Tidbit # 23-Embracing ADHD

September 12, 2023

At Scholars Academy we believe in recognizing the value of diversity and the unique strengths of students. The world around us focuses so much on conforming to norms that often an individual’s unique set of strengths are seen as shortcomings… especially in a traditional educational setting. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one such example of a hidden superpower that comes with its own set of remarkable strengths. Although scholars living with ADHD may face certain challenges, their specific set of characteristics is also a strength. 

Impulsivity → Rapid Decision Making

Many people who have been diagnosed with ADHD tend to be impulsive. They have a tendency to act quickly with no thought to the consequences. This natural impulsivity often leads to a willingness to take risks and explore uncharted territories, which can lead to groundbreaking achievements.

Hyperactivity → High Energy

A person’s energetic, animated, and enthusiastic behavior can be extremely beneficial when exploring new people, places, and experiences. People who score high on energy tend to be extremely sociable. 

Difficulty Focusing → Hyperfocus
Pediatric behavioral health specialist Michael Manos, Ph.D., defines hyperfocus as “the capacity for a person to engage in a task or an activity to the exclusion of everything else.” ADHDers can be so absorbed in a task that they get a lot done very quickly, come up with innovative solutions, and create remarkable works of art. 

Distractibility → Creativity 

Creativity is one of the most documented traits of ADHD. According to Holly White, a research scientist in the psychology department at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, “Three aspects of creative cognition are divergent thinking, conceptual expansion, and overcoming knowledge constraints. Divergent thinking, or the ability to think of many ideas from a single starting point, is a critical part of creative thinking. Previous research has established that individuals with ADHD are exceptionally good at divergent thinking tasks, such as inventing creative new uses for everyday objects, and brainstorming new features for an innovative cell phone device.” 

Fostering Self-Awareness and Advocacy

It’s important that we support and encourage children to lean into who they are and that they learn to view themselves in the most positive light possible. We believe the best way to do this is by modeling acceptance, encouraging self-awareness, and praising positive efforts. ADHDers can be resilient, big-picture thinkers if we allow them to be. 

Cleveland Clinic. (2022, December 9th.) Understanding Hyperfocus and ADHD. Retrieved from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/hyperfocus-and-adhd/ 

Hannah Hill Park

Masters of Education, Pfeiffer University

Associate Director of Innovation

K-12 AIG, K-6 Elementary Education Teaching Licensure

Scholars Academy for the Gifted & Artistically Elite

Adjunct Professor of Education, Pfeiffer University

Board Member of The NC Association for the Gifted & Talented

Podcast Host of NCAGT Talent Talk

Mom of 1 Future SA Scholar