Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Monday, August 12, 2013

My Answers To Common Misconceptions About ADHD

I have a T-shirt with this on it, but it is sort of too small
so I don't wear it all that much. 
 This was originally going to be titled "7 Things Not To Say To Someone With ADHD." But I was reading someone else's blog (I forget which one, or I would give them credit here) and they mentioned that they didn't like seeing articles with titles like that, because they preferred for people to say what they need to say, so that she could educate them. 
That makes sense to me. So, without further ado, here are 7 things that people have said to me about ADHD. I didn't necessarily give them these answers at the time (because you know how, you always think of the perfect comeback twenty minutes after the person is gone and its too late) but these are the answers I would like to give to anyone else who says these things in the future. Hopefully they will be of some help to you! 

1. I don't believe in ADHD! 
ADHD is not a religion or a moral code. It is a neurological condition! Saying "I don't believe in ADHD" is like saying, "I don't believe in asthma." Doesn't really make sense, does it?

2. You (or your child) can't have ADHD because you (or your child) are not hyperactive.
First of all, there are different types of ADHD. If someone has the inattentive type, their bodies may not seem "hyperactive," but their minds are definitely super active!
Second of all, what you see right now isn't how things always are. I (or my child) may seem calm, still, and in control right now... but you don't know how hard we are working to manage our ADHD, whether it is with medication, behavior management, meditation and yoga, or whatever. Third, I (or my child) may be having a great day, and you may be seeing us at our best, but that doesn't mean this is how life always is for us.

3. These days, everyone has ADHD! 
It may seem like it. About 2% to 4% of adults and 8% of children are diagnosed with ADHD. So, if you know 100 people, 4 of the adults and 8 of the children may have ADHD. But not everyone.

4. ADHD is just an excuse used by weak or lazy people who don't want to try as hard as the rest of us. 
For people who truly have ADHD, it is not an excuse, but an explanation. People who know they have ADHD and are being treated for it or working to manage it are often putting in double effort just to complete the things that are normally expected of them.

5. If you (or your kid) can spend five hours playing video games (or writing, drawing, caring for animals, working on cars, whatever they are passionate about) then why can't you (or your kid) clean your room (or finish homework, remember appointments, etc)???
Attention Deficit is not really a lack of attention, but a lack of being able to control what you pay attention to. Most people who don't have ADHD are able to pay attention to a boring or undesirable task long enough to finish it, and then go on to spend time doing something more desirable, for a regulated amount of time.  For a person with ADHD, if something is interesting, our minds get glued to it, but if something is boring, we cannot, for the life of us, focus on it.

6. You (or your kid) would not have ADHD if you just ate less sugar (drank less caffeine, got more exercise, took vitamins, got more discipline, etc)
There are many different possibilities for helping to manage ADHD, and you're right, each of these things you've mentioned can effect some people to some extent. But none of these, or even prescription medication, can make ADHD just go away.

7. I don't think its fair that people with ADHD get special privileges, like extra time on tests.
Didn't anyone ever tell you, life isn't fair? But really, those "privileges" are fair, because they allow people with ADHD and other conditions that effect learning, to be better able to perform at the same level as people without learning conditions.

If anyone has any other questions or comments about ADHD, leave them in the comments or on my Facebook page, and I will answer them in this blog! 


  1. Excellent!!! Every point you brought up was dead on. Before I started raising my Nephew I knew very little about ADHD or Aspergers, everything you wrote were things I once questioned. I get it all now, and I wish more people understood these things as well. Again, great post!

    1. Thanks! I think a lot of people question these things when they don't have any experience with ADHD. These are all things that have been said to me by others, and I hope more people will at least try to understand ADHD and Aspergers!

  2. I agree with you, there really are a lot of misconceptions about ADD and ADHD since both have symptoms of inattentiveness. But these symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on one's neurobiology and environment. No matter, what's important is, once determined, there is a higher chance to finding the right treatment to help anyone with these conditions cope. Thanks for sharing!

    Misty @


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