Podcast Episode 41:
The ADHD Advantage

This week’s podcast episode is based largely on the book, The ADHD Advantage by Dale Archer, MD.

ADHD- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can be thought of as a disorder, a disability, something negative OR as something positive!  A benefit and an advantage to the person with that brain structure. Listen to hear more and then read or listen to this great book!

Audio version: www.DecodingLearningDifferences.com

Decoding Learning Differences with Kimberlynn Lavelle. This episode is the ADHD advantage. So this episode is entirely based on a book called the ADHD advantage by Dale Archer. So in this book, I'm going to kind of give you some of the highlights of the book, a little bit of a summary. And if you're interested in it, if it's a topic that is of interest to you,

if you're a parent with ADHD or a parent of a child with ADHD, I would highly encourage you to check it out and investigate some of this for yourself. So just a summary, make sure we're all on the same page. ADHD is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and there are different types of ADHD, which is why it can get confusing. And some people will still use the term ADD,

although that is not in the DSM 5. So it's not like a current diagnosis, but it is confusing because there is an inattention type without the hyperactivity. There's a hyperactive type without the inattention, which is extremely rare because most of the time hyperactivity will lead to inattention. And there's the, one of the most common ones is the combined type with hyperactivity and,

and attention. So it was all under one umbrella of ADHD. It's not separate, it's all seen as ADHD. It's hard to say it's not separate diagnosis because it is kind of separated as different types, but I'm not a particular expert on the DSM-V. I just know a little bit about how it defines that. Okay. So we have had some previous episodes on ADHD.

We are wrapping up in the next week or so we'll be wrapping up the month of ADHD and dyslexia because they're both in the same month, ADHD awareness and dyslexia awareness. And we talked about the correlation of those two. So watch the other episodes that we've talked about with that. We've also had interviews in the past with it and talked about ADHD in previous months earlier in the season,

this first season. Okay. So one of the quotes, or is the beginning of the book is this quote. And I think it really captures the essence of the whole book and what the whole book is telling us. And that, and what I really want you to take away from knowing that you or your child has ADHD. Those with ADHD are life's entrepreneurs,

CEOs, leaders, explorers, champion athletes, and out of the box thinkers with extraordinary abilities to work under pressure rebound from crises, multitask, and conceive of ideas outside the restrictions of linear thinking. So that's a really like one sentence summary of the whole book. So we're keeping in mind that although ADHD is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, it's actually, doesn't have to be thought of as a negative.

There are positives, but part of it being a positive is knowing how to use the strengths and reading the book can be very helpful or listening to it on audio or what, however you consume media can be really helpful to give you kind of a guide of how to use, how do identify and use your strengths. So we're going to get into all of that in this episode.

And before we get into that, I wanted to talk it in chapter five. So the book is broken into three parts, and we're mostly gonna be talking about the middle part of the actual strengths of ADHD, but in the first part, it ends thing. It was the last part of the first part, the last chapter, the first part, I think it was chapter five is called learning with add ADHD.

And I consider it a case for homeschooling. Although the author doesn't actually say that the author just talks about all the challenges that people with ADHD, children with ADHD have until. So let me show you this quote, as many people with ADHD find it gets easier. If you can make it into college where you're more in control of your time and study methods,

and you were able to major in subjects, you are passionate about. And a little bit later, he says, it's the curriculum and classroom setting. That is the problem, not the kid I'm pausing here because I really want this to sink in. I'm going to read that first quote, one more time, as many bright people with ADHD, find it gets easier if you can make it into college.

And this is where I want to kind of question, do we have to make our kids wait until college where you're more in control of your time and study methods and you're able to major in subjects you were passionate about. So when I read this, my thought is why are we making these kids wait until college to feel in control? Right? Why did the kids have to if,

and there are schools and they, and that's the thing they, he does talk about that there are schools in the country, mostly private schools that are able to have really low teacher to student ratio numbers, and they're very student oriented. And he also talks about the fact that our public schools are so underfunded, that they can't provide the level of individualization that is needed in order for a child with ADHD to be successful.

And I would argue that it's difficult to provide the level of individualization for most children to be as optimally successful as they could be if they were given a very individualized instruction, curriculum setting. So I see this as a case for homeschooling. I see this as if your kid is really struggling with the curriculum and the classroom setting, homeschooling might be a better choice because you can bring in that control.

Your kid gets to then control their use of time. The way that they're studying the way that they're pursuing their interests. Because what you'll find is that when a child with ADHD is really interested in something, they can hyper focus, they can get extremely, extremely focused. And this isn't limited to children with ADHD. It's true of all children that when they're really interested in something,

they can get into the zone and they just are working and hours can pass. And they're just so focused. And our job is to make sure that we don't interrupt that learning in that flow, in that focus. So I would encourage you to think through how can you use these strengths? What strengths do you see in your own children or yourself, and how can you put them to better use and strengthen them even more?

So the first strength that he goes into is resilience, and he cites some evidence and talks about how people with ADHD tend to have a lot of struggles in life. Things are not easy for them. They have to work in against a system that is very challenging. And some of those struggles that they go up against builds resiliency in them. So that could potentially be a case against homeschooling that,

oh, your kid won't become resilient if they're homeschooled. Cause they don't, you're making it easier for them, which candy. But I don't think that's very valid because you're still going to have conflict within your home. There's still gonna be some issues and struggles. There might be struggles with any classes that they're enrolled in outside of the home, any sports activities they're doing conflicts with friends and play environment interactions.

So there's so many opportunities where they will still have struggles. There's a book that is floated away from my building resilience, but it, it talks about, you know, how to foster resilience in your child. So that's another thing is we can always foster resilience in our children. They don't have to have a difficult 12, 13 years of schooling in order to build resilience,

X strength that he goes into is what he calls the bingo brain. And he says that people are making seemingly random connections in rapid fire. And this is very much, it talks about like kind of a big picture thing. And we talked about that before with dyslexic brains. And we've also talked about how dyslexic brains and ADHD brains have a lot of similarities.

There's a lot of correlation. And often someone with ADHD does have dyslexia. So, and vice versa. So there, what he's talking about is that they're looking at all these different things that don't seem at all connected and quickly realizing that this is connected to this and making these huge connections and pulling things in. And you're like, what? And if you've ever had that feeling,

when your kid is trying to talk to you about something and like, you're just talking about dinner and now they're talking about the revolutionary war and that makes sense to them that those two things would go together. That might exactly be it. They'd connected this tiny thing to this tiny thing, to this tiny thing, to this tiny thing. And you, if they walk you through it,

you might be able to catch up, but it took them five seconds. And it's going to take you five minutes to figure out what their, how they made that connection. And we don't really need to know how we know that they're doing it. We can support it, encourage it and love it because it's amazing. And it's, it's a strength and they need to notice how to use that strength.

They might not be super detail oriented, but they might be really good at big picture kinds of thinking that leadership, those leadership roles, okay, next strength is multitasking. So again, this is one where he didn't actually have any evidence that this is true or that people with ADHD actually are able to do it better than the average, but he felt that it was true from what he was seeing.

So keep this in mind and you can just notice for yourself or your children or whoever, you know, ADHD is, Is multitasking easier for this person? Are they more like, and Sometimes what I think is actually one of the things he talks about is that they're happier than other people when multitasking. And I can definitely see that because if it's hard for you to hold attention,

then if you're doing this and this and this all at the same time, and you're just flipping your attention through them, you actually maybe are more productive in that situation than when you have just one thing in front of you and you're bored and your brain is looking for something else. Now, this is all just my kind of theorizing, hypothesizing, trying to come up with why this might be true.

And I'm not at all disagreeing with him. He just didn't have any like scientific evidence to back up that particular strength. But I can see, I can kind of see what he's seeing. I, the next one he talks about is cool in a crisis that he has noticed that a lot of people with ADHD are able, but maybe in day to day are not your like go-to person for fixing something that's broken or maybe they are depends on their personal interests and strengths,

but they might be really good at solving the problem under pressure. So they're the ones that when things are really hard, when it's like life or death situation, they can solve your problem. For sure. They're, they're your person that you want in charge in a big emergency. And it's so funny because maybe they're not the best leader in the like mundane,

boring day-to-day stuff, but in a crisis, they're the person who can really get you out of the crisis. The, he, he also talks about how many people with ADHD respond well to that, like fear. They, they like, they thrive on that feeling of fear and they actually are able to like, so they'll procrastinate because it's not interesting.

And then they're up against a deadline and now it's a crisis and they can produce, you know, amazing results. Of course, we have to balance that with if they are in school and there's or working, and there's a real deadline. If they procrastinate too long before they feel the fear they might actually have, there may be detrimental impact to that.

So it's a balancing act for sure. And it's something that they need to learn how to balance. And he gives him suggestions in there on how to balance that such as giving yourself false deadlines and false consequences to those deadlines. And I'm, he didn't talk about if it, if he knows anyone who does this and it works because I'm curious if you know,

it's not true, Does it, Do you automatically go, oh, well, it doesn't actually matter. Like, do you discount it? How much do you have to really like, because it seems like you'd really have to buy into, no, it has to be done by Thursday or I'm going to lose my job instead of the truth that it has to be done by Friday.

And if I don't, then my boss is going to be mad at me And I'm going to get written up, Write it if it's not true. So it's his suggestion. It's definitely interesting to try and, and see if it helps. And then if it does, it creates anxiety, which I also know is very common in kids with ADHD. I do see high anxiety correlation.

So I would also kind of watch that and, and be careful how this particular strength gets used and when it gets used. And it might be something that plays out more when they're a little bit older than when they're younger and it might not be something you want to utilize too much if they are also dealing with anxiety and always talk to a professional eight mental health professional about this.

Okay. And then the last Strength slash tool that he talks about is hyperfocus. So you're saying that hyper-focus comes into play with kind of within all of the strengths. And it's something that all people are able to do, but people with ADHD really are able to benefit from it. And if they know how to use it and when to use it and start to learn a skill of being able to turn it on and off being like,

I, you know, okay, I'm gonna hyper focus on this. And maybe that's where you're creating those false deadlines and things that you're to create a sense of. I have to do this right now and I'm, hyper-focusing on it and kind of psyching yourself into being interested in the things that you are supposed to be doing. So hyperfocus, have you noticed it?

It can. And I have seen this in, I have some students with ADHD who I've seen and, and different ones will do it differently, but some of them, they feel like the work that they have to do for school is very important. And when they sit down to do it, they want to just get it done. So they don't have to do it like later and ones want to try to push it off for later.

But once they start, I've had some that once they start, they will, hyper-focus get it done. And then go. I've also noticed most of my students with ADHD, if I'm seeing them right before recess, Then, And I tell them, you have to get this done before you go out to recess, they will get it done. They will have wasted 50 minutes and get the whole thing done in five minutes because they want to go out Theresa.

Now there's a deadline, right. That they care about. And by the way, don't actually Kids miss recess. They don't know that. So that's one word that They just don't know about. Okay. So read the book for more, including how to leverage those strengths and a lot of stories of success. Obviously I left out all the stories that are included in the book,

which can be such beautiful things to read and really getting to know an individual person's story, how they struggled, how they found success. There's so many examples of successes in there. So I would encourage you to read the book and hear those stories of success and get some really strong tips on how to leverage those successes. Also, those strengths also take away,

look for, appreciate, and use these strengths. Find out where is your child. If you have a child to ADHD, or if you yourself have ADHD or both, which often happens, look for these strengths. Does my child have resilience? If not, how can I foster it? Is my child able to be cool in a crisis? If not,

how can I foster it or help that is my child able to hyper-focus when, especially when they're interested in something probably what are they interested in? How can I foster that more? How can I help build that more? I'm blinking on multitasking as much. How are we really good at multitasking? And as my child really good at making random connections in their brain,

seemingly random, which then can, can lead to very innovative problem solving. And we saw this in some of the studies about dyslexia. It's so fascinating to me, how much similarity there is because when they were talking about dyslexia, they were talking about how they often have difficulty rote memorizing something. So instead of rote memorizing something, they re problem solve constantly and come up with better ways to do the thing than the rope memory way.

And, and they understand it much better. And, and they're finding the same thing. The book even talks with the same types of stories with ADHD, where they can't remember, they can't memorize it, but they're able to work it through and be very successful. So looking for appreciating, using these strengths, bolstering these strengths, really helping our kids to be as successful as possible.

One thing that the book did talk about for ADHD is like keeping obviously focusing on what a kid is interested in, letting them have a lot of control over what they're studying, and also really paying attention to their time and how things should be scheduled for them. They may only be able to focus on one thing for 15 minutes and actually for younger kids,

that would probably be even less. And that's normal for a lot of kids actually, but it's especially, especially common for children, with ADHD, where you don't want to have an hour long class session, unless they're in a hyper-focus mode. And that's where being able to homeschool and, and just play it by ear and just change things at the drop of a hat can be really helpful instead of being like,

okay, 15 minutes for math is up, put it away. If they're like, if they're working on it, hands off, let it go. Don't worry about it. So there's different things to try them. Okay. Tell me your stories. I always want to hear what is working for you, what isn't working for you. What have you noticed?

Do you have ADHD? Does your child have ADHD? What strengths have you seen? What strengths are you fostering? How are you fostering them? I want to hear Kimberlynn@DecodingLearningDifferences.com. I will talk to you again next week.



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