“Is ADHD a Gift? No – But It Can Be Empowering.”
A review of my children’s book criticized it for presenting ADHD as a problem. I laughed pretty hard. Clearly, the reviewer had never lived with ADHD. But it made me wonder: Can ADHD be empowering?
Living with ADHD — parenting it, being married to it, and treating it — inspired me to write children’s books. My stories show the struggle of ADHD but highlight the fact that there are positives — something we often forget.
Recently, though, a reviewer of my middle-school novel, Trouble with a Tiny t(#CommissionsEarned), criticized the book for presenting ADHD as a problem. I laughed pretty hard. Clearly, the reviewer had never lived with ADHD. Um, yeah. It’s kind of a problem. But the reviewer found the story “ultimately empowering.” This made me wonder: Can ADHD be empowering?
As a child, my oldest daughter, now 23, was loud, squirmy, and defiant. She never slept or ate, she talked back and lied. She hated school. Now, she’s funny, well adjusted, and in a prestigious dental school. How did we get from problematic child to empowered adult?
[Read: The Tricky Thing About ADHD Superpowers]
If I asked her, she’d say her parents didn’t pressure her too much. And that boundaries, rewards, and lots of laughter helped. But she’d also say that ADHD forced her to become a super-creative problem-solver.
Her spacing out in class meant that she had to figure out where to get missed information and teach it to herself. Neurotypical kids coasted through a good portion of their day, but she had to work five times harder to keep up. That created a powerful work ethic.
She learned early to advocate for herself because she had to. She had to calm her strong emotions with breathing, exercise, and drawing — because she had to. When there were too many balls of sensation and information coming at her, she developed color-coded systems to track them all.
She’d never say that ADHD is a gift. It is absolutely a problem. But she would say that, sometimes, it is empowering.
ADHD is a Gift: Next Steps
- Read: Your Strengths Inventory — Repairing Self-Esteem After an ADHD Diagnosis
- Blog: The Big Heart Approach to ADHD Acceptance & Self-Love
- Read: 10 Things I Wish the World Knew About ADHD
Thank you for reading ADDitude. To support our mission of providing ADHD education and support, please consider subscribing. Your readership and support help make our content and outreach possible. Thank you.
#CommissionsEarned As an Amazon Associate, ADDitude earns a commission from qualifying purchases made by ADDitude readers on the affiliate links we share. However, all products linked in the ADDitude Store have been independently selected by our editors and/or recommended by our readers. Prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.