Trust me when I say, I know how hard ADHD can be. While my son was only recently diagnosed with ADHD, I had suspected it for quite some time. He exhibits many of the “tell-tale” behaviors associated with ADHD, specifically the inattentive type. His mind wanders. It’s like you can see it happening, the wheels always turning. For as long as I can remember, he has interrupted me during story time to ask things like “Why do you think the other person in the picture looks sad?”, or “I wonder where that road in the picture leads to.” If I’m being honest, there are times it drives me crazy. But then there are other times (usually when I’ve gotten enough sleep the night before) when I indulge him. I allow the segway to happen, and it always makes for a wonderful conversation.
It reminds me that he’s remarkably observant about details most of us would find inconsequential. He picks up on the subtleties of emotional interactions and cannot be fooled by insincerity and lack of transparency. And honestly, I think that’s part of why he (and undoubtedly many of his neurodivergent peers) “forget” or “don’t notice” all the other mundane things about everyday life. They have BIG thoughts going on in those brains. They are so busy noticing intricate processes, minute details, and the slightest of emotional shifts in human interactions that they sometimes forget to focus on what’s right in front of them. (This is especially true if what’s in front of them doesn’t seem entertaining to them). Nonetheless, you can call this ability to notice minuscule details their sixth sense. And don’t even get me started on their imaginations!
I purposefully limit screen time with my kids (for many reasons that could be a post entirely of their own), but it’s mostly because I want to stir their creativity. I have long felt boredom in kids can be a great thing, especially for kiddos with ADHD. The beautifully crazy things my son comes up with when he is “bored” are amazing. His art, make-believe, and stem exploration have left me speechless many times. While he is no Van Gogh or Steven Hawking, the way his little brain works simply amazes me. He has built bubble gum dispensers; created chain reactions with dominoes, straws, and Hot wheels; and set up the most elaborate “restaurants”, “vet clinics”, “doctor’s offices” and “science labs” I have ever seen. My favorite part of all this? He is so happy!
To watch him free to let his imagination and curiosity run wild is truly a gift. I love EVERY. SINGLE. THING. about his quirky little brain. I even love the hyper-fixations. You see, that’s one of the other beautiful things about ADHD…the ability to hyper-fixate. I have taught myself an incredible number of things during the hyper fixation stages. I have learned Spanish, how to refinish furniture, how to chalk draw incredibly detailed renditions of my kids’ favorite Disney characters, and PT school (that was my favorite). The human body is fascinating to me. You see when someone with ADHD becomes interested in something, and that topic is exciting to them, they will learn everything they possibly can about that topic. And even if they stop fixating on that topic, the information they have already gathered is burned in their brain. They will be like a walking encyclopedia about that topic, which often makes them excellent employees and/or entrepreneurs if they find what it is they enjoy.
They/we (myself included) simply see the world differently. We process interactions differently, learn, and sometimes express ourselves differently. Often the world may want to change us, or quiet our ever-churning brains that are like the internet super highway (multiple tabs open, and always on) so that we fit the square box that society has created. But when we are allowed to run free with our imagination and creativity, we can do amazing things! If we learn to embrace and love ourselves for exactly as we are (neurodivergent and all), we can accomplish anything we set out to do!