ADHD Strengths Printable
ADHD

10 ADHD Strengths (Printable): A Positive Perspective for Kids with ADHD

ADHD Strengths: People with ADHD struggle with attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity impairments in their daily life. But, could there be positive aspects that catapult ADHD adults to their full potential? In today’s post we will explore the strengths of ADHD and we will share a gorgeous printable for kids that aims to encourage them to look at the bright side of life with ADHD.

When your child or young person is facing an Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) diagnosis they may be going through lots of mixed feelings.

There may be a sense of relief.

Because finding a reason for the struggles and difficulties they are facing may come as an “aha! moment”.

There is a reason why I just can’t sit still.

There is a reason why I can’t complete my morning routine without missing a step.

There is a reason why I keep forgetting my P.E. bag at school.

There is a reason why I feel like an outsider.

There is a reason why I can’t control my emotions.

But, although the ADHD diagnosis may serve as a momentary relief, your child may still look at the struggles they are facing and wonder why their “ADHD brain” makes everything feel so difficult.

Pages from an ADHD Strengths printable for kids
DOWNLOAD YOUR ADHD STRENGTHS PDF AT THE END OF THIS POST

ADHD is a medical condition usually diagnosed in childhood but that often lasts into adulthood, characterized by “a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity–impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development”.

ADHD is classified into three different types, depending on the prevalence of ADHD symptoms:

  • Predominantly Inattentive
    Kids with attention deficit disorder struggle with attention, focus and concentration.
    They may find it hard to follow instructions, complete tasks or organize themselves.
    They may look distracted or as if they don’t listen when somebody talks to them.
  • Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive.
    Symptoms of hyperactivity: Kids seem to be in constant activity, restless, fidgety, having difficulties sitting still.
    Impulsive behaviors may look like interrupting others, being prone to accidents or acting without thinking. They may experience difficulty waiting and taking turns.
  • Combined Presentation, presenting equal symptoms from both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive types

There is plenty of research that associates ADHD with poor academic performance or relationship difficulties.

Many symptoms of ADHD stem from executive function issues (difficulties paying attention, switching tasks, organizing and planning, focusing).

Research also suggests ADHD children perform worse on the working memory, which may explain the academic performance issues.

Untreated ADHD has also been linked to low self-esteem.

Kids and adults with ADHD may also have some other coexisting disorders:

  • disruptive behavior disorders
  • mood disorders
  • anxiety
  • learning disorders
  • sleep disorders
  • substance abuse

The good news is that ADHD is a manageable condition. There are many effective impulse control strategies, accommodations, and medication if required.

But, today’s article in not about strategies or accommodations.

ADHD definitions tend to focus on deficits, so I wanted to write an article exploring strengths and positive sides.

We will be focusing on how some ADHD characteristics can be turned into personal strengths that allow the individual to perform at their full potential and enjoy successful careers.

And on how we can, at times, reframe the way we look at ADHD.

I also wanted to add a resource that you could share with your child or teen and look at their ADHD journey in a positive way, exploring:

  • how those challenges of ADHD that they see as obstacles today, may feel like benefits of ADHD tomorrow.
  • how some of the strategies that they will develop to cope with the areas of weakness, will help them in many other aspects in their lives.

If you tell your child that they are awesome but they are not feeling good about themselves, it just won’t work. It is too broad and it may contradict their own self-beliefs, so they will disregard your words.

So, I wanted to support those claims with research and facts, so that I can give you the right tools to address your child’s concerns (and your own!)

10 ADHD Strengths to Help You Reach Your Full Potential  

Let’s explore the strengths of ADHD (not all characteristics may reflect your child’s situation)

HYPERFOCUS

Hyperfocus is a state of highly focused attention with diminished awareness of environment and time.

Although attention deficits are diagnostic criteria in ADHD, hyperfocus has been associated to adults with ADHD. 

The difficulty maintaining attention may be more obvious when faced with a boring task.

But, when kids with ADHD deal with tasks or activities in their areas of interest they may be able to forget the world around them, almost reaching the highly sought-after “flow”

Research on hyperfocus and ADHD:

  • Research by K. Hupfeld, T. R. Abagis and P. Shah (623 adults with and without ADHD) concluded that those with higher ADHD symptomatology reported more frequent hyper focus.
  • Just to give you the full picture, I must say that there is also research that couldn’t link hyperfocus to ADHD.

Hyperfocus and ADHD Printable PDF for Kids

HIGH LEVELS OF ENERGY

Hyperactive kids are very energetic which translates into constant activity, restlessness and difficulty “slowing down”.

But, could we rephrase this as kids with endless amounts of energy?

CREATIVITY

A research project on the positive traits and aspects of ADHD, based on interviews with successful adults, found that one of the themes arising was cognitive dynamism (= ceaseless mental activity).

This translated into some sub-themes:

  • divergent thinking
  • hyper-focus (already discussed)
  • creativity
  • curiosity.

Divergent thinking was described as the ability to generate new, original or ingenious ideas.

This seemingly uncontrollable pace of ideas popping in their minds, and the fact the they may see life from a different perspective, seems to result in highly creative individuals and out-of-the-box thinking

More research supporting the link between creativity and ADHD:

  • There is research that suggests that people with ADHD excel in creative domains that fit their skills and preferences.
  • Gifted students with ADHD characteristics had poorer working memory but significantly greater creativity than those gifted students without these characteristics.

Creativity and ADHD showing an illustration of a girl who has invented a fun cap with umbrella and fan

SPONTANEITY

How about we look as some characteristics portrayed as negatives: “talks excessively” “blurts answers before completing the question” “butts into conversations” as some endearing traits of spontaneity.

Kids with ADHD may interrupt conversations and talk a lot, but they can also come across as funny, witty and spontaneous.

LOGICAL THINKERS

A research on the cognitive profile of children with ADHD revealed that their relative strengths were in areas demanding logical thinking, reasoning and common sense.(Ek et al.,2007

NOTHING GOES UNNOTICED

One of the areas of difficulty in some kids with ADHD is staying on task because they get easily distracted, especially if they aren’t dealing with an interesting task.

There are several accommodations that we may consider to prevent environmental distractions (sitting in the front of the classroom, having an uncluttered working space).

But, since the aim of this post is to throw a positive light onto some of these symptoms, how about we look at this as “having amazing observational skills or great levels of awareness”

ACQUIRED ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS

Difficulty remembering instructions, forgetting things.

Kids with ADHD learn to use strategies to help them stay organized and remember all the things they need to do (lists, reminders, etc)

As a consequence, it is not unusual to read testimonies of adults with ADHD that reckon they are recognized for their organizational skills in their professional life.

GREAT CONVERSATIONALIST

People with ADHD often describe their mind as bubbling with different ideas that keep popping up.

So, that constant source of  ideas may end up shaping as great, engaging and unexpected conversations.

RISK-TAKERS / ENTREPRENEUR SOUL

I’m always amazed about how the same characteristic can be read as a negative and a positive.

So, what would happen if the impulsive behavior that is described today as “risk-taking” evolves into tomorrow’s entrepreneur who can take controlled risks and assess consequences.

This is what research is telling us:

Certain aspects of ADHD symptoms, such as sensation-seeking and lack of premeditation, could lead individuals to be attracted to entrepreneurship and to start their own business… People with ADHD symptoms and impulsivity will tend to prefer action speed over action accuracy and this may be functional in the context of entrepreneurship

STRONG SENSE OF JUSTICE

A pilot study on ADHD and justice sensitivity found that it indeed more pronounced in people with ADHD, particularly in the inattentive subtype. They theorized this could be a coping strategy for inferring appropriate social behavior.

Successful People with ADHD

If your child is having a hard time believing all these benefits of ADHD try sharing examples of so many famous people with ADHD:

  • Inventors like Thomas Edison 
  • Scientists like Albert Einstein
  • Singers like Justin Timberlake 
  • Actors like Emma Watson
  • Athletes like Michael Phelps

 

Other Interesting Resources (Impulse Control / Attention)

ADHD Strengths Printable (PDF Download)

Pinterest Image showing several pages of the free ADHD strengths printable

2 Comments

  • VaNae

    Thank you for something positive and giving hope that they can make it in the adult world.
    This will help not only me as a concerned and active participator with her grandchildren, but
    the parents as well. Certainly it gives us something to encourage the kids with, they see and
    feel the negative way too much.

    Thank you for sharing this with us.

    • Clara

      Thanks for your kind words, VaNae. They truly reflect the reason why I wrote this post.
      It is important to focus on our kids’ strengths to help them build their confidence and overcome their challenges.

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