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Researching ADHD Strengths: Four Areas We Excel

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

I said I'd be back in 2021, but I couldn't resist posting one more article to thank everyone who's supported me this year. I've read and appreciated every like and comment 😊

To show my appreciation, here's an article that will hopefully leave you feeling warm and fuzzy. Whether you're spending the holidays with people who accept your ADHD or you're feeling unappreciated and unsupported, remember that you have unique strengths. In fact, research indicates a number of those strengths may be related to your ADHD.

So today, let's take a step away from focusing on improvement and appreciate what makes us ADHDer's pretty awesome 😊

1. We're original thinkers

There's evidence to indicate ADHD people think of more innovative ideas than neurotypicals (Lee et al., 2020). For example, Abraham and colleagues (2006) found adolescents with ADHD received higher scores than their peers when asked to develop original toy designs. Similarly, students with ADHD outperformed neurotypical students when competing to generate original ideas, while ADHD children without medication outperformed their peers in open-ended creative thinking tests. (Boot et al., 2020; Ten et al., 2020).

2. We're creative

People with ADHD were also observed to be more creative and have more creative achievements than neurotypicals (Boot et al., 2017, 2020; Lee et al., 2020; Ten et al., 2020; White & Shah, 2006). One study found this was especially the case for performance arena's such as music or acting, as well as in science and mechanics (Boot et al., 2017). Being able to hyperfocus on interests allows us to build up the knowledge of subjects that can support developing creativity. What do you do that you could classify as creative? It doesn't have to be artistic; it could be anything from baking to business development.

3. We're open-minded

Several studies discussed the open nature of those with ADHD (Abraham et al., 2006; Boot et al., 2017; Healey, 2005; Sedgwick et al., 2019). We can be less quick to dismiss new idea's and more willing to try new experiences. This interest in what's novel means we tend to be at the forefront of ideas and movements. Is there an area where this has been true for you?

4. We're problem solvers. When you combine creativity, open-mindedness and a tendency to develop new ideas, you have someone who has the potential to be an excellent problem-solver. According to research, that's exactly what those with ADHD can be (Healey, 2005). Whether it's in the workplace or around the house, we can come up with unique solutions to solve problems for ourselves and others. Think back through the past year, or ask a friend or partner. What problems have you solved? Do you have any you'd like to solve in 2021? You might be uniquely suited to do so.

Hopefully, this post has helped you better understand your strengths and identify areas where you use ADHD to your advantage. The benefits of ADHD is still a growing area of research which needs more focus. But it's good to see our differences starting to be celebrated.

Thanks so much for your support this year. Happy holidays and I'll write again in the new year. If you'd like to follow my research, you can join our Facebook community here or follow me on Instagram here.

Talk soon.


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Abraham, A., Windmann, S., Siefen, R., Daum, I., & Güntürkün, O. (2006). Creative Thinking in Adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Child Neuropsychology, 12(2), 111–123.

Boot, N., Nevicka, B., & Baas, M. (2017). Subclinical symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are associated with specific creative processes. Personality and Individual Differences, 114, 73–81.

Boot, N., Nevicka, B., & Baas, M. (2020). Creativity in ADHD: Goal-Directed Motivation and Domain Specificity. Journal of Attention Disorders, 24(13), 1857–1866.

Healey, D. (2005). Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and creativity: An investigation into their relationship.

Lee, J. W., Seo, K., & Bahn, G. H. (2020). The Positive Aspects of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder among Famous People. Psychiatry Investigation, 17(5), 424–431.

Sedgwick, J. A., Merwood, A., & Asherson, P. (2019). The positive aspects of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: A qualitative investigation of successful adults with ADHD. ADHD Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders, 11(3), 241–253.

Ten, W., Tseng, C.-C., Chiang, Y.-S., Wu, C.-L., & Chen, H.-C. (2020). Creativity in children with ADHD: Effects of medication and comparisons with normal peers. Psychiatry Research, 284, 112680.

White, H. A., & Shah, P. (2006). Uninhibited imaginations: Creativity in adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Personality and Individual Differences, 40(6), 1121–1131.

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