The Gift of ADHD

How to Transform Problems into Strengths

The Imaginative Gifts of ADHD: How Fantasy Creates Reality

Many of the symptoms of ADHD can be seen as the side effects of deep imagination

Many of the symptoms of ADHD can be seen as the side effects of deep imagination. The single most important factor in creating something new is imagination. In order to bring something new into the world, it first has to be imagined. Fantasies have a truth of their own. Some people think fantasies are by definition false, but fantasies aren’t concerned with true or false. Fantasies create something that doesn’t yet exist rather than reflecting reality. ADHD gives students lots of fantasies. These can be a distraction, but can also give students the power to create a new world.

I will be giving a talk at the Educating Creative Minds Conference in San Francisco on Saturday Feb 16.

http://www.learningandthebrain.com/Event-130/Educating-for-Creative-Minds/Program

Participants will explore how to re-direct fantasies of escape toward evolution. The distinct functions of studying, thinking and imagination in the classroom will be explored.

In my talk I will stick to three main points.

  •  Fantasy CAN create reality
  • ADHD kids are distracted and driven by imagination
  • We educate creative minds by valuing creative minds and encouraging rather than discouraging Imagination.
  1.  Studying leads to good grades
  2. Thinking leads to problem solution
  3.  Imagination leads to world changers

When you look at this way it seems very strange that we pressure our kids so hard to get good grades and discourage daydreaming when I think most of us think the world really needs a new batch of world changers.

I remember a teacher who changed the course of my life. His name is Mr. Fremuth. When I was a senior in high school in his English Literature class, I remember on several occasions he called on me in class and addressed me as “Dr. Honos”. I was startled each time he did it and wasn’t certain why. It wasn’t something he did often if at all for students. Each time I remember asking myself what it could possibly mean. I had never thought of myself as becoming any sort of doctor. I applied to only one university and that one because I had enjoyed the Ann Arbor Art Fair (or as I called it the Ann Arbor Fart Air) so much each summer as a family tradition.  I told myself that if I didn’t get in to the University of Michigan, I would select a university based on how big of a party school it had a reputation for being.  Clearly this was not the trajectory toward advanced degrees. But in those moments when I heard the words “Dr. Honos”-- the idea – or fantasy – of becoming a doctor was born. It was as if I tried it on for the first time and though not ready to buy – knew it was out there. Mr. Fremuth gave me a fantasy of being some sort of doctor that at the time seemed far outside of my personal plans. It would be many years later when a psychology professor at the University of Michigan was very insistent that I should apply to Ph.D. schools in psychology that the seed that had been planted would begin to be watered and given sunshine. This story tells us the power each one of has to give another person a bigger dream. It took zero time for Mr. Fremuth to give me this vision. He never explained to me why he called me Dr. Honos. Those few milliseconds of encouragement created a fantasy that became a reality.  

WebMD features the Gift of ADHD http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/features/is-there-gift-in-adhd

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Lara Honos-Webb, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and author of multiple books.

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