ADHD is a myth

Dear Coach,

I’m tired of the ADHD label.  Hyperactivity just means you have an active brain.  It’s not a sickness.  I’m fed up with being called sick when I know I’m extraordinary.  I say ADHD is a myth that bad parents use to excuse themselves from trying harder to provide their children with enough stimulation.

Sincerely, Joan

Editor’s note:  Responding this month is our Executive Director, Robert Tudisco.  As you probably already know, Robert is quite extraordinary.  In addition to being our Executive Director, he also maintains a law practice specializing in disability rights, runs marathons, and also just happens to have ADHD.

Dear Joan,

In response to your comment about hyperactivity, I don’t necessarily disagree with you.  Hyperactivity in and of itself is not a bad thing.  In fact many individuals with ADHD, like myself, are kinesthetic processors, which means we need to move in order to think.  I, myself, fall into this category and I use running as a means to process information.  The problem lies in the chronic nature of the condition and its severity.  While many students need to move in order to think, in some settings it can be disruptive, depending on how and where it manifests.

Hyperactivity is only one symptom of this neuro-biological condition and is not present in all people diagnosed with ADHD. (The diagnosis for the condition without hyperactivity is often referred to as ADD, or AD/HD inattentive type.)  And in many cases some of the hyperactivity decreases after puberty.  ADHD is a very real medical condition, not a sickness, that affects the portion of the brain that regulates executive functioning which controls prioritization, time perception, impulse control, organization etc. While I agree that those with ADHD have many talents, they also have very real challenges that they face on a daily basis.

From personal experience, I can tell you that the diagnosis is not a label, but a relief to understand that there is a reason for the difficulties and challenges we face on a daily basis and ways to develop our talents and learn to navigate around our weaknesses.

It is also important to understand that ADHD is an inherited genetic condition and is not caused by bad parenting.  However the way that someone parents a child with ADHD matters a great deal.  It is important for parents to educate themselves, not just on the term, but to understand what it means and more importantly, how it manifests itself in their child in order to provide the type of structure, support and accountability that their child needs.

Was this post helpful?  If so you might be interested in these other answers in our Ask the Coach series.  Or ask your own question in the comments, and we’ll do our best to answer it!

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2 Responses

  1. diggitydawg

    What makes you think adhd is a myth, have you even asked anyone with adhd there opinion, garantee you anyone who has adhd will say it isn’t a myth don’t post your ignorant remarks and uneducated opinions u fool, ur just putting oil on the media fire some people kust don’t believe in mental health issues they simply don’t understand that the brain an organ of the body may not function properly and the mind a product of the brain is obviously effected. Do you not think people with the condition will be deeply insulted that your ignorant opinions are a slap in the face to their daily struggles from a mind that is in constant turmoil

    • Peggy

      Dear Diggity 🙂
      We share your opinion that ADHD isn’t a myth. In fact we have written a number of articles arguing that the “anti-ADHD” community is wrong. I hope you will read through our blog to see that we are strong supporters of ADHD. Perhaps the best way to show you how we feel is this poem by our Executive Director, Robert Tudisco. Rob was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult and has been a tireless advocate on behalf of those with ADHD. Hope you like it.

      The Wonderfulness of Me
      If you took all of the things that were special about me,
      you could put them all together and call it AD/HD.
      No better, no worse, just different that’s me,
      I’m really not crazy, please try and see.
      Like a talented wizard in a world full of “Muggles”,
      its no wonder all you see is frustration and struggles.
      As I daydream and drift, you think no one’s there,
      but nothing could be further from the truth, believe me, I swear.
      I see your impatience as my mind starts to wander
      But, you don’t know the depth of the thoughts that I ponder.
      For creative thinkers, get lost in deep thought,
      which leads to the illusion that they cannot be taught.
      I know trying to reach me can give you the blues,
      but I wish for just once, you could walk in my shoes.
      To see things through my eyes, you would be amazed,
      at the speed and sheer volume my thoughts seem to blaze.
      I’m not lazy or stupid, if only you knew,
      how truly difficult it is to limit myself and think like you do.
      But, I can see things that you’ll never see,
      its like second nature, because I am me.
      With lightning fast reflexes, I can switch gears,
      to be firm and inflexible is the worst of my fears.
      I’m calm in a crisis and know just what to do,
      For I’m in great company, Mozart , Edison and Churchill to name just a few.
      So show me some patience, as I’m patient with you.
      Just a little tolerance, it’s long overdue.
      Please try and understand me, along with my AD/HD,
      It’s a very big part of the wonderfulness of me.