Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a commonly diagnosed disorder in children, affecting approximately 9.4% of children in the United States. ADHD is a highly genetic, neurobiological condition that also continues into adulthood in a high percentage of the children who have it. There are varying degrees of severity, but anyone who has ADHD or loves someone with ADHD knows that it can make life complicated and very frustrating at times. Contrary to what some believe, it cannot be “fixed” by “running around outside for a while.”
On the flip side, living with ADHD gives many people a different perspective on life and encourages them to approach tasks and situations differently than others might. This results in some amazing creativity and innovative thinking.
In his article, “Mis-Diagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children,” James T. Webb, Ph.D., notes, “Many gifted and talented children (and adults) are being mis-diagnosed by psychologists, psychiatrists, pediatricians, and other health care professionals,” as having ADHD, OCD, Mood Disorders and other conditions.
Individuals with ADHD are often very smart, original, and funny. They have faced the challenges of dealing with being neurologically complex and learned novel ways to manage their symptoms…and really, this just makes them more interesting and exciting to be around.
Some of the great things about ADHD:
ADHD’s trademark hyper-focus can be a major advantage! Imagine being able to focus such intense attention and energy into work that makes a difference. Thomas Edison, who was thought to have had ADHD, put all his efforts into inventing the light bulb, even though at times it seemed impossible. When all was said and done, it took him more than 3,000 tries before he made a light bulb that worked! That’s perseverance and requires hyper-focus.
Creativity & Intelligence
People with ADHD are often highly intelligent and creative. The person with ADHD is, many times, the most creative individual in any room. People with ADHD naturally think outside the box and have ideas no one else thinks of. They thrive in environments that demand creative thinking. Many famous artists, singers, entertainers, scholars, and inventors are thought to have ADHD…Ansel Adams, Beethoven, Lewis Carroll, Leonardo da Vinci, Walt Disney, Robin Williams, and Jim Carrey…just to name a few.
When people with ADHD find something they are interested in, or passionate about, they can produce results at a breathtaking pace! Their energy level is off the charts and they often have the stamina to keep going after everyone else has thrown in the towel. Focused appropriately, this high energy can result in successful careers and creative endeavors.
The ADHD crowd loves to push boundaries. They tend to get bored and distracted easily, which can lead to brilliant innovations and breakthroughs.
Impulsiveness / Spontaneity
Acting on impulses can result in wonderful things. Channeled correctly, their impulsiveness and spontaneity can be excellent qualities which will contribute excitement and interest to an ADHD person’s life (and the lives of those around them). It’s good to say “Yes” to things and take advantage of opportunities when they arise.
A diagnosis of ADHD doesn’t have to put a person at a disadvantage in life!
Many successful people demonstrate that having ADHD doesn’t mean having a life filled with chaos and problems. It’s possible to move beyond the challenges of ADHD and find the good things it can offer. It’s a matter of balancing the hard parts with routines, medication, therapy, or whatever you find to be beneficial…and then capitalizing upon the strengths.
People with ADHD are just like everyone else. We all have to learn to manage our feelings and control our behavior. We all must practice self-regulation to be successful.
October is “ADHD Awareness Month,” and this year’s theme is Reframing ADHD: Discovering New Perspectives (www.adhdawarenessmonth.org/).