I hear a lot of people talking about ADHD being a gift. In my experience, I don’t see it that way. Maybe what they mean is something like one of the following. “It’s not the end of the world. It’s not the worst thing that could happen. You can cope with this. The challenges don’t mean there won’t be joy.” I agree with all those statements. It’s just that a gift is something you wanted, something that you prefer over other gifts. I’m not sure that’s the case for ADHD, especially complex ADHD. ADHD comes with a lot of challenges that it’s important for people to understand.
When I see my child struggle to self-regulate his hyperactivity and I see that hyperactivity interfering with his peer relationships, that’s not a gift. That’s a struggle. When I see my child shutting down at the very idea of math, that’s not a gift either. When I see my child getting average grades despite being gifted, that’s not a gift. The challenges my child faces because of their neurodevelopmental disorder do not enhance his life.
The lessons we all have learned as a result of coping with complex ADHD are a gift. We’ve learned a lot of science, tons about how to communicate with others, and, most of all, compassion. I appreciate those lessons but, for a “gift,” I’d rather have a house in the mountains.
I understand where people are coming from when they ADHD is a gift and I appreciate the can-do, positive spirit behind it. My children are a gift. They themselves have many talents and strengths. But is ADHD a gift to them or to me? I would say no.