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Q&A With Lisa Ling


Tell us what you learned about ADHD.

"I'd always suspected I might have some kind of attention disorder. As a kid I never had hyperactivity but always had focus issues, and I'd work on a billion things at one time, often not completing any of them. I was so scattered. It was difficult to learn of the bona fide diagnosis [of ADHD], but at the same time I felt relieved because it gave me an explanation. There's been an explosion of ADHD diagnoses in this country, and one of the main things I learned is that it's manageable. And people who are diagnosed can lead perfectly normal, productive lives if they manage it early enough."

Do you have a treatment plan?

"Let's just say I'm seriously considering a number of different options. I've been lucky that I've figured out a way to compensate for a number of my shortcomings. I've chosen a career that's allowed me to work on [different projects] simultaneously, which I think helps. I have, for the most part, learned how to manage. At the same time, the doctor I met with had a great analogy. He said, 'If you had impaired vision, you could sometimes drive, and perform your daily activities pretty well. But once you put on your glasses with your correct prescription, everything becomes so much clearer, and you can perform so much better.' That makes a lot of sense. Why wouldn't you want to perform at the highest level you can?"

Your father is from China, your mother is from Taiwan, and your husband's family is Korean. How important is it to share your collective heritage with Jett?

"She understands quite a bit of Chinese. If you tell her to pat her nose or head in Chinese, she does it. We have a nanny who only speaks to her in Chinese, and my mom only speaks to her in Chinese. But it's funny; my mother-in-law only speaks to her in Korean, so Jett's getting immersion in three languages [counting English]. I'm hoping it doesn't totally confuse her! I want to expose her to as many languages as I can while she's young. Travel changed my life, and I'd love for her to be able to communicate in as many languages as she can. I also think it really helps cognitive abilities when [children] are able to comprehend different languages. My biggest regret in life is that I never really got the chance to be immersed in another language."

Your reporting -- on bride burning, sex trafficking, rape in the Congo -- reveals just how brutal the world can be to girls. Any reservations about having one?

"I was so excited because I'm hoping to raise a little feminist. I'm looking forward to girls truly being able to change the world. I think my husband initially wanted a boy. But now he is so madly in love with her! My relationship with my husband has grown so deeply, and part of it is because of the way he is with her. It makes me fall in love with him even more."

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