Andrew: We can handle our challenges by figuring out new ADHD-friendly ways to do things and to do them our way. Basically to forget the usual way of getting stuff done. But we can also decide that we really don’t have to have to do things, to feel obligated to do them at all!
David: Andrew, that’s such a good point. I never quite thought of it that way, but you’re absolutely right. We live in a world that is so focused on a pervasive belief that if we make their weaknesses stronger, they’ll somehow climb up the ladder of success academically and professionally. And it’s never worked. It never will work.
We need to focus on what people do well and focus on how they can do it even better
If you start the day with an ADHD kid’s area of weakness in school, in his worst subject, let’s say it is math that he knows he is a poor performer and his teacher has told him: “If you get better at math, you’ll be a star academically”.
Trying hard to pay attention
He will want to do well but that is not what will happen. He will go to his first math class of the day and try very hard to pay attention. The harder he tries the more his brain will completely shut down and even immobilize him from the self-induced pressure he is placing on himself. It is not that he does not want to. It is because he can’t.
The harder he tries to focus his attention on the math lecture or assignment the more his brain will shut down! If he starts his day with his worst class, he will gain no momentum or focus for all the other class he must attend.
This all occurs because the school and the teachers have little or no knowledge of what boredom and weakness does to the ADHD brain. This weakness philosophy is, so pervasive around the world.
We live in a world focused on problems and pathology. We don’t have a framework for different approaches.
Figure out how you do things
I’m so sad when I have to say to a person with ADHD “Now that I’ve heard everything you can’t do, please tell me what you can do?” and they can’t tell me. We need to create a new global paradigm shift to strengths not weaknesses, possibilities not problems.
It is sad, but this can change very quickly with a good, well trained ADHD coach like you, Andrew, who can say “There’s nothing wrong with you! You’re perfectly okay. We just have to figure out how you do things.” As you said, “let’s find out what you don’t need to start your day off with and let’s find out what you do need to start your day off with”. Very powerful, yes.