There has been plenty written about the “disorder” aspects of ADHD – problems with attention, focus, impulsivity and executive function skills in general. But having ADHD can bring with it what Rick Green at Totally ADD calls “super powers.” These include:
Handling crises well – Green cites research that those with ADHD having more theta brain waves. These are the signals produced by the brain as it goes into sleep mode. Generally a crisis will snap those without ADHD into a brain overload condition. But the ADHD brain instead moves to a more normal mode. Thus, when others are in crisis, those with ADHD can be cool, calm and under control.
Creativity – Again Green cites studies that indicate a higher propensity for creativity and innovation among those with ADHD. Researchers suggest that the higher presence of theta waves in the ADHD brain, in a state of relaxation, makes the subconscious mind more accessible, along with high creativity and insight.
Strong intuition – Normal brains perform a great job of filtering sensory information. This helps improve our personal signal to noise ratio and make sense of the world. The ADHD brain can be overwhelmed with sensory information and struggle with executive functioning tasks that help manage the overload. But those with ADHD are often able to notice things that others naturally filter out. Which is why many of them will swear they are intuitive, almost psychic, at picking up certain things. They are, in fact, detecting many things others will miss
Quick study – Someone with ADHD, who is interested in something and motivated to learn about it, will often be a quicker study – shunning procedure, protocol and systems that don’t seem to work. In these circumstances, they can be less risk averse and less resistant to change.
Hyper focus – When engaged in something they like, those with ADHD can demonstrate a powerful ability to focus and avoid distraction. This runs counter to the usual stereotype of the easily distracted ADHD brain.
ADHD has well documented downsides and disadvantages. But research studies seem to confirm that there is another side to the condition. It can bring with it, under the right circumstances, an ability to perform at extraordinary levels.