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ADHD & Its Overlooked Advantages for Learning

Having ADHD Has Many 
DISADVANTAGES that Make Learning and Coping With Life Outside of the Classroom Much More Difficult. Yet, What Is Considered a Disorder Can Also Be Looked at as a Different Way of Thinking and Transformed into many Opportunities for Enhanced Growth and Deep, Expert Level Learning... 

While finding strategies and solutions to overcome problems created by the limitations of this condition is critical, it is also (important) to know some that there are ADVANTAGES in the area of learning, as well.

While falling along the ADHD Spectrum may make it more difficult to sit attentively in a traditional classroom, focus on the most important points to be learned, to ignore distractions while reading, or find the internal stimulation to pay just a tiny bit of attention to something known to be very important, finding those things that "hook" the ADHD'er, their ability to hyperfocus, and their passions can lead to deep learning!

Digital Technologies and ADHD
Digital technology often facilitates an intensity of focus to the immediate feedback, multi-modality, and increasing level of challenges that define a specific video game, technology play, and use (including learning through technology). Playing video games and mastering digital technologies provide many children with ADHD an opportunity to“unwrap their gifts."

My Thoughts:

As is mentioned, this ability to focus with intensity in various situations of high interest is referred to as hyperfocus. We often wonder why children, teens, and even adults can zone in on specific things, but have so much trouble focusing on other things that are, perhaps, more important at the moment or are considered more important in general. Everyone is drawn to that which is specifically interesting to them and generally motivated to a much greater extent towards those things. This explains why reluctant readers might just pick up a book and read it if it happens to appeal strongly to the reader's interests.

However, for those who fall within the neurobiological spectrum of ADHD (somewhere between primarily inattentive to hyperactive with inattentiveness) most have an extremely intensive ability to hyper-focus on anything that holds their interest - FAR beyond that of those who do not fall within this category

This type of intense focus can have dramatic effects on the physical growth of specific areas in the brain, as well as, the connections that join them, as those who have the ability to hyperfocus delve into the subject or skill at a much deeper level than their counterparts.

This ability also allows them to achieve a level of "expert" as a learner more easily. Expert learners, as opposed to novice learners:
  • "Control the learning process rather than become a victim of it
  • Are active, not passive, in their approach to learning
  • Are motivated (e.g., enjoy learning, have specific short-term and long-term goals, etc.)
  • Are disciplined (i.e., have learned good habits and use them consistently)
  • Are more aware of themselves as learners (e.g., know their own strengths and weaknesses)
  • Initiate opportunities to learn
  • Set specific learning goals for themselves
  • Have a larger repertoire of learning strategies from which to choose
  • Know not only what to learn, but how to learn
  • Plan their approach to learning
  • Monitor their learning while it's happening (e.g., notice when they're not learning and adjust their learning approach)
  • Are more adaptive because they do self-monitor while learning
  • Reflect more upon their own learning
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of learning approaches and strategies
  • Are more sensitive to the demands of specific academic tasks
  • Use learning strategies selectively
  • Use learning strategies strategically
  • Tend to attribute failures to correctable causes
  • Tend to attribute successes to personal competence
As a result of these differences, expert learners ultimately learn more with less effort. There's definitely a learning curve, but the pay-off is well worth the effort. "
The usual problems with working memory often experienced by those within this group are not a consideration during these times of intense concentration. Due to their deep interest the facts and concepts are easily held within short term memory and through active and highly focused involvement, entrenched within their long term memory much easier because of continual application of concepts in short term memory. 


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