The Superpowers of ADHD

Whilst many children become frustrated at their ADHD traits, they also hold many positive qualities and abilities due to their brain’s unique patterns and reactions. Children and adolescents with ADHD have higher levels of energy and awareness than their peers. At the bottom of this, is an aversion to boredom. Simply, when bored their brains become understimulated and struggle to concentrate and focus. Therefore, we see an increase in fidgeting and impulsive movements. Thus, considering our expectations for sitting down for prolonged periods, or vast periods of being understimulated can be a first step to considering how we support children at home, or those that we work with.

However, we should not lose sight of the wide range of positive traits that are associated with ADHD, and look to spend time finding the unique and wonderful traits in the young people that we work with. We can meet young people who absorb information about areas of interest like a sponge, with high levels of empathy and care for others, those with incredible creative flair or who have tremendous scientific, our role is to help identify these and encourage them.

Reif (2003) identifies positive traits including:

  • Highly energetic
  • Verbal
  • Spontaneous
  • Creative and inventive
  • Artistic
  • Persistent / tenacious
  • Innovative
  • Imaginative
  • Warm hearted
  • Compassionate and caring
  • Accepting and forgiving
  • Inquisitive
  • Resilient
  • Makes and creates fun
  • Knows how to enjoy the present moment
  • Empathetic
  • Sensitive to needs of others
  • Resourceful
  • Gregarious
  • Not boring
  • Enthusiastic
  • Intelligent / bright
  • Humorous
  • Outgoing
  • Ready for action
  • Willing to take a risk and try new things
  • Good at improvising
  • Enterprising
  • Sees different aspects of a situation
  • Able to find novel solutions
  • Charismatic
  • Observant
  • Negotiator
  • Full of ideas and spunk
  • Can think on their feet
  • Intuitive
  • Good in crisis situations
  • Passionate


What are the wonderful traits that the young person presents with?

Which traits do they receive most feedback about?

How can we increase their awareness of their positive traits?

How can we increase opportunities to tap into their positive traits?

How can we reduce understimulation and boredom to reduce the negative feedback, and increase their positive experiences?

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American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual for mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. Retrieved from

Ciesielski, H. A., Loren, R. E. A., & Tamm, L. (2020). Behavioral Parent Training for ADHD Reduces Situational Severity of Child Noncompliance and Related Parental Stress. Journal of Attention Disorders, 24(5), 758–767.

Harpin, V. A. (2005). The effect of ADHD on the life of an individual, their family, and community from preschool to adult life. Archives of Disease in Childhood, (suppl 1), i2–i7.

Neurodevelopmental Disorders. (2013). In Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. American Psychiatric Association.

Reif, S (2003) The ADHD Book of lists, San Francisco, CA Jossey-Bass

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