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The Gift of ADHD

Updated on March 31, 2010

So many Negatives, What about the Positives?

We so often hear of the problems our ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) children face or are seemingly the cause of. We, as parents, hear it from teachers, school officials, family, friends, their friends and parents of their friends. Scout leaders, coaches, and caregivers.

We see it on the faces of parents on that playdate, when they meet your child for the first time, and it's a certain look that says 'Wow, that one is a handful" and you secretly wonder if they'll allow their child to continue playing with yours.

When you go to pick up your child from school and the principal is making a bee line in your direction, you instantly know it isn't going to be an excited announcement that your child has made the Spelling Bee and you resist running in the other direction.

When you read the weekly report from your child's teacher, you hope that all "Excellent's" are circled, but you have a sinking feeling there will be at least one "Unsatisfactory" circled and it is typically under the behavior section.

We often begin to wonder if there are any positives, or will be any positives in their future. Keep that "In the long run" and the "Long Term" goals and objectives in mind. Though outgrowing ADHD is a fallacy, the disorder does become more manageable for them as they mature and learn self control or learn to compensate. In this I mean, as a forgetful child, as ADHD Adults they compensate by taking notes, making lists or reminders for themselves, or they become the Boss and hire a secretary or Personal Assistant to do this for them.

Some children have the gift of self-awareness, one of my ADHD/ODD children, has this wonderful gift and she has learned at a young age to compensate for some things. For example, she knows that she will likely lose one of her shoes, or forget where she took them off, so she removes her shoes in the car when she gets home from school, so she knows that they will be there in the morning. I praise her for her awareness and excellent planning!

Many of the traits of ADHD which are often seen as "bad" in the child, can become a positive as they mature and become adults, even Gifts. I am often baffled by traits that are seen as bad behaviors in children, that are excellent traits in adults. So let us take a look at the positives.

Specific Gifts of ADHD

Spontaneous, a go-getter, willing to jump in and get things done. Unafraid of taking risks. 
Excessive Talking 
Social and excited to share their ideas and experiences
Free of the 100 things that they must remember each day.  Especially the more mundane.
Creative or innovative thinking 
Not listening or acts if they don't hear
Able to  tune out the mundane or irrelevant.
Excited to know the answer and not afraid to spit it out
Careless or repeated mistakes
Doesn't feel guilty about making mistakes 
Lack of empathy
Doesn't care what others think of them or say about them
Lack of Self-awareness
Free of self-consciousness
Doing what it takes to get more, getting what they want.
Giving up is not an option, they will keep at it until they accomplish
Lack of insight
Free from counting own faults 
Difficulty staying on task
A multi-tasker
Able to follow multiple conversations or activities at once
Overly talkative, distracting others
Has the gift of gab, social
If we as parents focus on the positive aspect, in lieu of the negative, think of the endless possibilities for our children.
Edison and his Phonograph
Edison and his Phonograph
Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin

Historic Figures Who Have Displayed Symptoms of ADHD

Throughout history many famous, courageous, inspirational and world changing people displayed symptoms of ADHD. Though the diagnosis criteria or even the term ADHD was not in place during many of these peoples lives and it is difficult to be sure. However, history of their lives has implicated that they may have had this disorder. As you read the list, wonder what our world would be without them.

  1. Thomas Edison
  2. Albert Einstein
  3. Winston Churchill
  4. Beethoven
  5. Walt Disney
  6. Benjamin Franklin
  7. John F. Kennedy
  8. Robert F. Kennedy
  9. Theodore Roosevelt
  10. Woodrow Wilson
  11. Hans Christian Anderson
  12. Jules Verne
  13. The Wright Brothers
  14. Jet Blue founder David Neelemen
  15. Robin Williams


Positive Traits

The behaviors of the ADHD child are and should be considered separate from the child himself/herself. Because Johnny didn't raise his hand before he blurted out the answer does not make him a "bad" person. Tina forgot to put her name on her paper, yet again, and received a zero for not following directions, does that make Tina a bad person? Let's look at some of the "good" traits:

  • Creative
  • Warm-hearted
  • Highly intelligent often at Genius levels
  • Inventive
  • Outgoing
  • Helpful
  • Charismatic
  • Caring
  • Humorous
  • Resilient
  • Innovative
  • Leaders
  • Excellent delegators and motivators
  • Hard workers
  • Problem solvers
  • Excellent under pressure or in chaotic situations
  • Observant
  • Intuitive

Let's not forget the awesome gift of "Hyperfocus".

The term Hyperfocus is not valued as it should be and often unheard of. However, if channeled properly, the outcome can be extraordinary. What is Hyperfocus? A term I learned while taking our oldest to neurofeedback sessions. It is the ability to do exactly as it says hyperfocus on a particular task without distraction, extreme mental concentration. The technical definition is the normal state that occurs during hypnosis, especially at theta levels.

Often we hear, they don't have ADHD if they can sit and play a video game for hours on end and you can't get them away from it no matter what you try. Or they will sit for hours with a thousand Lego pieces until they have put that battleship together perfectly without a piece missing. Tear apart electronics and spend hours meticulously putting them back together. These are examples of Hyperfocus. If they can find a passion, they can Hyperfocus, and the possibilities are limitless. It could be seen as obsession, yet let's look at it as passion and encourage it, whatever it may be.

Think of Edison and his passions for invention and science. Where would we be without the phonograph, the Motion Picture Camera, the LIGHT BULB! The Wright Brothers and their passion for flight. Beethoven's obsession, rather, passion for music. Robin Williams comedic genius. Theodore Roosevelt's passion for nature, among other things. We wouldn't have National Parks and protected lands without him.

Though many of the people mentioned above were thought of (in there day) as strange, quirky, even crazy. All, were or are 'out of the box' thinkers, another gift of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

So the next time we get bogged down with the negativity, let's turn it around and think of each behavior in a positive light. Not only will this be a weight off our shoulders, but our children's as well.


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    • profile image

      ritchel 6 years ago

      it is overwhelming to know that we are all special in our own way. people may judge us but more importantly, we believe in our own capacity to do things which made us unique individuals.....thank you for sharing this article...more power to you!!!!

    • Kathleen Rimanell profile image

      Kathleen Rimanell 7 years ago from Tampa, FL

      Beautiful re-defining of what people with ADHD are like. It's about time someone wrote something positive about this population. You have my vote to write the next DSM :)

    • profile image

      mohammad 7 years ago

      thanks that was wonderfull truely i'm out of words..

      i'm 17 and i think i have adhd because i have its symptoms and i think i'm different from a normal adhd individual i have the self-awareness you spoke about above and many thing more like : 90 % of the times i know the intentions thoughts of the person i'm talking by a gust observing his face and his conversation i 70% of the time i can predict what actions may people do i have a veeery smart impulsing behavior so that i made a fool out of three smart people with an impulsive plan i can manupilate peoples minds and make them believe what i want them to believe (but don't tell my teachers at school :P )i can alter my emotional state and in some cases i can increase my heart rate and many more talents .. i live in a developing country and i need a professionals guide in adhd so that i can learn better to use my gift can you help me with that by leading me to professionals if there is in my country i live in a country called lebanon in the capital city beirut this is my email : please contact me if you can help or if you want to be a friend and thanks for reading :D

    • profile image

      Ayer Roca 7 years ago

      I have ADHD and I believe that every negative traits of me has a positive one. Im always innovative, creative, social, witty, etc. I bask with several successful friends, who are my role-models and motivators so I can be successful. Great article by the way, now I'm trying to get to UCSF and get involved in ADHD-related research and trials. Thank You very much! You have opened my eyes for unlimited possibilities. :)

    • profile image

      Car Donations 7 years ago

      Great article on ADD. You took a unique spin on it. I have ADD and I agree with every word you said. ADD certainly can be frustrating to deal with, but it has some positive aspects that often go unnoticed by society. I am a truly creative thinker. Good luck to you and your family!

    • kayrod profile image

      kayrod 7 years ago from Northridge, CA

      Thanks for this hub. My 10 year old grandson is ADHD and he is such a delight! I'm glad someone wrote something positive about people with this disorder. Hopefully, this will help people realize that some of our best minds have been people with ADHD.

    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 8 years ago from Southern California

      Well blake4d glad I could help. With so much negativity surrounding this issue it was time to put a positive light on it.

    • blake4d profile image

      Blake Ford Hall 8 years ago from Now Rising Out of Phoenix Arizona Earthlings

      Wow, I have always assumed that I was an undiagnosed adult with ADHDD or ADD. But your clear concise and precise description. And a diagram to boot...I have every single one of the positive and negative traits. All around the clearest and most readable article on the subject I have ever seen. Thanx so much for sharing this on the hubs MD. Great great work, Keep on Hubbing. Blake4d

    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 8 years ago from Southern California

      Hub Llama, thank you for your comment and input. Ah yes, the "finish what you start" thing. Follow through is difficult, especially when those things on the mental list become mundane or take longer than expected. Give yourself credit for the things that you have completed. I'm off to read your 'published' hub.

    • Hub Llama profile image

      Hub Llama 8 years ago from Denver, CO

      As an adult with ADD (check out my it is always nice to read those who take an optimistic view. Unfortunately, not all of these benefits are universal. I'm all too quick to give up for example when something doesn't progress along the imaginary timeline that I envisioned.

    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 8 years ago from Southern California

      HC writing this hub was as much for those who dont understand as it was for those who do. Thank you for your comment.

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 8 years ago from Lone Star State

      I need to forward this to a few parents I know that should reconsider the way they feel about ADHD :) Thanks for sharing-this was great!

    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 8 years ago from Southern California

      hypnodude, thank you for your compliment, rating it up and stumbling! Many, many people have the same perception and if I am able to enlighten even 1 person, I am thrilled. Only my two youngest take meds and trust me when I say it isnt an easy decision for a parent to make, I worry about side effects and long term effects. Not to mention the hassle it is to even get a prescription written. All the test that have to be done and the costs, which insurance usually doesnt cover unless its generic, which the one my children take isnt so it costs me appr. $300. a month. So why do I do it? Because it works for them and I haven't found anything else that works as well. It breaks my heart to see these kids labeled as "problem" children as they so often are, when there are so many positives that should be brought to light. Thanks again!

    • hypnodude profile image

      Andrew 8 years ago from Italy

      Now, I'm not an expert on ADHD, so forgive me for my opinion, but I have this idea that all the talking around children with ADHD is just for the sake of giving them drugs so that they get addicted soon and become drug users for all their lives. As you greatly explained what can be seen as a problem now can easily become an advantage later, and so many genius were "particular" children.

      You did a very good, exceptional job with this hub. Rated up and stumbled.:)

    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 8 years ago from Southern California

      thevoice, thank you for your comment and compliment! Glad you enjoyed.

    • thevoice profile image

      thevoice 8 years ago from carthage ill

      first rate explained hub great work thanks

    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 8 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you Don, agreed and since most information focuses on those hair pulling moments its like a breath of fresh air to focus on the laughs. And boy, can they make us laugh.

    • Don Simkovich profile image

      Don Simkovich 8 years ago from Pasadena, CA

      Good Hub. We've had a few who have ADHD . . . and one has always made us laugh . . . of course there were many hair pulling moments, too.

    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 8 years ago from Southern California

      Hmmm... Richard because of your comment I feel a new hub coming on... Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 8 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you Richard for your comment, I'm glad you liked this hub. Yes, very true. Everyone, adults and children have to be responsible for their actions. It's a difficult balance to try and maintain.

    • Richard Armen profile image

      Richard Armen 8 years ago

      This is a great hub and I've seen the other side personally from what msorensson mentions where the parents act like their child is handicapped and make excuses for them and the child has issues later in life. Thanks

    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 8 years ago from Southern California

      Ann, thank you for your comment and thrilled you enjoy this hub. If I can bring a positive aspect to it for any parent or child than I am happy.

    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 8 years ago from Southern California

      jwjulie40, my sentiments exactly. Thank you for your encouraging words as always... my biggest fan!

    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 8 years ago from Southern California

      greysquirrel, glad you found this hub interesting. Thank you for commenting.

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 8 years ago from Virginia

      Very interesting aspect and take on this subject and issue missi! Bravo! I enjoyed it very much and must say it's good to hear some positive attitude!

    • profile image

      jwjulie40 8 years ago

      Good hub!! Keep writing GET THE WORD OUT!! Help people keep in mind that these are just kids!!And they are real people to and they need that respect!! KEEP UP THE HUBS MISSI!!

    • greysquirrel profile image

      greysquirrel 8 years ago from here and there

      Interesting hub and good viewpoint!

    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 8 years ago from Southern California

      Quill thank you for your inspiring comment. Also your fan mail was truly a blessing. Thank you.

    • profile image

      "Quill" 8 years ago

      Thank you for writing of this and over the years I have met several people who have moved onto great things and even greater things will come in the future...


    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 8 years ago from Southern California

      Linda, thank you, thank you, thank you! I think I've been researching and keeping up with the latest on ADHD for oh 12 years now. It is not often that you actually find concrete positives.

    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 8 years ago from Southern California

      That's wonderful JannyC! They look to us for validation, love and support. Keep doing what your doing!

    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 8 years ago from Southern California

      Enelle, as always thank you for your womderful comment. It is a difficult thing to do with so much negativity coming at you from all directions, I try to keep in mind how much more negativity these kids (including my own) experience on a daily basis. If we as parents can turn it around for them. What's the saying No matter what other people say, I think your great. It's meant as a joke but how true!

    • Lynda Gary profile image

      Lynda Gary 8 years ago

      I absolutely love this! More parents with ADHD kids need to read it, learn it, make it a part of their thinking!

      I'm gonna folkd, blink, stumble, Xomga, and reddit this page!

    • JannyC profile image

      JannyC 8 years ago

      This was excellent! We always look at the negative in things way too much and your absolutly right. Sometimes my sister puts down some things about my son but I don't see them as that and tell him not to listen to that. He is wonderful the way he is and should not feel he is not.

    • Enelle Lamb profile image

      Enelle Lamb 8 years ago from Canada's 'California'

      Unfortunately you are right, most people do see ADHD behaviours as bad in children, yet are acceptable in adults. I never could fathom that one! I am still trying to find a happy medium (for me LOL) but I at least have a good school who is willing to work with my boy and there are more positives than negatives now.

      Really well written hub my dear, thanks for sharing this often overlooked view of ADHD.

    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 8 years ago from Southern California

      msorensson, thank you for your comment and compliment. What wonderful friends, and they had the right idea. Writing this has been a wonderful reminder for me as well. A reminder to keep the negative in check.

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 8 years ago

      What a beautiful, heartwarming hub. Thank you for writing this.

      I have a friend who has two children. One is a genius and the other has ADHD.

      They are now both successful. The only thing that the parents did was that they did not give preference to the other, nor did they consider ADHD a handicap.

      All four of them shared everything normally just like a regular family. They did not ignore the handicap, he had tutors but he did well!

      If parents can do this, I think it would be wonderful.


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