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Dina Needs to Take Her Creativity Meds

What if your child had Creativity Deficit Disorder (CDD) in a world where the ADHD brain was coveted for all of its strengths?

4 Comments: Dina Needs to Take Her Creativity Meds

  1. It is diffifult to take this kind of article seriously when most creative people do not have ADD/HD. Our condition forces us to find creative solutions, since organization and planning are so difficult. This does not mean we are inherently more creative by having this disorder, despite how articles like this would have us think.
    Rather than proposing that ADD/HD comes with ‘gifts’ (an idea I’ve never heard attatched to any other neurological disorder), science-backed research and realistic support are our way forward. We cannot expect the world to appreciate us, warts and all. At the same time, balanced self-awareness with self-compassion and self-appreciation might help us on our way as best as possible.

    1. All of the science of creativity points to the fact that the ADHD brain is wired for creativity. As this story suggests, recent neurobiology research is uncovering the location in the brain, and the mechanism in cognition, that makes people creative. These are not studies of ADHD, they are studies of creativity. And what they show is that what is known as the “default mode network” is the part of the brain that lights up when synergistic, creative connections are happening. In order to light up this area of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, where executive function happens, must be tamped down. The DMN lights up precisely when we are not engaged in tasks requiring executive function, and instead are daydreaming or snoozing, letting our minds wander. In other words, creativity REQUIRES inattention and a lack of focus.

      Similarly, research on the concept of “flow,” which is extensively studied outside of the ADHD industry, shows also that the key to triggering “flow” is temporary hypoprefrontality. In other words, a temporary suspension of executive function. It is becoming one of the hottest topics — how can we induce “flow” so people can become more creative? What is flow? It is hyperfocus.

      Not all people with ADHD are artistically creative in the sense that we generally think of it, but when you define creativity a bit more broadly, say looking at the sort of big-picture, outside-the-box, wide-ranging-connections kind of thinking and the emotional intelligence and empathy required for entrepreneurship (Ned Hallowell calls ADHD “the entrepreneurial trait”), actually most people with ADHD are highly creative. We have just had our creativity crushed by an industrial school and employment system that has valued compliance and efficiency over creativity for 150 years.

      Mel Williams, Casey Neistat, Tim Ferriss, Gary Vaynerchuk, Roberto Blake, Seth Godin — they all have or likely have ADHD. They are highly successful entrepreneurs who have learned to outsource executive function so that they can get down to business making and creating. We are all capable of that, once we overcome the traumas inflicted on us by a neurotypical world.

  2. Brilliant!
    We should be looking at how to support kids’ strengths instead of focusing only on their weaknesses just because they don’t conform to the way we’ve been doing things–which may be overdue for change. We should be nourishing their creativity, which helps them develop resilience, become productive citizens, and function well in the gig economy that is here to stay.
    Of course, all that takes investment in our schools, which I’m not sure we’re willing to do here in the U.S.
    –Nancy, the Sensory Smart Parent

  3. OMG! Every teacher needs to read this article. This is exactly how a classroom works. And every doctor needs to read this article. They might look at meds differently. And every parent needs to read this article.(they need to try to look at the world through their child’s eyes) We do have organizations (Cub Scout)and camps (Mad science) that cater to the creative brain, but regular public school structure seems to be a real problem. Time to make a change!!

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