Motivational and inspirational writer, Bryan Hutchinson is the author of several books about life with ADHD including the highly acclaimed, best selling "One Boy′s Struggle: A Memoir" and the author of the hilarious eBook that went viral "10 Things I Hate about ADHD"

Hyper focusing is the most profound advantage of ADD ADHD

under the hood! Hyper Focusing! In my last article I presented my thoughts on why we miss subtle human communication cues and promised to talk about why we are so wickedly intelligent, intuitive and just understand certain things in an astonishingly perceptive way.  I don’t claim to be a scientist or a doctor of any sort, but from experience and a bit of research the answers seem obvious to me: Our ability to hyper focus gives us a profound advantage over those without ADD ADHD…

During the time that we are not paying attention to subtle cues from our counterparts, friends, teachers and even parents—what pray tell are we doing? Well, for one, we are distracted, but, what is distracting us?  What could a young, little toddler possibly be dreaming of? Some say children learn from the world around them and take in everything. However, for Adder children that statement is underestimated and too wide-ranging. An Adder’s mind never stops thinking, considering, registering and contemplating. We learn from the world around us, but what we observe and consciously use depends on what is of interest to us. If observing our parents expressions towards us is not interesting enough, then we don’t focus on that and we focus on something else. Yes, we take in the expressions and can understand them on a basic level, but if that is not our focus we will not register the expressions at the upper conscious level of our minds.  It’s that simple and it can’t be forced, but a parent can redirect the child’s focus (that’s another article).

It is not possible to assume what a child with ADD ADHD will focus on; however, in my experience I have noticed that many Adders are very aware of human communications, overt and subtle, when it comes to interactions of those around them. What I mean is Adders are extremely aware of the interactions of others when it is not directly related to them. Most of us are the world’s best observers. We are watchers and we hyper focus on others with total disregard of self. Instead of a small child paying attention to a parent’s expressions towards him or herself the child pays more attention to parents’ interaction with each other, siblings and others. We become very good at predicting how people will react to others even though we cannot always predict how those same people will react to us. It is almost as though we are in 3rd person and have difficulty switching back to 1st person. This might explain why Adder’s can become great consultants or even therapists for others, but have difficulty following the same advice for self.

Adder children hyper focus on things that catch their attention and when that hyper focusing starts it is very difficult to stop. The hyper focus can turn on to most anything and that same intense focus on whatever can follow the child to school, to the play ground and to bed in the form of day dreams. The best way for a parent to find out what a child is focusing on, is for the parent to pay attention to the child’s behavior and most importantly, the child’s questions. A child’s questions can give a parent an indicator of what the child is thinking about and the amazing thing is, many Adder children ask questions that range from very basic to very complex and parent’s can become extremely proud, extremely quick. And yet, the child probably has difficulty already in school. The thing is that the Adder child is hyper focusing on something and his or her mind is jumping ahead in understanding of that which he or she is hyper focusing on. This does not mean the child can suddenly skip grades of school. It means that the child cannot take his or her mind off of something and is using much of its surface resources to figure whatever it is out. That might have been great a hundred or so years ago when small children were apprenticed early when their talents showed, but in today’s world, it can cause havoc for the child in a school system of multiple standards and a wide range of learning necessities. I think it is much more difficult today to become a Beethoven or Da Vinci – back in the day of such historical figures they could focus the majority of their mind on their talent and interest and make that their living, but today’s children cannot usually do that, they must comply and become jack’s of all learning before they can make a decision of what their career will be and by that time talent is often dulled or even lost.


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