According to the CDC, around 6 million children in the United States have an attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder diagnosis. Increasing numbers of adults are identifying with the symptoms as well. It may be possible to diagnose ADHD as early as the preschool years, and most experts agree that early diagnosis can significantly improve the lives of children with this common neurological condition.
Though many people would agree that their ADHD makes life more challenging, they may have discovered several unique strengths that often accompany the diagnosis. As a clinician or educator, understanding the benefits of having ADHD and the areas in which a child may need extra help in school is critical.
3 Strengths of ADHD
Using the (Conners 3) Conners, Third Edition, many children and teens are assessed for ADHD based on their hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention — three hallmark behavioral symptoms of this disorder. However, you may notice during an assessment for ADHD that the individual has above-average skills in other areas.
In using assessments such as the Conners’ Adult ADHD Rating Scales (CAARS), evaluators have found that many children and adults with ADHD do not think linearly and, according to Scientific American, frequently engage in divergent thinking (being able to conceptualize many ideas from only one starting point). On the one hand, this can make rote learning difficult.
On the other hand, the ability to think of many ideas at once can be a beneficial skill for many future career paths. For example, people with this skill may not feel as constrained by what they already know. Instead, they may use their knowledge to brainstorm in a business meeting, invest in a startup concept not priorly considered, or lend their talents to artistry or performance.
2. Extreme Focus on Interests
It is no secret that children and adults with ADHD can hyperfocus on video games, books, or projects that interest them. When these behaviors are left unchecked, they can lead to poor hygiene, forgetting to take medication and keep appointments, and inattention at school or work.
However, hyperfocus can be an asset and even a gift when managed. Engaging a child in school based on these extreme interests is possible — and adults considering these hobbies as potential career paths is beneficial.
3. Willingness to Take Calculated Risks
Many people with an ADHD diagnosis enjoy the adrenaline rush from risky behavior. Teens and adults with ADHD are at higher risk of substance abuse, reckless driving, and even aggression because of this. However, experts agree that taking “good risks” — such as starting a new business, approaching a new friend group, or auditioning for a school play — is one of the keys to a healthy life.
Access Research-Based ADHD Assessments With WPS
Do you know a child or adult struggling to learn or pay attention in school? Consider a science-backed ADHD assessment appropriate for their age and developmental level.