ADHD: defect or difference?

I was so excited to come across this fantastic article about ADHD.

I hope that this will be the beginning of changing attitudes towards ADHD. We are not broken or defective. We just think differently. In a world where the majority are neurotypical,we may struggle to fit in. But we do have great minds, we can “hyperfocus” when we are engaged in our interests. We may be motivated by different things than the neurotypical (non-ADHD/ASD) population, but we have no less motivation towards those things that we enjoy. When studies talk about a deficit in the “reward system” in the brain of someone with ADHD, I question if it is a deficit, or a difference. Is it an actual defect in the reward centre in their brain, or that the person being tested does not find the particular test rewarding? We all observe that there is some things that the person with ADHD can pay attention to or is motivated by (music, drawing, art, writing, sports or very often something multisensory, for example a computer game). Scientists are now beginning to call ADHD an “interest deficit”

Rather than looking for a cure for ADHD, we should be looking at what motivates our children, what stimulates them, and channel it.

In Ken Robinson’s book ‘The Element‘, he talks of an eight year old girl who struggled in school in the 1930’s, who nowadays would most likely be diagnosed with ADHD. Her school believed she had a learning disorder. Her parents took her to a psychologist, who after observing her, said “Gillian isn’t sick, she’s a dancer”. Gillian went on to become a successful member of the Royal Ballet Company, before creating major musical theatre shows including Cats and Phantom of the Opera with Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Chris Chandler’s book, ‘The Science of ADHD‘ describes several stories of people with ADHD who struggled in school, or early adulthood. Many of these found success in later life, some even going to university as mature age students and achieving academically.


8 thoughts on “ADHD: defect or difference?


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