Getting stronger – Andrea’s story (part five)
ADHD is too often perceived as a drawback, while there are various personal strengths that can make having the condition an advantage. After receiving her diagnosis, Andrea Michaels can channel the positive aspects of her ADHD, while better understanding her shortfalls.
I have weaknesses with short term and working memory which can be really frustrating, but I don’t want to linger on the negative stuff. For example, I have excellent verbal and visual skills. I’m comfortable expressing my thoughts in conversation, I’m able to think creatively and outside the box. I’ve been told that one of my greatest skills are my interpersonal skills when supporting people to overcome difficulties.
I’m very resourceful, loyal and tenacious which are incredibly valuable when helping people in these difficult situations. When it comes to the problem-solving part, I see the broad picture rather than thinking in chunks; in a team it is extremely useful to be able to provide this perspective.
The other thing, that many people with ADHD experience, is an ability to hyper focus (get really focussed on particular tasks). I often hyper focus on things that I’m passionate about. In my previous workplace, for example, we had an initiative to provide better support for people with neurodiverse conditions and I made it my focus to make these changes. I couldn’t let it go until I’d put all the resources in place to support this initiative. There was this huge focus that went into it, nothing else mattered.
I know that the symptoms of ADHD can be frustrating for others, but these are wonderful traits that people with ADHD may bring to the table. There are real strengths and benefits for teams that support neurodiverse team members.
Andrea was supported by the Centre for ADHD & Autism Support (CAAS). CASS provides a range of services to support anyone affected by either ADHD and autism. Led and run by people with first hand experience of the conditions they understand the issues facing their service users .CAAS are based in North West London and provide information, training, support groups and practical help.