9/26/11

ADD / ADHD Super Children: How to Develop Your Inner Powers



“ADHD is not a disorder. It is a difference. The ADHD brain is a genetic adaptation found in populations that have had to adapt to difficult situations; migrate, survive. There is very little ADHD in sedate, bucolic agrarian populations that have done the same things for eons. There is a lot of ADHD in Jews, Gypsies, American Irish, and so forth. These are groups that have been assailed and attacked. And the survivors are the ones able to think on their feet, adapt, stay ahead of death.”
- “ADHD Brains: The Quintessential Supercomputer” by Dr. Jory F. Goodman


As fish evolved gills to breathe, we super children evolved the ability to adapt to difficult situations. I love learning about evolutionary origins. How cool is it that our fears, habits, and behaviors took root because they benefitted survival? For example, we fear heights to avoid falling off cliffs. We also wince or step away when someone hacks up mucous or blows his/her nose in an air-tight subway because our bodies want to avoid sickness.

As Dr. Goodman explains in his article, ADHD is an adaptation that allows us to survive in the face of danger. As such, I’d like to share with you the ways that so-called “difficulties” with attention can be flipped on their heads and accepted as untapped super powers.  


Check out my new poll (see right column *This poll has since closed, but please see our latest!) and let me know “What’s your favorite ADD / ADHD Super Power?”

The Energizer
Those of us with ADHD possess a certain energy that others can’t seem to wrap their heads around. On any given day I can be found writing, running, catching up with friends, brainstorming new projects, reading, playing video games, watching movies, cooking dinner… I need new and innovative ways to expel my energy or else restlessness (& monkey mind) sets in.

Hone the Energizer’s super power: Find productive ways to express your excess energy. Involve yourself in physical activities, check out museums/events in your area, or take up a new hobby.

The Energizer’s kryptonite: A lack of physical and intellectual stimulation.



Napoleon & Little Napoleon at Madam Tussuad's in London.
The Inner Napoleon
Many of us with ADHD also possess the urge to defy authority and blaze our own paths. For my tough-mindedness, “Little Napoleon” is one endearment that my family has given me.

Hone the Inner Napoleon’s super power: Learn to recognize the appropriate times to exercise your inner Napoleon. Involve yourself in clubs and teams in which you can take leadership roles. While reigning, however, remember that others’ voices are valuable too.

The Inner Napoleon’s kryptonite: Unrestrained disobedience or tyranny.

The Multitasker
Make way for the Multitaskers! Fortunately, in this fast-paced world, multitasking can be a valued asset. The key here is to refine the way you multitask. Shifting incessantly between assignments (tempting to those of us with ADHD who lack focus and crave variety) won’t help you accomplish a thing.

Hone the Multitasker’s super power: Prioritize what tasks are important to finish first. Set aside your inbox and smartphone so that you can focus on tasks that require your full attention. Dedicate a block of time to your present task and then switch to the next one.

Creative Multitaskers: For me, creative writing is one of the best examples of successful multi-dimensional thinking. Over the past weeks I’ve re-written the climax of my young-adult book. For this scene to achieve to be successful, I have to understand all eight characters’ needs and actions simultaneously. That’s a big balancing act! But I find that my wandering mind slips me clues about different characters when I least expect it. When working on such creative projects, let your mind monkey about. What you discover may surprise you!

The Multitasker’s kryptonite: Unfocused attention on multiple activities / projects.

The Unconventional Thinker
As Dr. Goodman explains, “The ADHD brain is a true Executive brain; non-linear, super-fast, creative, decisive. It just doesn't count all of the beans, zips about and can't often tell you how it got there.”

Hone the Unconventional Thinker’s super power: Those of us with ADHD are non-linear thinkers. We invent strange and progressive ideas and rely heavily on intuition. This unconventional thought process can be troubling when everyone else studies or works in a linear fashion, but what I’ve come to appreciate is that we ADHD’ers think differently. Creative outlets are important for everyone, but for those of us with ADHD, they allow for our full freedom of thought.

The Unconventional Thinker’s kryptonite: Forced linear process.

The Speed Demon
Those of us with ADHD are hyperactive. That’s our nature. We run fast, dance fast, talk fast, think fast, and answer before the question pops out of someone’s mouth.

Hone the Speed Demon’s super power: Like the Energizer, the Speed Demon thrives on activity. Many kids with ADHD grow up to become athletes, chefs, and entrepreneurs because these professions thrive on quick thinkers. On professional athletes with ADHD: http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/989.html

The Speed Demon’s kryptonite: Impatience. Whenever I find myself gridlocked behind tourists in Hell’s Kitchen, I often stop and remind myself what a silly New Yorker I must look like to them. Recognize your impatience. This can actually help you relax, take a breath, and carry on.



Did I leave out your ADD / ADHD super power? Email me at WritetoJulianna

From another creative thinker to you! Superhero Fetus Sculptures by Alexandre Nicolas
http://laughingsquid.com/superhero-fetus-sculptures-by-alexandre-nicolas/



4 comments:

  1. Julie babe! This article was so interesting. I have two family members with ADD (one is medicated and the other isn't), and your blog really gives me insight into their minds. I also find it fascinating to think of ADD/ADHD as an adaptation. Thanks for giving us all a new perspective on these misunderstood "disorders"....although after reading your article, I prefer to call them superpowers!

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  2. Thanks Maya Pea! Always great to hear your positive feedback. I think superpowers is precisely what we should call them :)

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  3. I love this. I have ADD (just diagnosed at 41!) and my son has ADHD and I like to think of our ADD in positives rather than negatives. Super powers-that's great! I am going to print this out to share at my sons next IEP meeting if you don't mind.

    Lori

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  4. I think that's a wonderful idea, Lori! It's so important to recognize the positive gifts that come with our differences. As a Mom diagnosed with ADHD, how cool to be able to share these similarities with your son too.

    A very happy New Year to you!

    Julie

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