Welcome back to our blog series on highlighting the strengths of students with learning disabilities! Last week, we explored the strengths and abilities of students who experience anxiety. If you want to refer back to Part 1, click here! This week we will focus on students with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is characterized by a shortened attention span, impulse control, and hyperactivity. While ADHD can present challenges that affect major aspects of life, such as academics, students with ADHD often possess a unique set of strengths and abilities that they can use to their advantage, inside the classroom and out. Let’s take a closer look at the unique characteristics of ADHD and learn about ways to highlight the strengths of students who experience it!
Strengths of Students with ADHD
Hyperfocus: While it may seem counterintuitive, students with ADHD can sometimes experience a state of hyperfocus, where they become intensely engaged in a task that captures their interest. During these periods, they can demonstrate exceptional concentration and productivity.
Energetic and enthusiastic: ADHD students often bring a contagious energy and enthusiasm to activities. Their excitement can be motivating to others and can lead to heightened engagement in group activities.
Creativity: Many students with ADHD have highly creative minds. They often excel in creative arts, problem-solving, and innovative thinking, as their brains are wired to think outside the box.
Adaptability: ADHD individuals tend to be highly adaptable. They can quickly adjust to changing circumstances and are often unafraid of trying new approaches to problem-solving.
Multitasking: While multitasking can be challenging for many people, some individuals with ADHD are adept at juggling multiple tasks and responsibilities simultaneously. This skill can be beneficial in fast-paced environments.
Spontaneity: ADHD individuals are often spontaneous and open to new experiences. Their willingness to try new things can lead to a variety of life experiences.
Big-picture thinking: Many individuals with ADHD excel at seeing the big picture and making connections between seemingly unrelated ideas or concepts. This can be a valuable asset in planning projects, creative endeavors, and connecting different subject matters.
Resilience: Living with ADHD can foster resilience with help and support. They can learn to change their setbacks into growth opportunities. These individuals often learn to adapt, persevere through challenges, and bounce back from setbacks.
Compassion and empathy: Some individuals with ADHD develop heightened levels of compassion and empathy for others who face challenges or differences. They can understand how it is to face a challenge or struggle with differences so they are able to support others during these struggles. They can be understanding and supportive friends, colleagues, and community members.
There are many strategies and accommodations that can help individuals with ADHD harness their strengths while managing their challenges effectively. The ADHD Foundation has compiled this informational pamphlet with helpful information and resources. Given the right support, individuals with ADHD can excel academically and in many aspects of their lives.
Tiffany Verhoosel is currently a Computer Science teacher in the Baltimore City School District. Coming from a background of business she joined the Baltimore City Teaching Residency over ten years ago to make the career change into education and has never looked back. Her degree from Johns Hopkins, a Master of Science in Digital Age Learning and Educational Technology, helped propel her from Special Educator to her current teaching position where she teaches Kindergarten to eighth grade students how to code.