May 31, 2006

Can ADHD be a gift?

I've been reading a book entitled "The ADD & ADHD Answer Book...The Top 275 Questions Parents Ask." It was written by Susan Ashley, PH.D. who is the founder and director of Ashley Children's Psychology Center in California. I found it to be quite informative and enjoyed reading it. There are ten chapters that address all facets of ADHD. The chapters are easy to read as they are broken down into a question/answer format. It's convenient and you can quickly find the information you need. In the last chapter of the book she asks the question "Can AD/HD be a gift?" A gift? I'd sure never considered it that way. But, after reading her answer it made me realize that if you view your ADHD child's symptoms as gifts, you'll see him in a totally different light. Therefore, I wanted to share this information with you. First I will list the "symptom" in italics and then how you can view it as a "gift" right after it. Here goes...

  • Impulsive.........Lives fully in the moment
  • hyperactivity.....Energetic
  • Daydreaming...Gets into state of relaxation
  • distractions......Attends to the unobserved in the world
  • Forgetful...........Free from endless list of things to do
  • Loses things......Unbound by material things
  • Talks too much....Passionate about ideas/interests
  • Interrupts.........Excited to share ideas with others
  • Repeats same mistake.....Not plagued with guilt for mistakes
  • Hates homework.....Incredible capacity for play
  • Obsessed..........Passionate
  • Selfish..............Gets own needs met
  • Greedy.............Strong desires for more
  • Pushy...............Doing what it takes to get more
  • No self-awareness........Free from self-consciousness
  • Focuses on irrelevant......Find entertainment in mundane things

1 comment:

  1. Hi Shane,

    You have an interesting site here, as it hits "close to home" for me!

    Let me tell you a little bit about myself... I have AD/HD, and it was "officially" diagnosed and treated when I was 30 years old(I'm 32 now)... My first 12 years I knew "something was up" with me but I didn't know what "it" was. Between the ages of 13 through 30 I realized what "it" was, but I thought I was too embarressed to admit it and get help for it. The funny thing is that within the last 2 years I finally realized that my AD/HD "prevented" me from focusing on getting the help I needed to control it! How's THAT for a paradox in terms!??!

    I'll describe what my experiences were growing up with AD/HD so you can compare it to your own situation as well as your son's. You asked the question "Can ADHD be a gift?", and I can honestly say that, for me, it IS. But this is a question that only you and your son can honestly answer for yourselves...

    From grades K through 6, I was a straight A student. I was the smartest kid in my class, and was entrusted with the responsibility of tutoring others. I was the first kid to finish tests and more often than not I was the only kid who raised his hand for almost every question the teacher posed to the class.

    From grades 7 through 12, I was the "genius" with the straight C's report card. I never did any homework, I never took notes in class, and I did every major project that was required to pass that grade IN CLASS the DAY IT WAS DUE.

    The interesting thing is that four things never changed K-12...

    1. I passed most tests with a higher score than anybody else.
    2. More often than not, I was the only kid who raised his hand for almost every question the teacher posed to the class.
    3. I passed every grade without ever being left back or having to go to summer school.
    4. I was "The Child" in the obligitory statement that every teacher is forced to make to one parent every Parent/Teacher meeting... "Your child is so smart, but he isn't living up to his potential."

    I guess you can say I was an "enigma"... They couldn't understand how someone could be so intelligent yet barely pass the class! To them, it defied logical!

    In reality, their issue with me was that they knew I was more intelligent than they were but my actions were equivilant to the worst student in the class.

    Their conclusion was that I was lazy. Their remedy was to insinuate to my parents that they're failing in their "parental duties" by allowing me to be lazy. My parents were obviously embarassed, and nobody likes to be embarrassed, so they concluded that I my laziness caused them to be embarrassed. Their remedy was to force me to be industrious.

    The funny thing is that as of today, I'm doing MUCH better than all of them; but they STILL think I'm lazy and they still try to make me more industrious.

    That's me... I'll make a second post with comments more specific to yours.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I love comments and feedback!