ADHD: Is There a Silver Lining?


Our son was recently diagnosed with ADHD. Are there any silver linings to the cloud of this disability? I’ve heard there might be strengths associated with ADHD, but I don’t know what they are.

J. Crawley

Summerville, SC

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Devon MacEachron, Ph.D

Devon MacEachron is a psychologist who specializes in comprehensive psycho-educational assessments.

While ADHD can be challenging, it has also been associated with a number of strengths, including creativity and the flow of ideas and imagination (ideaphoria). Individuals with ADHD tend to be more spontaneous, allowing them to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. The late comedian Robin Williams had these qualities in spades.

ADHD is also associated with risk-taking and entrepreneurial thinking. Many prominent entrepreneurs with ADHD attribute their success to their willingness to think outside the box and take risks. While people sometimes think of ADHD as characterized by a lack of attentional focus, in fact it is associated with the ability to hyperfocus in areas of personal interest. If hyperfocus can be channeled in a positive direction, it has the power to lead to success in a productive enterprise.

Individuals with hyperactive-type ADHD may have more energy than the rest of us, enabling them to keep going when others have tired. Finally, the challenges the person with ADHD faces can impart useful life lessons. Experiencing setbacks and disappointments, and pushing to overcome them, can develop resilience and “grit.”

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