12/7/11

Top 10 Cartoons with ADHD

Last Sunday's post explains how literature promotes self-understanding. The same is true for movies and tv shows. Even cartoons can offer insight into human behavior. As I reflect on the characters I loved as a kid, it seems there's one thing they have in common: the spirit of ADHD.

Here's my top ten childhood favorites and the habits that lend them to being diagnosed with ADD:

1. Tigger
Winnie the Pooh
My first ADHD idol, Tigger often encouraged me to stand up and bounce around while watching Winnie the Pooh. His love of “fun, fun, fun, fun, fun” is true of many ADHD’rs, whose minds are driven by dopamine.


2. Michelangelo
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Another fun-loving character, this “party dude” enjoys a good time as much as his pizza. Often missing social cues, behaving or speaking inappropriately, Michelangelo lacks the discipline of the other three ninjas.


3. Dale
Disney, Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers
The comic-relief to Chip's serious demeanor, Dale often goofs around while solving crimes. On my first trip to Disney World I made a point of meeting this loveable, huggable chipmunk, whose silly antics I easily related to. Like many ADHD’rs who express themselves through their bodies, he often acts out his jokes.

4. Stitch
Lilo & Stitch
Check out that energy, that spunk, that inability to control his impulses…You'd be hard pressed to argue that our dear alien friend does not have attention deficit.


5. Wakko
Animaniacs
Like Stitch, Wakko’s mischievous nature resembles the “itch” that drives ADHD’rs to act out in playful and/or destructive ways.


6. Scooby Doo
Scooby Doo
Another classic cartoon, Scooby stumbles into mysteries oblivious to the dangers that lurks around him Typical of ADHD’rs, he’s often goofing off (or gobbling a batch of Scooby snacks).


7. Alvin
Alvin & the Chipmunks
Unlike his studious brother Simon, Alvin embodies the impatience and carelessness of ADHD. I often find myself dropping glasses and spilling coffee on lap because my mind is off on my next task. In this clip, Alvin jests, “Who’s the dumb brother now?” Compared to bookish Simon, Alvin is certainly the less academic of the two, but as the chipmunk’s leader, he also exemplifies many classic ADHD super powers.


8. Roadrunner
Looney Tunes
A true speed demon, Roadrunner is known for his "beep, beep" as he thwarts Wile E. Coyote. I certainly relate to his auto-pilot pace. In life, I'm always on the go or looking for physical outlets to release my energy. Running is a perfect way to do so.

9. Bart
The Simpsons
What would a top-ten list of cartoons be without Bart Simpson? Infamous for his pranks and kamikaze ways, Bart is the poster child for the ADHD personality.


10. The Minions
Despicable Me
I could watch these little dudes for hours. On bad days, I quickly turn to YouTube and start giggling at their antics. Distractible and curious, these endearing yellow minions inhabit the true spirit of ADHD.


My older sister & me circa 1990.


While doing *research* for this post, an idea came to me: the characters who show signs of ADHD are often the comic reliefs. Coincidence? Or do we ADHD’rs simply add life and energy to any situation?

What other cartoons might have ADHD? Did I leave one out?