As we continue to work with students with learning differences, about ⅓ of them have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). We always ask them about their strengths and struggles. More often than not, students begin spouting off their struggles faster than we can make note of them. Once we’ve caught up with jotting down their struggles, we always need to ask again about their strengths. We are then met with a blank stare. “I don’t know” is the common answer.
After we tell our students with ADHD that it doesn’t need to be an academic strength, our students are able to talk about some of the other gifts that they have. Many of our students with ADHD talk about how they are creative, intuitive, able take risks (yes, that is a plus!), think out of the box when problem-solving, are high energy, can focus on something they like for hours (i.e. hyper-focusing), have a good sense of humor and can dream up big ideas. Those strengths are often not seen as such while students are in elementary school through high school. However, these traits are HUGE strengths as students move into adulthood and the workplace.
Many successful business owners have ADHD and consider their “struggle” as a strength. Founder of JetBlue, David Neeleman has ADHD and considers it a crucial piece to his success. He, like many ADHDer’s, forgot to bring the necessary materials to the airport regularly and wouldn’t be able to catch his flight. He created the first electronic ticketing system in order to help those like himself. If he didn’t struggle with organization, he wouldn’t have had this problem and wouldn’t have considered the creation of something that is readily used today.
ADHD can bring along some challenges but that doesn’t mean that can’t be turned into strengths. It is our goal to help our students find success as they move onto higher education institutions. If you would like to learn how to give us a call at 847-940-8090.