People with ADHD are often given tips and tricks for how to better focus their attention. They are trained to work against rather than with their brain’s natural way of functioning. While I generally agree that people with ADHD can benefit from learning how to focus their attention and manage their time, I think many also cause themselves unnecessary pain trying to work against their natural inclinations. People with ADHD are better described as having “variable attention” and can be astonishingly focused (“hyperfocused”) on tasks that engage and interest them. Instead of always trying to better focus on externally mandated tasks, we can also give people with ADHD the opportunity and means to engage with tasks that are meaningful to them. We can help them to leverage their ability to hyper-focus and to think creatively. But this requires starting from a standpoint of seeing ADHD as a divergent way of thinking and processing (with attendant strengths and challenges) rather than simply as a deficit.

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Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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