The ADHD Advantage?
- Friday, August 18, 2006
Many families look forward to the new school year – it’s an exciting time of increased activity filled with new friends and new opportunities to learn and grow. But for some families, the new school year gives rise to some difficult challenges. For the child with Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity disorder, basic skills like sitting still and studying quietly in a classroom can at times feel impossible.
With so many challenges it’s easy to wonder why God allowed your child to be different – to struggle in ways the other kids don’t. You may wonder if God really works "for the good of those who love him."
It’s true there are many downfalls to ADHD – otherwise it wouldn’t be classified as a disorder in the first place. Disorders like ADHD, if untreated, can lead to poor school performance, unnecessary school discipline, and low self-esteem. A higher percentage of ADD kids than non-ADD kids end up in our prisons.
Quite often these kids didn’t start out "bad" -- they were good but restless kids, who got labeled "bad kids" by teachers at school when their impulsive behavior became difficult to handle. When parents, teachers, and the rest of society dwell on the downfalls of disabilities like ADHD, it can lead to "self-fulfilling prophecy." If you keep telling a good kid that he or she is a bad kid, he will eventually become a bad kid if he believes you. Combine ADD and willful, rebellious behaviors and you’re on the quick path to other destructive behaviors such as alcohol/drug dependencies, as students reach out to chemicals to deaden their feelings of inadequacy.
The earlier ADHD is diagnosed, the more likely youngsters will live a normal or better than normal life. Some of the symptoms that will help you identify ADHD are: forgetting appointments and obligations, constantly misplacing or losing things, being disorganized, difficulty paying attention to what people are saying, careless mistakes when doing a boring task, procrastination, partially completing tasks, daydreaming, and inability to focus on one task. Keep in mind that ADHD is not the same as a strong-willed or active personality. If you suspect your child suffers from ADHD, please seek qualified professional opinions to determine if this is the root of your child’s problems.
The Good in ADHD
So you’re confident your child does indeed suffer from ADHD. What does this really mean for his future? As negative as the above information sounds, there are positive sides to this – even advantages. Typically, a positive diagnosis means that the person has an average or above average I.Q. Because of their inability to "mono-task" and their strong tendency to "multi-task," children with ADHD are frequently too bored and impulsive to hold regular jobs. Although this may seem like a setback, keep in mind that a person doesn’t have to have a "regular job" to bring glory to God. These kids have the advantage of having more energy than their non-ADHD peers and they tend to be more creative. As their energy and creativity is cultivated in a healthy direction, they take more risks and can become entrepreneurs.
Students from high school on can be encouraged to find their particular niche in the business world if they are properly diagnosed with ADHD. Strong creativity in any form, toward any subject, can be encouraged. If these students tend to function independently of schedules as youngsters, chances are they won't fit into a "9:00 – 5:00" work system, but that’s okay.
For example, one of my sons loved to play games on his computer when he was younger. He had trouble attending classes regularly. Even though he had a high I.Q., his class work was merely average. Since he enjoyed playing video games and spent most of his time doing that, he decided to attend our local art institute. There he became a gifted creator of video games. He has always been a "night" person, so he likes to work mostly at night. In this field, he can set his own hours and put his field of creativity to its greatest use. He has become very successful at it, in no small part because God worked through his ADHD.
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