Recently, I asked followers of Raising the Blinds on Instagram to take a moment and leave a comment, answering the following question:
What talent does your child with ADHD possess…what strength?
Jinn shared that her child is extremely sociable and great at reading people. She also is a great singer.
Marie says her son loves challenges, and wins most of the time! He is very caring and protective of his little sister.
Nicole is proud of her son who can create anything with paper and sticks at the young age of 4.
Brook’s son has the highest grades in his class, despite needing to stand up to do his work and take extra breaks. ‘He has a brilliant mind,’ Brooke proudly stated.
Another mom loves her son’s love and patience for his dog, and ability to train their pet. He even hosts a pet therapy group once a week!
Another boy is a great artist, and fascinated with insects or animals.
A mom’s 12-year-old daughter can write great fictional stories and is artistic. Her 10-year-old son has a good eye for detail and is great at designing. And her other son (7) is artistic and creative like his big sister. He also has a great appreciation for nature. And her youngest daughter has a great imagination and thrives on storytelling. (All four kids have ADHD.)
Another was great at photography, another child excels in vocabulary, another is good at math and building Lego’s.
You get the idea.
Kids who have ADHD often receive, and expect, criticism. They are usually the kid in class who is blamed when things go missing or students need a scapegoat. They are nagged by teachers and their parents to stop misbehaving on a nearly daily basis, and it happens so often that their internal voice begins to tell themselves they are failures. Confidence wanes. We have to look for the good behavior or an area where they shine.
When we focus on what children with ADHD do WELL, we’re doing our kids a favor. It boosts confidence and reinforces good behavior, allowing kids to hyperfocus on subjects they find interesting. Finding our children’s hidden talents and capitalizing on them is a win-win for both you and your child. Help them gain independence when they can show you a thing or two and watch them soar.
Turn a negative in to a positive.
Our youngest son depends on his iPad more than I care to admit. He grabs it every morning and asks Siri for the latest NBA scores, player trades, schedules, etc. He also keeps track of NFL news, college sports statistics, and ESPN’s signature alert sounder goes off nearly every 10 minutes. (Dun Dun Dun, Dun Dun Dun) Yet, he impresses even adults with his collection of info he has ‘stored’ in his 12-year-old brain. He knows every mascot of every team, and his ability to memorize and communicate is amazing.
He wants to be a sports announcer.
Our oldest son usually needs a jump start on his homework. He sits down, looks at the instructions and is overwhelmed within minutes with no idea where to start. I often show him how to break the large assignment into tiny parts. Once it’s broken up in to sections, he can tackle each part and take small breaks in between to get up and move around. However, hand him anything that requires instructions for assembly (think IKEA furniture or a 4,000 piece Lego Landmark series) and he barely needs the step-by-step directions. He can hone in and master the project until it is completed in no time.
He wants to be an architect.
Our kids are so much more than their ADHD. Their brains are constantly changing channels, moving on to the next most interesting thing to come along. Some describe it as having 5 people try to talk to you at once, but trying to focus on just one conversation. These are kids who are usually 3 steps ahead of us in conversation yet think outside the box. They may be hyperactive, but they are also some of the most creative individuals who just happen to be in a hurry to see the world.
Need examples of others in a hurry to see…and conquer…the world?
Justin Timberlake, a Grammy-winning performer who says he is treated for ADHD and OCD.
“If you’re a young person being called weird or different, I’m here to tell you that your critics do not count. Their words will fade. You will not.”
Ty Pennington, known for his role on Extreme Makeover. (His mother says the very traits that once held him back as a child are what make him successful today. She encourages parents to focus on what your children CAN do.)
Michael Phelps, Olympic gold-medalist. (His mother says swimming helped him focus.)
Adam Levine, performer and judge on the Voice.
Shane Victorino, Major League Baseball player, who says he was hot-headed as a child.
Simone Biles, Olympic gold-medalist.
“Having ADHD, and taking medicine for it is nothing to be ashamed of; nothing that I’m afraid to let people know.”
These are just a few celebrities who have managed to look past their differences and develop their talent from hidden interests inside. Those strengths are there for your children as well. Some may need to be uncovered, or require a little digging. Here are some examples:
Does your child show an interest in listening to the radio and singing along in the car? How about guitar lessons or signing them up for choir?
Does your son or daughter carry a soft spot for pets or animals? Consider helping them print flyers to do some pet-sitting or walking a neighbor’s dog when they need to travel.
Does your child love to doodle or draw or take photographs? Check out the free app called Canva where they can create (‘publish’) their very own book of drawings or candid photos.
Open the door to get your child started and see where it leads them. More importantly, focusing on their strengths will boost their confidence, independence and give them an area to shine. Help them on their journey.
Our kids are going places.