10/24/11

One more ADHD Super Power: Hyper Attention

Today I’d like to add one more ADHD super power to the ever-growing list (see: this post!)

Hyper Attentive (Wo)Man
Considering the social connotations of ADHD, “heightened attention” may seem counter-intuitive. After all, people with ADHD are known for their bonkers energy and inability to concentrate on anything for an extended period of time. But this is not always the case, for two reasons:

1. Those of us with ADHD are likely paying attention to everything in the room.
2. We actually hyper-focus on certain activities that fulfill our threshold for stimulation.

My mom, Mary Jo Wilson PhD, loves to paraphrase the parent-teacher conference she had with my preschool teacher at Family School West. “I often see Julie aimlessly wandering the room, not attending her allocated learning station. At first I thought she wasn’t paying attention at all, but as I watched her, I realized that she was absorbing the techniques that the other students used to complete their stations before sitting down herself. She then applies what she has observed to complete her task.”

That's chubby little me in the lower left corner!
Strange how people don’t change much. While I don’t consider myself a cautious person, I am an observant one. I often find myself observing multiple interactions that occur simultaneously in whatever room / elevator / meeting I'm in. I attribute my ability to write complex scenes with multiple characters to this hyper and expanded focus.

Hone the Hyper Attentive (Wo)Man’s super power: Find activities that fully absorb your need for stimulation. For me, creative writing fully immerses my mind in a single project. As for extracurricular activities…I’m a big fan of playing sports and video games. Contrary to other people, I'm actually relaxed by video games because they attract my full attention. Current favorites? ModNation & Little Big Planet 2. Sack puppets unite!

The Hyper Attentive (Wo)Man’s kryptonite: Forced tunnel vision.

What's your ADHD Super Power? Vote in the poll on your right or email me at WriteToJulianna

Curious about hyperfocus? Here’s an interesting article I found in ADDitude Magazine: http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/612.html