I love a good analogy and recently I came across, not just a good analogy, but a great analogy.
I’m not a frequent flier of social media, but I have found that one source, in particular, seems to cut through the clutter and offers the heart of the content most important to the user. ADDitude magazine is always my go to source for everything ADHD, and their social media accounts can be a great way of sorting through the multitudes of information out there.
Which brings me to the title and purpose of today’s post. In a recent LinkedIn post ADDitude magazine, shares a short clip of a presentation by Dr. Thomas Brown, who explains what ADHD really looks like in the context of focusing on a task.
In his example, Dr. Brown recognizes that when most people think of focusing on a task, that we should be able to “zero in on one thing”, “like holding the camera still to take a picture”. Your focus is on one subject, one item, one focus at a time. Focus is rather like driving, with your focus on multiple items at the same time. If you drive, or if you’ve ever had a teenager learning to drive, you know what an intense process this can be. It’s multitasking at its finest - not really ADHD’s best friend.
Dr. Brown’s driving analogy also brings to mind Russell Barkley’s theory of 30 percent Another one of my favorites and one that continues to fascinate me the more I work with students with ADHD. Dr. Barkley explains that children with ADHD have a 30 percent developmental delay in executive skills such as self-management, organization, awareness of time, and control of emotions than their peers. In short, this means that children with ADHD can lag up to three years behind in development when compared to their peers of the same age. Imagine what this means for our teens who are preparing to drive. Compounding the already intense process that requires focus on multiple tasks at a time (i.e. Dr. Brown’s analogy) with a delay in maturity development (i.e. Dr. Barkley’s analogy) we may now see the bigger, more complex, picture a little more clearly.
Unfortunately, there are no easy answers when it comes to truly understanding our children who struggle with ADHD. But I do think that both of these analogies should help us find a little more patience and understanding with these children.
Blogger Lisa Bruns, M.Ed., Special Education, shares her expertise of students with learning disabilities. As a special educator, she has expert knowledge of interventions and accommodations that students may need to succeed in and out of the classroom. If you have questions, please contact Center Director Lisa Bruns at