Ok, so I know most people will read this title and think I’m crazy. Celebrate ADHD? Really?
Problems are easily identified.
Adults with untreated ADHD fail to meet their own expectations, as shared by Jessica McCabe, and have problems at work and home.
Dr. Russell Barkley has studied ADHD for many decades. His research shows that people with ADHD have a shortened lifespan when ADHD is not well managed.
ADHD involves impairments in executive functioning. How can anything causing a broken executive functioning system be even remotely good?
How can something with so many problems be celebrated?
Because there are many positive traits that can be cultivated and celebrated.
- People with ADHD tend to think outside the box so are great problem solvers.
- They have lots of energy so can work tirelessly.
- Many with ADHD are very creative, so are gifted in the arts.
- They often have a great sense of humor.
- We all think of inattention and poor focus when we think of ADHD, but there is also hyperfocus. If people with ADHD become passionate about something, they can sustain attention and work on it for long periods of time. If they use this hyperfocus wisely (with setting time limits so they can do other daily activities) they can become an expert in that area. For young children the hyper focus tends to be on “kid” things, like trains or video games. As kids get older, they can experience activities that interest them. This gives the opportunity to find a life passion that could turn into a fantastic career.
Everyone has gifts.
ADHD has many variables in the way it shows up, so people with it also have many variations in gifts. But they do have gifts.
I want kids, teens, parents, spouses, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncle, neighbors, teachers, and more to understand the value of these gifts and recognize the benefits that people with ADHD can have.
“ADD people are high-energy and incredibly good brainstormers. They will often happily work 12 to 15 hours by choice. The business community should not fear ADD. Instead, they should see that they have a potential gold mine here.” – Dr. Kathleen Nadeau, psychologist
I’m not saying life with ADHD is easy.
People with ADHD struggle with many things other people can easily manage. But they still have gifts. I want kids to grow up building their confidence by using their gifts, not by measuring their failures when they don’t conform to norms.
Kids can lose their drive and ambition if they are not supported along the way. Depression and anxiety can easily develop when kids continuously fail to meet their potentials.
Proper management of problematic symptoms of ADHD can help kids grow into successful adults. Exercise, healthy eating, and sufficient sleep are essential for everyone to optimize potentials. Some of this management can be things done in a classroom to support learning and focus issues, such as fidgets and the ability to take tests in a quiet area. Medications are often very helpful in symptom management once the proper medicine and dose is found. Work with your physician and other ADHD professionals to be your best!
I love this photo from The ADD & ADHD Answer Book. It makes a great side-by-side comparison of these problems and gifts so you can easily see reasons to celebrate ADHD.
Role Models, Mentors, and Support
Consider finding a mentor who is successful but has the same diagnosis.
Read Percy Jackson (link to a book review). He’s a fictional character with ADHD and dyslexia that you can look up to.
Throughout history many successful people have had ADHD. People with ADHD can become leaders, inventors, artists, or otherwise excellent contributors to society. They give us great reasons to celebrate ADHD!
Teens in the KC Metro can benefit from joining ADHDKCTeen.
Teens can learn from professionals about various ADHD topics at monthly events. Being active in a support group of other teens who struggle with the same issues can help much more than working alone on troublesome issues – and much more than just ignoring things. You are not alone! Join ADHDKCTeen and participate in our monthly events to learn and grow!