Time blindness is commonly accepted as a symptom of ADD/ADHD, the inability to keep a close track of time.
But! It seems time perception is also altered and I believe there is just not enough understanding around this! My reality was shifted like a mega earthquake the day I took the TOVA TEST.
The Doc’s assistant took me into a small room , curtains drawn to render an eerie darkness to the air.
Pete pulled out a chair from a small line desk and asked me to sit. Which I did. Most obediently and with a hint of nervousness.
“What if I failed this test?”
I was so certain I had ADHD. I had to ! Because if not ! What the hang was wrong with me ? … all my life?
I had pondered over every mental and neurological condition and personality disorder I could google.. nothing ticked as many boxes as this.
My son had already been diagnosed a year ago and it had taken me that long to get my own backside in and sitting on this chair. I couldn’t fail. Or else, my new accepted reality would be jilted again.
How unknowing I was! That, that day , in the most earth shattering way , I would never again think of my life, the same way again.
The T.O.V.A is a Test of Variables, a State of the Art continuous performance test that is designed to be used in clinical, vocational, and research settings to objectively measure attention, impulsivity, and adaptability in children and adults, ages 4 to 80+.
The T.O.V. A measures attention during a 21.6 minute task. It records the speed, accuracy and consistency of responses. And these results are then compared to a large group of people of average intelligence who do not have ADHD. This comparison determines whether the test results are “within normal range” or not!
Additionally the T.O.V.A also compares results to a large group of people diagnosed with ADHD. And the generated report of results is based on both of these comparisons as well as other statistical measures.
So! In laymen terms let me outline this mammoth big task set out in front of me.
Pete, the assistant, switched on the blank computer screen sitting in front of me. I made myself comfortable. “Very important you do so” he said.
Ok. I was ready. I silently vowed I would do my true best at the task ahead. I banished any other thought, the truth will set me free, I thought.
A white screen lit up, with a square sitting stationary- in the middle.
“A dot will appear.. above, below, here or there” explained Pete.
“Your task, is to push this button… as soon as a dot appears, there. ”
“Push the button as soon as you see the dot”
He looked at me, and asked, “got it?”
“Is that it?” I gushed
“Well, it’s not as simple as you think.”
The dots will come with varying speeds and in varying positions” and they will keep coming for 21minutes.”
“There’s no stopping , no pausing and no knowing where or what or when”
“You must respond as quickly as you can, as accurately as you can and as consistently as you can!”
Ok. He was making me nervous now . And I was starting to see the method to this simplistic madness.
Well. This is where simplistic madness turns to complex and madness of the strangest kind.
You see when Pete left the room . And I, without a distraction in the world began to follow the dots appearance, I started to laugh!
“I’m way to intelligent! I’m way to smart ! I’m going to flunk even the test for ADHD! ”
You see in my mind NOBODY could do it better… NOBODY could possibly click that button quicker than I! As soon as that dot appeared above the square… I had that button clicked. No mistakes , no misses, and no micro seconds between seeing that blessed black dot in said position and clicking the button.
Yes , I got up after those 21 minutes, as pleased as punch with my speedy and superb brain. But worried. I mustn’t have ADHD.
“I have the feeling, my results will be normal , if not above average.” I sadly told a waiting Pete.”
Well. “We shall see”, he replied. And asked me to take a seat.
A while later. He called me back.
Oh life! Oh my dear life! Oh poor, poor little me! How utterly deluded I was in thinking I was normal.
Quite frankly I still cannot get my head around the results and what they mean.
How anybody could have clicked that button faster is beyond me ! And I was so so sure I saw, and clicked every little blinking dot! Was I losing my vision? My sense of self?
There was no dispute. There it read- in black and white. Like a joker waving a “you’re crazy” flag in my face.
A couple of b= borderline results … but mainly *=significantly deviant result.
Attention performance result way way below normal -4.53 (scores greater than 0 = minimal or no impairment!)
I was stumped , I was thumped with the sheer stupidity of my arrogance, I was perturbed , I was disturbed by my own lack of ability to correctly gauge my performance.
As I said . How anyone could have been on both counts —faster, and more accurate is beyond me.
My hat goes off to ya all.
And for me. I’m still sulking, grieving and bowing my sorry confused and deflated head.