So You Think You Might Have ADHD with Thomas Jockin

ADHD thomas jockin screening

This week we will talk to Thomas Jockin, he is a type designer and design professor who is also an entrepreneur. He is now a researcher and about to have a paper published for screening for ADHD.

I hope you’ll join me for this special episode (Episode 405) on THURSDAY, March 3 at 3:30pm ET / 12:30pm PT / 8:30pm GMT / 10:30am in Hawaii. Sign up to get the link at

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This week I took an online test to see if I had ADHD. I have been tested two other times in my adult life, never as a kid.

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You see, I have always had a lot of energy. I get distracted easily and lose track of time, my place, and sometimes what I was saying even in the middle of a lecture I am giving.

I’ve often started one project then got up to use the bathroom and forgotten to return to the task. Like starting the shower and then realizing I need a towel. Go to get a towel and realize the floor needs vacuuming, so I start vacuuming then 30 minutes later realize I had started the shower. AHHHHHH

I had often thought or even been told that I probably had ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), but I had never been tested. There was never an answer to my energy and lack of focus other than discipline. The other alternative was that I was not very smart. Neither of these were ok to me.

I have a lot of skills, one is working hard and not giving up. But the knowledge that I was flawed was hard for me. I felt different but never had a diagnosis.

Sometime around 2004–2007

Early in my career as a professor, I found a therapist that could test me for ADHD here in Mobile, Alabama where I lived. The test was for about three hours. I focused so hard during the test. I tried really hard and was exhausted by the end of it.

Then I got the results. She said I did not have ADHD. She met me once, she never asked me any questions about my life and how my attention had been a barrier to me. I think she saw me as a successful person who is starting their second career in academia. She saw me as “normal” and bright. She saw me as someone who did not have a problem with attention or controlling my energy.

I honestly was heartbroken. I was flawed, broken, and not smart. That was the reason I had so much trouble. It was not ADHD. I did not have it. I moved on and kept coping like I had all my life. I didn’t let it define me and still don’t.

I know I am awkward but that makes me approachable and relatable.

June 20, 2019

Fast forward a few years, now it’s 2012. I have a new client, Beverly Steinhauer, who is a therapist. I love working with her. She is awesome. And in 2019, after seven years of working together, Beverly sits me down one June afternoon and says, “diane, can I talk to you about something?” I of course said “yes.” I knew this wasn’t a website question or a marketing question. This was different.

Beverly asked if I have ever been told that I have ADHD? I said “lots of people have said that to me in the past but I was tested years ago and was told I did not have it,” I said this last part shamefully.

Because in my mind, something else was wrong. If I didn’t have ADHD I just was broken, unfixable. I was also sad that I must have done something or not done something that was causing Beverly to ask. I was filled with more shame, but I am a big girl and can bounce back and make things right.

She said, “I would like to test you again. I’ve known you for seven years diane and I think you might have it.” So we did the test. At the beginning of the test she said. “I want you to answer these not how you feel today, necessarily, but how you feel normally.” That was key for me. Essentially I was not supposed to try hard to get them right. I was actually going to try and answer them how I often feel, not what I think I am supposed to feel.

Now I was a client of Beverly’s and was going to get the results in our next session. Talk about nerve wracking. I worried that I don’t have it and I am just broken and flawed there is no reason except I am difficult.

UGHHH, do you feel me? Have you been there.

Here’s what Beverly wrote,

To whom it may concern;
I have seen above client at my office since June 20th, 2019. On June 20th, 2019, Ms. Gibbs was administered the Adult Attention Deficit Disorder Evaluation Scale, Self-Report) A-ADDES s-RV). The result of said scale shows ADHD combined Type with 99% probability for Inattentive and 80% or greater probability for Hyperactive-Impulsive types. In consideration of the interview, long-standing symptoms, history, and result of the Self-Report, it is my opinion Ms. Gibbs would benefit from Pharmacotherapy for the treatment of ADHD.

I wasn’t broken, I was diagnosed. Then later in the summer, I met with Dr. Ron Franks (another awesome doctor) and he never made me feel broken or dumb. I started treatment, low dosage I take twice a day and only when I need it.

It was huge for me. Really helps me not feel so scattered and all over the place all the time.

Sunday, Feb 27, 2022

Then fast-forward to a few weeks ago when I was talking to this guest, my friend Thomas Jockin. He said “I want you to take the test, diane.” I said “sure.”

This past Sunday, I sat down to take it. The fears started creeping in. I was hearing myself say things like, “what if it shows you don’t have it after all? What if you are totally normal and the results show you are just flawed and broken.”

Thomas had told me to take my medicine. But I had run out. AHHHHHH.

Oh no the imposter, that was diagnosed then mis-diagnosed was going to be found out. The shame hits hard. But I have a lot of Grit and I can handle it. I have handled a mis-diagnosis before. I will be ok. Needless to say after I finished the test, I texted Thomas and then waited for the report.

I’m not sure about you but I don’t wait well. My friend Amy Hasenyager calls it putting on your patient pants. I told her I don’t own a pair of those.

So then like a true ADHD person I moved on to the next thing and kinda forgot about getting the results. Then later when I checked my email I got them. You will see them this week, so I will make you watch to see what the results were.

To be continued…

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The Questions

  1. Thomas, can you give everybody a little background about your start in design and typography, then when you started working you began to understand how to help screen for Dyslexia came about?
  2. How do people find the best font to use for someone with Dyslexia?
  3. What made you think, this is 2020, there must be a better way? Do you do that with other things and then start researching?
  4. What have processes or systems did you put in place that helped you understand this field? How has being a designer helped you navigate this new field? Had you ever helped in researching for or writing an academic paper?
  5. Was it scary at all to dive into this new business, knowing little about the industry?
  6. In your conversations or research what lead you to believe this tool might be able to screen for ADHD?
  7. Why is screening for ADHD so difficult with the tools we have currently?
  8. How does this tool, make the screening process so much easier? Can you show us what it looks like?
  9. What is one thing you’ve learned about yourself in the last year, that has been most impactful to your life and business?
  10. One thing I know from being diagnosed with ADHD but being tested twice is that it takes time. I was very frustrated when I was tested in my 30s that the diagnosis was inconclusive. This is a great tool, that is accessible and affordable, but also doesn’t take multiple meetings and assessment tools. Were these some of the reasons you wanted to create this tool?
  11. What is next?

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