A beautiful consequence of ADHD is that I have a hypersensitivity to boredom.

What this hypersensitivity means is, when something bores me I’m ten times more likely to switch off than someone else. For someone else, when something bores them they can extend their focus and stay with it but I can’t. The moment something bores me I check out almost instantaneously.

So, up to the age of 23 I hadn’t built up an attention span because I hadn’t learned what an attention span was or how to develop it.

The way we do develop an attention span is by focussing on the things we really enjoy. As someone who is ADHD I learned as an adult to develop an attention span that would challenge anyone who was non ADHD by focussing on the things I enjoy.

Now, I can focus on things for five, six, seven hours straight. In some cases I’ll only stop to pee, running to pee and then running straight back to it.

So that hypersensitivity to boredom for ADHD kids is about the need for them to be enrolled and engaged in the things they really enjoy, things that they’re passionate about. And that’s the beautiful thing about ADHD for kids. Once they find what it is that they’re interested in and passionate about, they have this untapped amount of energy to focus for an extended periods of time.

Whether we’re ADHD or not we have to try a multitude of things before we find the flavours that we really enjoy, Baskin and Robbins is a theme that comes to mind here. My suggestion here is, if you’ve got an ADHD kid, take them out there and show them life. Expose them to experiences, give them exposure to the 52 different flavours of ice creams that are the flavours of life and the different activities they can do. Then all of a sudden they will stumble upon that thing, that thing that they really love, and they’ll always treasure it.

And that will be the gift that you can give them.

Hopefully, that insight helps.


Kerwin Rae