Guest Expert

Celebrate the Positive Qualities of ADHD

Laurie Dupar

Life with ADHD is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week-adventure!!

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with ADHD, then you know how tempting it is to focus on the “negative aspects and problems” of ADHD. Rarely are the strengths or positive qualities of ADHD appreciated, much less celebrated!!

But the amazing attributes of ADHD are our assets – they are the personal talents, the strengths, the genius of ADHD that enrich our world. They include:

  • Out-of-the-box-thinking
  • Creativity
  • Innovative thinking
  • Humor
  • Musical intuition
  • Perseverance
  • Adventure
  • Intelligence
  • Charm
  • Great problem solving skills
  • Willingness to take risks
  • Curiosity
  • Imagination
  • Tenacity
  • Resilience

...and so much more!

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Putting The Genius of ADHD to the Test


“The most successful people are those who are good at Plan B.” ~James Yorke

Innovation is about using or showing new methods or ideas. People with ADHD are definitely “innovative!” I will never forget the ingenuity of one of my favorite students for how he used to get out of bed and to class in the mornings!

Like many people in college, waking up and getting out of bed for morning classes was a nightmare. Setting alarms often failed. Having someone physically shake him out of bed was never a sure thing. So to make sure he got out of bed and didn't miss any of his morning classes, he started his routine the night before. Each night as he was getting ready for bed, he would prepare the coffee to automatically go off in the morning, and then set the alarm by his bed. Since an alarm by his bed would seldom be enough to get him on his feet, he set the timer on the coffee pot to go off exactly five minutes after his alarm. His fail-proof innovation the smell of coffee, you're thinking? Nope.

When he made the coffee the night before, he made sure that the coffee carafe was NOT under the coffee maker! If he didn't get up shortly after his bedside alarm went off, the morning coffee would end up all over the floor! According to him it never failed. Now, that's innovative!


“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” ~ Andre Gide

In general, adventurers are in their element when they are discovering something new or experiencing something different. When my son with ADHD was young, he was always the one who had to be out front when we were hiking along the trail, or the first to wade outside of the “safe” zone into unexplored waters in Australia when everyone else noticed the “beware of blue bottle jelly fish” warning sign. He was also the first to try things like sushi, enjoy the treasures of rock hunting and sign up for the Navy to “see the world.”

I am not surprised that adventurous people such as Columbus, Lewis & Clark and other explorers are now thought to have had an ADHD brain style. Who else but a person with ADHD would embark on an adventure where the end result is uncertain, much less dangerous? The risk of death was high and each day unpredictable, with possibilities of falling off the edges of the world, encountering strange beasts and never returning to your homeland and loved ones. The adventurous spirit knows that with great risk comes great reward. People with ADHD are almost always at the front of the line when it comes to seeing adventure as a great opportunity, when it might leave others dead in their tracks.


“There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence transform a yellow spot into the sun.” ~ Pablo Picasso

A third favorite positive ADHD quality of mine is intelligence. Statistically, most people with ADHD have a higher than average IQ.

Since this innate intelligence does not always perform well on standardized tests or in traditional academic structures, this intelligence is often overlooked or missed entirely. The intelligence of a person with ADHD generally cannot be measured by a GPA, standardized test scores, whether homework is turned in, or by academic standing. Rather, persons with ADHD show their intelligence in such areas as:

  • An aptitude in math, English, writing, sports, computers, performing or visual arts, nature, etc.
  • Creative and productive thinking that generates new ideas, solutions and inventions
  • A great sense of humor that makes connections to ideas or concepts others miss
  • The ability to become submerged (hyper focused) on a task seen as interesting
  • An innate sense of curiosity

It's important to remember to include these other areas of intelligence when judging the “potential” of people with ADHD.

Everyone's brain is different. So, too, is every ADHD brain. We all have gifts and talents that look different…and that is a good thing. When we can appreciate the awesome ADHD qualities in ourselves, and honor these strengths in others, that will bring happiness … and success!

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