Sunday, April 29, 2012

Is ADHD a Gift?

Often in ADHD conversations, you will hear the argument or discussion of whether ADHD is a gift or a curse. Everyone seems to have an opinion,. I have come to the conclusion that it is both, and for it to truly be a "Gift" you need to understand ADHD more, and you need to understand your child. Generally, most parents and even children automatically consider ADHD as a curse, burden or a horrible disorder. In some ways this could be true, ADHD is most commonly mentioned that the ADHD child  is forgetful, talks a lot, won't stay still, easily distracted, can't stay focused, daydreams, acts inappropriate and impulsive and more. But, do you ever really hear the strengths that usually come with ADHD?

Before I mention the strengths of most ADHD children, I want to explain that I do understand the cons of ADHD both for the child and the parents. Remember, that I too have and ADHD son. In the time that I have been fighting with my sons ADHD I have learned that he is very different, but, in a good way. There have been so many times when I go into a conference with the school, in fact I would say every time, where a teacher will say that Dillon completely blew their mind with they way he explained and thought of something. In fact I just had one a few days ago, and his speech teacher was explaining how the R sound was harder, and she said he blew her mind by the way he explained that you make the R sound in your throat and why it is hard for him. Just him being able to think that way was beyond his age. I know my husband always mentions how much Dill thinks outside the box, and he is an amazing artist, he can draw things just beautifully!

So, noticing my own child's uniqueness got me thinking about other children with ADHD, do they have these "differences" as well. And now I am to the point where I'm honestly not sure I would necessarily even consider ADHD a disorder, but maybe just a different mind thought. Now, bare with me, I am not saying the doctors are wrong or that ADHD children don't need support and help, or even medication, sometimes they definitely do! But, if you can find your child's strengths and abilities and focus on those, it's amazing what they can do that a lot of children their age can't.

ADHD children are more creative, imaginative, adventurous, outgoing, energetic, spontaneous, and passionate. Children with ADHD think outside of standard thinking boundaries, and take risks, they have and inventive imagination that the skies the limit with fresh ideas. They think outside the box and can come up with answers that we would never have thought of. Think about it this way, some of the greatest minds had or are thought to have had ADHD, Albert Einstein was diagnosed with ADD (now ADHD) and he was one of the greatest minds in history! I wonder if he hadn't had ADHD, would he have been able to be so creative? And were would we be right now if it wasn't for his mind? So, while most parents are looking at the frustration, burden, and the "cons" to their child's ADHD, I am thinking of the overall greatness of what they do have from ADHD that I consider "pros". As said in the book Raising Boys with ADHD, "these positive qualities should not be overlooked and can become huge assets when they are adults". These "gifts" can form into their future careers. 

So, what do we as parents do? 
Well, instead of focusing on all your child's weaknesses all the time, you still want to work on them though just not focus only on them, but pick out your child's strengths and focus on those. The more your child works with their already strengths, the stronger those talents will be. For example, my son loves animals, outdoors and drawing, so, I work with those by going to the zoo, walking through the woods and letting him discover things and draw them. This gives us something to that isn't so frustrating for us and helps him as well. You don't want to focus on the weaknesses, but, instead find, nurture and build the strengths because these strengths are what's going to carry your child through life. If your child in Reading or Math is a C student, maybe you should be OK with that and instead of focusing on trying to make them an A student in those classes, you can focus on some of their talents/strengths.

How do I build and nurture these strengths?
Try buying books on what your child enjoys, like animals, science or sports etc. Get a journal for your child to write their thoughts, ideas or drawings. Take them places where that may interest them like zoos, museums or art galleries. involve them in school activities they may be talented for such as a certain sport, drama or theater clubs, the yearbook committee, and art class and so on. And include your school in your child's strengths so they too can work on them. Right now, my son Dillon is creating a Batman movie with his friends and he is loving it, being creative with it and is an amazing actor I found out!! This brings so many of his talents to one project and helps him work on his weaknesses as well, like reading is his weakness but he works on it for reading the script. 

In conclusion to the question "Is ADHD a Gift?", I would say yes and no. It is a different mind thought pattern, one which makes your child have amazing talents, but also has your child have greater weaknesses. Both of which you should work with your child to strengthen. ADHD children have an amazing way of thinking and are full of talents! Bringing these great qualities to their attention will not only make them feel better and relieved from the usual mentioning of what their weaknesses are, but will be able to give them a positive look at themselves and their ADHD. Believe in your child and work with them, they just might be the next Albert Einstein, famous actor, singer, or artist like Davinci!

As always, thanks for reading and please feel free to comment with any questions or email me at

Here are more pics of talented ADHD children: (Email a pic of your ADHD child and your story, it just might be my next post!)

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