Australia. Although I'm aware that many people do indeed go to work today, I take comfort that the number of people (with or without ADHD) who might have been late for work was reduced considerably. I'm confident that any dates, who thought they had been stood up, will understand when they hear about the Apple software bug, so the disruption in people's lives should be kept to a minimum.

One last thing - I can't help wondering how many chance encounters will occur today, as a result of the i-phone glitch. How many people will meet their life partner as they take the later train, change their route to save time, or change their plans totally? Something to think about as you mutter under your breath about your "@$/%! i-phone. Don't forget to pay attention to the possibilities this situation might present. In the words of Charles Darwin:

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.

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