Positives of ADHD

We always notice the parts that hurt - in the same way we concentrate upon the challenges and pain of ADHD, but fail to see the gifts it brings.

Recognising and building on the strengths of ADHD helps secure a happier and more fulfilling future for all. People with ADHD can be:

curious - quick witted - thinkers - aware of surroundings - independent - assertive - energetic - mediators - strong willed - comic-timing - intuitive - bright - brave - enthusiastic - impulsive - fearless - sensitive - cute - determined - sharp - intelligent - high achievers - doing many things at once - inspiring - creative - opinionated - fascinating - critical - challenging - flexible - imaginative - inquisitive - funny - questioning - bright - laid back - loads of energy - original thinkers - spokespersons - result orientated - single minded - self reliant - great leaders - courageous

Be aware of and work on improving areas of difficulty ....
but build your career on your strengths and SUCCEED!!!

My own story:
When I look at my son, I’m proud … he is happily married, has a good job and respected in the community. Sometimes I think he does too much, but that’s probably the only indication of ADHD which can be detected by people who knew him when he was younger.

I must admit that it wasn’t that easy. My lively and excitable little boy had a real zest for living and I couldn’t keep up with him. Nor did I know how to deal with this powerful personality. I remember one day deciding that I had a lot to learn and had better learn it fast so I could stay one step ahead of him. Trouble is that in those days there was very little info available about ADHD.

I remember that spending a lot of time crying. If not crying I was either shouting or, dare I admit it, spanking him! Thankfully it didn’t take me long to realise that wasn’t doing any good and that, if anything I was teaching my child that physical abuse was the answer to difficult situations. So I stopped that and looked for other ways of handling my children. I wasn’t perfect but we were soon in a much better place.

Alarm bells rang when my son was the only child in grade one without a reading book. All the other kids were reading, but not mine. My enquiries led me to a remedial school where he was assessed and pronounced ADHD, as it is now known. Soon we were taking him to remedial classes twice a week, but one day the remedial therapist collared me and pointed out that without medication they couldn’t teach my boy to read.

My family doctor advised against it but, reluctantly, I took my son to a doctor on the East Rand where Ritalin was prescribed. We were shocked to see this outgoing little boy fade into a zombie-like state in which he was extremely well behaved, his manners were perfect but it was as if he had lost the essence of who he was. Admittedly over the next few weeks he learnt to read, but we were not prepared to live with an empty shell that had once been an inquisitive, explorative and vibrant child.

Trying different medications didn’t help either – so we chose to struggle along without any medication. It wasn’t easy … he couldn’t sit still, concentration was non–existent, handwriting appalling, spelling a disaster, social interaction very difficult. He could also be aggressive and confrontational – something his teachers didn’t appreciate. And then there was the twitching – uncovered by the medication and it didn’t stop when drug therapy was abandoned.

In the eighties no-one knew much about ADHD. Although my son had been diagnosed with ADHD, it was just a name to me. I didn’t realise the extent to which it affected him, nor that it had anything to do with difficult behaviour, not sitting still etc. If only I knew then what I know now, my children would have had a much easier childhood because with understanding I could have avoided so many of the situations that arose.

The turning point in our lives was when, for health reasons, we took out all synthetic colourants, synthetic flavourants and synthetic anti-oxidant preservatives from his diet. Virtually overnight we had a different child who was asking questions about paragraphs, punctuation and inverted commas which years of remedial lessons hadn’t been able to teach. His spelling improved dramatically and his Biology marks shot up from 20% to 70%. I then read about vitamins and minerals, and a visit to a very special dietitian yielded even greater results. The twitching also became a thing of the past. She was definitely ahead of her time as she tightened up even further on the healthier eating I had introduced, and added essential fatty acids as well as the vitamins and minerals he needed.

I shed tears of joy the day he shared that he couldn’t keep up with all the invitations he was getting to visit/play at his classmates’ homes. What a change.

It wasn’t long before people were coming to me for advice to help their children, and those were the early beginnings of the ADHD support group, ADHASA. Obviously there was a need as we’ve always been busy … helping people with ADHD.

There is so much information about ADHD available today, yet there are still many thousands of families living with the most terrible stress simply because they don’t recognise or understand the condition. Nor do they have the solutions that can make their lives so much easier.

ADHASA was founded on the basis of healthy eating but we have learnt that there is so much more that can be done. We look at stress, exercise, sleep, and in fact try to see the child in his environment. Often small adjustments in the child’s life, or to the environment, can go a long way to reducing symptoms and make life easier for all.

I’m not going to pretend that we never had another problem because there were obstacles and upheaval – but these things happen in any life. The most important thing is that we can do is give our children the love, support, and build their self esteem so that they can confidently face and overcome the challenges they meet.


People with ADHD usually have to work harder to achieve - in the process they often develop tenacity which helps them push through barriers and succeed when others have given up.

People with ADHD are often the movers, the shakers, and the leaders of this world - they take us into the future.

The most important thing in the life of a child with ADHD is to have someone who believes in him, and that he can be a success. Be that person for your child!