Classroom Calendar Connections: October 2020 ADHD Awareness Month


October is ADHD Awareness Month. Although Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, presents a spectrum of challenges, there are also numerous positive traits associated with ADHD to be aware of this month and beyond. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), millions of children in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD – it is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood, and often persists throughout adulthood. 

So, how can we best support our students with ADHD in the classroom? ADHD guru and psychiatrist, Dr. Ned Hallowell of the Hallowell Centers explains, “Perhaps the single most powerful treatment for ADHD is understanding ADHD in the first place. You need to understand what a positive attribute ADHD can be.” He goes on to reframe the negative traits associated with ADHD in terms of ‘mirror traits’ as outlined in the table below.


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Shifting one’s focus from ‘negative traits’ to ‘assets’ can be a game-changer for individuals with ADHD. According to the epidemiological data shared by the Attention Deficit Disorder Association, approximately 5% of adults have ADHD. Many people (famous and otherwise) diagnosed with ADHD have used their behavioral traits and symptoms to their advantage by starting their own successful businesses, becoming top athletes, creating inspirational art, becoming movie stars, and otherwise excelling in their respective fields. 

Some well-known individuals with ADHD include:

  • Michael Phelps
  • Bill Gates
  • Walt Disney
  • Ingvar Kamprad (founder of IKEA)
  • Justin Timberlake
  • Whoopie Goldberg
  • Karina Smirnoff
  • Channing Tatum
  • Jim Carrey
  • Howie Mandel
  • Adam Levine
  • Terry Bradshaw

Whether famous or not, people with ADHD enrich our lives with their creative and innovative talents. The airline e-ticket, for example, was created by a man with ADHD-David Neeleman-who often misplaced his traditional paper tickets. What a brilliant, outside-of-the-box solution that so many of us benefit from worldwide!

Finally, in honor of ADHD Awareness month, I’d like to share this insightful video. Jessica (from the popular YouTube Channel, “How to ADHD”) explains how the ADHD brain works differently - and how, with those differences, come numerous strengths. From enthusiasm to strong problem-solving skills, she also shares her ten favorite things about having ADHD – great information to keep at the forefront of our minds when working with students with ADHD.

Interested in learning more about ADHD and how to harness the strengths and assets of your students with ADHD? Check out our course ADHD: Teaching and Learning Strategies



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Jill Rockwell
Jill has over 13 years of experience as a licensed teacher in the areas of Special Education, Reading Education, and Health Education. She embraces diversity and has worked with students in grades K-12 in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and California. Jill completed her Master of Science degree at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls while teaching full time. She fully understands the soaring demands of today’s teachers. Her courses are designed to maximize the time of all educators by providing engaging, meaningful, and applicable activities which can be used to enhance teaching practices. She focuses on research-based best practices and technology integration throughout her own instructional practices. Together with her husband and two young boys, Jill enjoys traveling, biking and the changing seasons of the great outdoors in Wisconsin. 

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