Is ADHD a Disability?
There’s a tricky and sensitive question. Individuals who live with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, whether they are adults or children, are told all too often of the challenges and hardships that they will inevitably face in their lives.
From navigating their symptoms to dealing with side effects from medication, there’s no question that people who have ADHD have a number of obstacles to overcome; but too often we focus on the negatives instead of the positives.
But is ADHD a disability?
In reality, countless children and adults who have been diagnosed with ADHD have gone on to do some truly amazing things, and even attribute their success to their disorder.
See if you recognize any of them.
Famous People with ADHD
The decorated Olympian was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 9, but he recognized that he was being treated differently at school long before the diagnosis. He noticed that teachers treated him differently compared to other students, and even had one tell him that he would never amount to anything. Not only did Phelps see improvements after getting diagnosed and regular treatment, he also found that swimming helped his ADHD.
As a professional dancer, Karina Smirnoff is most famous for her appearances on the show “Dancing with the Stars”. She’s very vocal about how she manages her busy, adult life with ADHD, and often uses her fame as a platform to advocate for adults living with the disorder. She’s learned how to manage her ADHD so well that she’s been crowned a World Champion and U.S. National Champion five times.
The game show host and stand-up comedian is famous for his riotous personality and sense of humor, but few people know that he has both ADHD and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Mandel grew up in a time before ADHD was commonly diagnosed and treated, which left him to fend for his own devices. As he grew older, he was able to establish regular treatment for his ADHD, which allows him to live life to the fullest and enjoy the successes of his hard work.
The young Olympic gymnast is an inspiration to many, young and old, for her powerful and beautiful performances that have earned several gold medals. But after the 2016 Olympics, Biles became a hero to many others after she took a stand for individuals with ADHD who face stigmas and stereotyping. She’s gone on to be very vocal about mental health and sports, as well as continue to rack up the amazing gymnastic performances.
Famous TKO singer and actor Justin Timberlake revealed in an interview back in 2008 that he has both ADHD and OCD; and while Timberlake isn’t overtly vocal about living with these two conditions, it’s clear that he has found a treatment method that allows him to enjoy a thriving career and fulfilling life with his family.
Famous for being a serial entrepreneur, business coach and TED Talk speaker, Cameron Herold has found extraordinary success in life, and often attributes that to his ADHD. Specifically from a business perspective, he remarks that individuals with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder can channel their focus, energy and creativity to their advantage.
Thriving with ADHD
If you didn’t believe it before, hopefully you believe it after reading about the many successful and inspiring individuals who not only live with ADHD, but thrive in spite of it.
One thing these individuals all have in common is that they found effective methods of treatment that worked for them after being diagnosed. For many, a combination of therapy, medication and even chiropractic care make for successful treatment.
But for adults and children living with ADHD, it’s clear that they can conquer their symptoms and lead very successful lives not in spite of, but because of their disorder.
As we celebrate National ADHD Awareness Month this October, remember that individuals with ADHD are often full of generosity, imagination and creativity. Not to mention they can often channel their focus into work that they care about, and meet challenges with persistence and enthusiasm.