Pin Me

Debunking ADHD Myths and Focusing on Positive Attributes

written by: Janelle Martel • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 2/25/2015

ADHD is a disorder that seems completely negative and restrictive. There are many myths about ADHD that only add to its negative image. Learn the truth behind the myths as well as some of the positive aspects of ADHD.

  • slide 1 of 3


    ADHD Affects IntelligenceYour Special Ed Class 

    There is a misconception that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in kids can negatively impact a person's intelligence as he grows. Although ADHD is more likely to occur with other behavioral or learning disorders, it impacts people of all different intelligence levels. In fact, Yale researchers have discovered that 1 in 3 people with ADHD have an IQ of 120 or higher, which places them in the top 9th percentile of the U.S. population.

    ADHD Is Caused By Diet

    There are a number of sources that claim certain additives and sugar can cause ADHD behaviors. In fact, some sources even go so far as to claim that ADHD is caused by food sensitivities or allergies. However, there is no proof that diet causes ADHD. In fact, changing diet may only help some instances of ADD in kids. Changing diet can be effective in reducing ADHD symptoms because food can have an impact on behavior, not because a poor diet causes ADHD.

    ADHD Is Caused by Bad Parenting, Not Genetics

    It is often said that ADHD is caused by poor parenting and not connected to genetics. Poor parenting and family life do not cause ADHD. If there is stress at home, it can aggravate ADHD symptoms, whereas parental support can help to manage ADHD symptoms. There is, however, strong evidence to suggest a genetic link. ADHD can run in families and it is more likely that someone who has ADHD also has a relative who has ADHD.

    ADHD Is Simply Hyper Behavior

    ADHD is a real disorder, classified by difficulty concentrating, disorganization and poor time management skills, and hyperactivity or restlessness. In fact, as people with ADHD grow older, they typically do not experience as much hyperactive behavior as they may have done in their earlier years.

    ADHD Is a Childhood Disorder

    ADHD does not occur only in children. In fact, children who are diagnosed with ADHD will often have to deal with symptoms of ADHD throughout their adult life. One does not simply "grow out of ADHD." Adults can also be diagnosed with ADHD, even if they were not diagnosed as a child. This disorder can affect all age groups.

  • slide 2 of 3

    Do You Know Some Positive Attributes?


    As ADHD causes people to become restless and easily distracted, one would not expect that ADHD also causes hyperfocus. Hyperfocus is actually developed as a coping method for ADHD symptoms. After dealing with so much distraction, the body is eventually able to tune out all possible distractions. Hyperfocus means that someone will become engrossed in a certain activity and often lose track of time. They may become unaware of other things going on around them and focus solely on the task at hand. This can give people with ADHD an edge if they are able to channel this hyperfocus into positive activities. For example, a person with ADHD may be able to focus on reading something and tune out everything going on around them.


    People without ADHD may be wary about trying something new and may spend a lot of time thinking over decisions before making them. ADHD can make someone more impulsive. This means that people with ADHD are more willing to take risks. This can be a positive attribute as nervousness can hold people back from doing things they want to do. Also, someone with ADHD will make decisions based on their immediate feelings, rather than thinking things over. Sometimes this can be very effective as people with ADHD are sometimes able to think on their feet quicker, which can be a real benefit at both work and school.

    Different Perspectives

    As people with ADHD tend to get distracted so easily, they often think about things in a different way. For example, if a student is listening to a teacher talk about a particular topic, they may begin to daydream. As their mind wanders off in different directions they may start looking at the topic in a new light and come up with original and innovative thoughts. This can open up a deeper exploration of topics.


    Attention Deficit Disorder in kids can really help them to become resilient. People with ADD/ADHD will face many obstacles in their lives that they will have to overcome. They will learn ways to cope and become stronger for it and be better able to deal with what life throws at them.

  • slide 3 of 3


    Tartakovsky, Margarita, "9 Myths, Misconceptions and Sterotypes About ADHD" from PsychCentral.

    What Causes AHDH? from

    Smith, Melinda and Block, Jocelyn, "Adult ADD/ADHD" from

    Nauert, Rick, "High IQ Offers No Protection from ADHD Effects" from PsychCentral.

    ADHD Positives from

    Goodwin, Tracey, and Oberwacker, Holly. "Navigating ADHD: Your Guide to the Flip Side of ADHD". AuthorHouse, 2011