I give a presentation called "ADHD Advantages: The Under-reported Benefits Of ADHD" which is always well received by audiences. As a doctor who specializes in treating ADHD, and as the mother of a son with ADHD, part of my job is to empower those suffering with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
I do this to help combat the many myths about ADHD and stigmas about the condition such as the mistaken belief that people with ADHD are "dumb" or "undisciplined."
Such stigmas not only harm the self-esteem of those with ADHD, but also ignore the many gifts that those with ADHD possess.
While my son and clients are occasionally frustrated with their condition, they recognize some distinct advantages of having ADHD. Over time, they developed an appreciation for the way ADHD helped them view the world.
In fact, most of them would not trade places with someone who did not have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder because as my son once remarked: "It's part of who I am and what makes me unique."
1) The Ability To Multitask
Many people with ADHD have no problem managing several projects, tasks, or activities at once. In fact, they tend to thrive and excel at it, and it does not hinder their productivity.
2) Ability To Focus Intensely
Hyperfocus is an aspect of ADHD that can be highly beneficial with respect to productivity, and is valued by schools and employers. Even if the intense focus lasts for only for a short period, a great deal can be accomplished during that time. The trick is for the person with ADHD to be interested in the task or topic at hand. If interested, their focus can last for extended periods.
3) Creativity And Idea Generation
The rapid-fire mind of a person with ADHD can often blurt out five great ideas before you even get a chance to analyze the first. The reason is that the ADHD brain processes information faster.
Folks with ADHD view the world differently and from many different perspectives, which makes them great problem solvers. This also makes them great at recognizing problems before they arise. For such people to be more effective, the trick is to learn to pause long enough to gather and clearly articulate their many ideas.4) Abundant Energy
Those with ADHD tend to be highly active and talkative individuals. While they can wear out most people who do not suffer from ADHD, such a high energy level has positive uses. They can often do the work of two people, and can work long shifts. The trick, again, is for the activity to be interesting rather than boring or repetitive.
5) Adrenaline Junkies: Great In A Crisis
High energy and highly focused people are great resources during any crisis. ADDers thrive on the stimulation and chaos that would scare most other people.
6) Entrepreneurial Spirit: Risk Takers
Impulsivity is one of the hallmark behavioral symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Impulsive behavior, by definition, involves taking risks and being action-oriented.
Many of these ADHD advantages are highly useful in the world of technology, or in the life of an entrepreneur. That is why many powerful CEO's and successful business people are diagnosed with ADHD such as Microsoft's Bill Gates, JetBlue's David Neelman, Kinko's own Paul Orfalea, and others.
They all attribute part of their creativity and success to ADHD. In fact, many of the most successful people in the world suffer from ADHD. (See famous people with ADHD).
So why is recognizing ADHD advantages important to ADHD sufferers, their families, treatment providers, and the world at large? For one, it is a powerful recognition of the unique strengths and resilience of each individual.
Such a strengths-based perspective can make the crucial difference in those who thrive with the condition and those who let it negatively define them. As we all know, a positive attitude goes a long way in helping to overcome diversity.
So remember, while some folks with ADHD may appear disheveled or disorganized, they are filled with human potential that doctors, scientists, and the world are only beginning to recognize.
This is why the advantages of ADHD should be recognized and valued. Not only to prevent harm to those suffering from ADHD in terms of prejudice and discrimination, but to recognize ADHD advantages and the benefits that those with ADHD offer the world.