Secondly – and here it gets interesting there are actually two different types of ADHD:
Now the hyperactive subtype is the one which is most noticeable to everyone else due to the nature of the symptoms, and the inattentive subtype is much less likely to get diagnosed.
Let’s just break these down, and think about this for a minute as I pose a cheeky question:
Do you think one of the subtypes is worse for someone to have?
Hopefully you said no – and here’s why - regardless of the specific difficulties it’s still going to be difficult for you to pay attention to what’s being said, remember what you were supposed to do, sit still, think through something before you act… You’re just being distracted by your brain in a different way.
Why does it matter?
Well lets just think about ADHD in different contexts:
At home – you say to your child that before they can go out and play they have to first go upstairs, tidy their room, and put their clothes away. If you have difficulties concentrating how much of this do you think they heard? Which part of the sentence do you think they’re likely to remember?
Absolutely – ‘go out and play’ is the part they have heard, and are focused on – even if it looks like they’re listening because they’re still stood in front of you chances are they’re instead thinking about all the awesome things they’re going to do when they get out. Be honest – how many times have you been ‘listening’ to someone but actually thinking about shopping, your to-do-list, your night out… We all do it – especially when we are not interested in what is being said to us.
In school – every time you have a class debate they butt in and are unable to ‘wait their turn’. This makes everyone frustrated, and instead of the debate enhancing their learning it always ends up being 90% focused on controlling this one child. Are they really doing it on purpose?
No – of course not! An answer, or thought pops into their head and out it shoots! Again is this so different to things that we all do? Have you ever been having a conversation, or brainstorming and because you’re so invested in the situation/outcome rather than waiting 5-10 minutes for someone to finish their proposal you can see the answer and - oops too late – it’s out of your mouth. You don’t even know why you didn’t follow the rules and interject politely… Maybe you were caught up in the moment? Maybe you were so excited you just couldn’t contain yourself? Either way you were invested in helping bring about a positive outcome so is it really such a bad thing in some situations?
At work – you have an employee who quite literally can’t sit still. They’re up, and down jumping from one task to the next, then back again with what appears to be no organisation, or structure to their day. Does it really matter?
Not at all – if their work is always completed. Have you heard the phrase ‘organised chaos’? Some people just work far better when they have multiple things going on and keep switching as an idea pops into their head. What’s worse – switching and completing work haphazardly (but always completing work), or trying to stay focused on one task while ignoring all the awesome ideas which are popping in your head? If they can’t sit still get them one of those new fabulous sit-down/stand-up desks or make sure you have walking meetings with them – hey if you lose a few pounds in the process isn’t that just an added benefit?
OK so what am I really getting at – well ADHD is real, and it absolutely does not have to stop anyone from achieving at school, in work, or in life. Stop thinking about it as a negative, and instead harness all the overactive, impulsive or creative juices in that individual and you may just support a truly talented individual to achieve great things.
But before I go remember as always – the only way to support someone to greatness is to get to know them, and ask the two most important questions in the world:
Have an awesome weekend, and I hope you like the infographic as a quick reminder!
Best wishes, Katie.
Katie Woodland - A developmental, and holistic psychologist who specialises in educating and empowering individuals, business leaders & school teachers to remove mental health as a barrier to success.
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