Self-Awareness and ADHD, From Both SidesAugust 23rd, 2012 by admin
It’s very important for those with and without ADHD to think through the other’s perspective sometimes.
I find this particularly true in a high school setting. To get a little scientific for a moment, people with ADD or ADHD have fascinating differences in brain chemistry and thought creation patterns, which yield valuable traits: rapid thought, original and innovative idea creation, the ability to pursue a goal beyond the point where others would be discouraged, spontaneity and creativity. There are also some aspects of this brain type that clash with the behaviors and expectations of those who don’t have it. One of the most notable is self-awareness.
When someone without an ADHD family member or friend first has a rapid-fire thinker enter their life, they are often shocked and confused by the interaction, especially if that ADHD-er has not found a reliable treatment plan yet. Behaviors like blurting, interrupting, and a general big presence are especially noticeable in high-energy situations, and when a group is working towards a shared goal.
Yet those with ADHD might be shocked to realize how much energy, thought and worry the non-ADHD thinker puts into his or her own self-awareness. This is especially true during the teenage years. A teenage girl without ADHD may want to participate in a group conversation, but she’s so worried about what to say, how to say it, when to say it without annoying or interrupting anyone else, if she even wants to draw the attention to herself in the first place, if she’s wearing the right clothes, and if the others like her enough to value her words, that she may never speak at all!
To teens with and without ADHD, I say that you can all get along, and you can learn from each other. The hypersensitive non-ADHD girl can share feedback with her ADHD friend that is constructive, not confrontational, helping her contribute in class and out with friends in ways that will be valued. Likewise, the ADHD girl can help her timid friend shake off the over-the-top self-doubt and speak her mind. A good rule of thumb is to ask for permission to observe and share opinions, and to do so with courtesy.