You probably already know that ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and you've probably heard all about the challenges related to ADHD. What you may not know is that ADHD is also associated with certain strengths that you can leverage for success. Some of the common strengths associated with ADHD are creativity, problem-solving, risk-taking, and an ability to hyperfocus.
Screening Tools and Self-Assessment
Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale Symptom Checklist:ADHD - The Symptom Checklist is a self-reporting scale system consisting of the eighteen DSM-IV-TR criteria.
Wender Utah Rating Scale for the ADHD - Checklist to identify ADHD characteristics by using childhood as the main perspective to answer questions with.
ADHD Test (Self-Assessment) - Quick self-reflection test to see if you have symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by comparing your experiences to those with ADD/ADHD.
Mental Health Screenings (Variety) - eMentalHealth.ca - Offers a wide variety of clinically validated screening questionnaires to identify mental health issues.
Organizations and Resources
Understood - An organization dedicated to helping people who think and learn differently discover their potential.
CHADD Adults Diagnosis Information - Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) extensive information on diagnosing ADHD for adults.
CHADD Adult Support Online Community - CHADD's Adult ADHD Support Group on HealthUnlocked.
CHADD Online Learning Options for ADHD Training and Support for Adults - Free online modules for learning more about ADHD and how to live with it as an adult.
The Adult ADHD Starter Kit - Provided by Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA), those who sign up will receive various online materials to enhance the lives of adults dealing with ADHD.
ADHD Awareness Website - This website debunks ADHD myths using research-based articles.
Resources for Adults With Learning Disabilities & ADHD - This website offers a list of various resources and contact information to support individuals with learning disabilities and ADHD.
From Scientific Literature
Below, you will find some summaries of literature articles we have hand-selected for you. These articles tend to focus more on strengths rather than weaknesses, which aligns with the main focus of our work: highlighting the strengths that neurodiverse individuals possess while also acknowledging the significant challenges they face at times.
Major Observations from a Specialized REU Program for Engineering Students with ADHD
Esmaili Zaghi, A., & Tehranipoor, M., & O'Brien, C. N. (2016, June), Major Observations from a Specialized REU Program for Engineering Students with ADHD Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25588
Most of the available research related to ADHD focuses on struggles, but fortunately this has been changing. We now have access to more research, including case studies, that allow us to learn more about the strengths of those with ADHD. Many of these studies suggest that students with ADHD have the potential to be more creative than their neurotypical peers. This is due to their spontaneity and divergent thinking which makes them more prone to take risks. These strengths along with the ability to think outside the box allows them to think of unexpected solutions to complex problems. It is suggested that historically significant figures who made remarkable and creative contributions may have had ADHD. Considering that the advancement of society depends on the efforts and discoveries of engineers and researchers, it would be highly beneficial to increase the representation of individuals with these exceptional capabilities in the fields of engineering and research.
However, there is a problem. People with ADHD often struggle in traditional educational environments thus having a large difference in graduation rate, with 9.1% for people with ADHD versus 60.6% for others. Students with ADHD represent a small percentage of all engineering students and this is not related to their IQ. There have been studies in which students with ADHD have been exposed to hands-on research lab activities, in which they were engaged and made significant contributions. It is important to note that the strengths of students with ADHD are often overlooked, particularly in engineering. However, those with ADHD can help societies advance through the contributions they can make with their creativity and spontaneity. It's not a coincidence that the definitions of creativity and ADHD share similarities.
Unique Potential and Challenges of Students with ADHD in Engineering Programs
Esmaili Zaghi, A., & Reis, S. M., & Renzulli, J. S., & Kaufman, J. C. (2016, June), Unique Potential and Challenges of Students with ADHD in Engineering Programs Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27107
In this study, the investigators attempt to understand the creative potential and struggles of engineering students with ADHD. They designed a survey to learn more about the learning style, the creativity of the programs, and the struggles of the participants. The relevant literature suggests that individuals with ADHD have the potential to be more creative than their peers and have other characteristics including sensation and stimulation seeking, greater use of imagery, and risk-taking behaviors. This research not only supports the idea that those with ADHD perform better in certain areas that involve creativity but also examines the real-world creative achievements of adults. It was found that with a higher level of behaviors linked to ADHD, people are more likely to have entrepreneurial intentions. Risk-taking is, of course, a significant contributor for this to happen. It seems like there is an inverse relationship between working memory and creativity, and this could be due to cognitive strengths that people with ADHD may have. Although some studies have concluded that there is not a significant difference in creativity between those who have ADHD and those who don’t, the research carried out is still enough and more must be done.