Less than a week after writing about ADHD as an “interest deficit” in the article ADHD: defect or difference? I observed quite a startling contrast in my own son within the space of a few minutes. Last night we went to a talk, presented by a children’s author and an illustrator. While the hosts and author were talking my son was constantly moving and fidgeting, making noises, and generally being obviously hyperactive. As soon as the illustrator started speaking my son sat down quietly and stopped moving. He listened intently to every word the illustrator said. If you had just walked into the room you would not distinguish him from a child without ADHD! It was amazing to watch and really brought home to me that the best strategy for dealing with children with ADHD is to engage them! My son has a passion for drawing and this illustrator piqued his interest. Then when illustrator decided to get the children involved and present a little master class in book illustration my son was truly hooked. Here he was in his element! He drew a fantastic picture, using his imagination and creativity, something he has in spades. From being a shy boy early in the evening, he began to display a tremendous confidence. And when he realised that the illustrator drew pictures as a job, my son beamed. I think for the first time he recognised that the things he is good at are valued by society after all.
Not so much an “interest deficit”, just motivated by different things!