Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Other Side of ADHD- Hyper Focus!

Most people who are aware of ADHD or have some experience with a person with ADHD, they can all recognize the hyperactive elements. The inability to stop moving, getting up, the impulsive behavior, and even the need to constantly talk or be the center of attention. However, the hyperactive behavior isn't the only reaction that comes from a person with ADHD. Sometimes, when a person becomes really interested in something or really involved in creating something, they become hyper-focused.

This hyper-focus allows them to stay on one task for hours on end, trying to either perfect something, accomplish something, or come to the end of the activity they find fascinating or challenging. When this happens, it can be extremely difficult to get their attention, even impossible in some situations where the activity requires all a person's senses.

I find this type of focus fascinating and although I can recognize when I get into the "zone," as my husband calls it, it is especially interesting to see my extremely hyper seven year old focus in on creating a huge multi-dimensional lego jet bomber. All of a sudden, his need to move shuts off, his need to be stimulated quiets down, and he sits in one spot for hour at a time, methodically piecing together this incredibly difficult airplane without even the need to tap his foot. He will be like this for as long as it takes to completely finish it, even if it takes three days. 

It is so hard to get his attention because he replies, "Wait a minute Mom, I just need to ______________ (insert the next step here)" While I respect his need to finish the task at hand, since I can recognize this intense, almost uncontrollable need to complete the task, it becomes difficult to get him to accomplish ANYTHING! I have had to actually pry a half-completed lego formation from his clenched hands so he can go to sleep. But then, he will come out a half of a dozen times to "tweak" his creation and it goes back and forth until the end. 

Now, when he finally DOES finish it, he can put it to the side and forget about it. He doesn't play with it, or even care if it gets destroyed. For him, it is the PROCESS of building the lego formation, not the end result. As his Mom though, I can be proud of him and his ability to complete something like this and be content knowing that when he does find something that speaks to him, he will likely see it through- we just need to get him through those other less appealing tasks required of him by education!

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