Why does this dual certified teacher and in home tutor in Honolulu Hawaii think his ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, is a superpower and not a disability?
I didn't know my ADHD was a superpower and not a disability until I taught math for two years in a middle school. My ADHD students and my other students with behavior challenges were doing better in my class than in other classes. I didn't know my students were doing better until I spoke to other teachers. It also seems they were behaving better in my class on the average compared to other classes.
The First Thing I Tell My ADHD Students and In Home Tutoring Students...
"Once you learn how to use your ADHD you will become unstoppable in anything you want to do."
What Are Some of Our Gifts/Benefits/Superpowers from ADHD Rick?
The Average Person Has Two or Three Ideas Flying Through His/Her Head While We Have Four or Five
This takes practice to use these thoughts. I've personally used this benefit of ADHD in all parts of my life
I still shut down myself once in a while when all four or five projects I'm working on are seem equally important. You just have to pick one. Which leads to the next benefit of ADHD....
Which I Call Laser Focusing
Laser focusing is when people with ADHD focus on a project or something we enjoy doing. Nothing exists but what we're working on. Hours could go by. I only come out of it sometimes because I realize I'm thirsty or hungry. If there's something we enjoy, we get "scary good" at it.
Personally I used to avoid this feeling so I would stay away from projects, writing articles or writing ebooks which I knew would cause this feeling. Then one day a fellow business person said,
"If you know that happens why not embrace it?"
So I did and it changed the way I work on everything. Now laser focusing is added to the repertoire of benefits and superpowers given to us by ADHD. Be aware I am seeing the word hyper-focus used in some material. It means the same thing.
An Enhanced Ability to See Patterns is Another ADHD Superpower
We notice little things normal people do not. When I realized our ability to see patterns, I used it to remember when my wife's birthday was. Funny, even though I taught math for two years and still in home and remote tutor it today, I still have a hard time remembering numbers. Once I realized our enhanced ability to see patterns was one of our superpowers for ADHD, I used it to memorize license plates and all types of things. When I tell normal people the pattern to remember my wife's birthday for example, they just look at me confused. They think it's easier to remember the number.
I love playing chess. When I'm laser-focused on the game I can see potential patterns of attack. One of my favorite strategies is to completely frustrate my opponent by making it impossible to continue with his/her attack plan. When the laser-focus kicks in I can beat players ranked higher than I am in chess. On the other hand I remember being beaten by a player who had only been playing a few months. Turns out during our discussion he was ADHD and an engineer. Engineers are already brilliant at planning and outcomes. Add ADHD to that and you have a person scary good and anything he/she enjoys.
The Ability to See More Detail
Which, I believe, is related to our ability to see more patterns. Those with the gift of the ADHD superpower can see more detail faster in a given situation. For example, I have a highly intelligent friend who was into seeing numbers and colors in images. I pointed out to him to look for the numbers inside the images as well.
Some of my most creative students have the superpower ADHD, especially when given a goal-oriented task.
Outside The Box Solutions
No one ever accused me of solving computer issues with inside the box traditional thinking. I have an onsite computer client who manages a condo in Waikiki. Microsoft's updates got so bad he wouldn't even be able to use his printer until I did updates. Then the "updates" began crashing his system. Have you heard my conspiracy theory about bad Microsoft updates for Windows 10 since Windows 11 being released soon?
I solved the problem by getting rid of Windows 10 all together and installing Linux Mint which I highly recommend. A more secure, faster and easier to use computer operating system compared to Windows 10.
Conversational Skills and Humanity
I've always attributed my ability to start and keep a conversation going with my sales experience and training which I turned into a lucrative business by tweaking sales pages and ad copy and the fact that I actually cared when I said, "How are you?"
Yet a study demonstrates that people with ADHD may have higher levels of social intelligence, humor, and recognition of feeling, or empathy. Study participants recognized their own ability to have a more positive mental approach, and in turn, more “social success.”
Spontaneity and Courage
I've always attributed my wanting to face my fears with my martial arts background. Which helped me to learn to control and use my ADHD.
However, I do tend to jump into things without a lot of long-term planning. My wife is great at long-term planning. Her superpower is putting up with me.
Research indicates that this spontaneity can often lead people with ADHD to seek out thrill and adventure, with the added courage they gain from that spontaneity.
Those of us with the superpower of ADHD are called hyperactive. It is Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder after all. While most people think of this negatively in terms of disruption to classmates or work colleagues, hyperactivity means that those of us with ADHD are excellent at sports and other physical activities. I played tennis in high school and boxed along with my martial arts training. This "extra" energy can be utilized when one learns how to use it to improve the quality of life in all areas.
As the only in home tutor I know of with ADHD specializing in students with ADHD here in Honolulu Hawaii covering all of Oahu and remotely for the U.S.A., I felt a positive spin on our gift and superpower was needed. Parents and children, embrace your gifts. I'm sure when Spider-man first got his powers he had to learn to use them, you'll learn to use your powers as well - and become unstoppable.
J. Richard Kirkham B.Sc.
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