article by Andy Hayes
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Does Herbie have ADHD or are you like Herbie?
Article by Andy Hayes, copyright.
Years ago I used to give talks to groups about disability issues and ADHD. Sometimes these talks were to parents of children with ADHD. I would often notice that many parents have written their children off as useless or hopeless as they have ADHD. I have often wondered if Herbie could associate with these children who have ADHD and have been written off by members of society. As in Walt Disney's Herbie films Herbie is written off by many members of society, as being useless, pathetic and ugly car. However Herby proves that he is far from useless and he can not only win the race but also help solve some complex issues causing difficulties for people.
In the films Herbie is a Volkswagen beetle, that is seen as fairly useless and unwanted and in the film "Herbie fully loaded", many also see Herbie as ugly to begin with. Yet Herbie has the skills and ability to win car races time and time again. By the time the next film of Herbie is made Herbie's skills and abilities are forgotten and Herbie has to start at the beginning again having to prove he's got the ability to win races. That must be very disheartening for Herbie to keep having to demonstrate and prove he has the skills and ability needed to win the race.
Well I can certainly associate with Herbie. I was certainly seen as pathetic, stupid, useless and ugly when I started school. I know this because all the other kids at school were constantly reminding me that this was the case. However from time to time I did demonstrate that I had some very special skills and in a different sort of way could win the race. Given the opportunity. Every now and then I can be very successful with a project or task and even become a hero for a little while. Then it's back to the beginning again having to demonstrate to those unbelievers that you have the skills for the task whether it's winning a race or something else. I have been diagnosed with severe ADHD and dyslexia.
Susan Boyle, hit the headlines a few years ago auditioning for "Britain's got talent" just before her audition the filming and interviews made her look like she was going to be useless. However when she started singing the judges and audience knew within a few seconds she had the skills and talent that could win the race. While Susan Boyle may not have ADHD I understand from the media that she did have a difficult childhood perhaps with other neurological conditions. I wonder if Susan Boyle can associate with Herbie too? Susan Boyle's debut album sold extremely well around the world breaking many records statistics for high sales.
Over the years I have talked to many kids with ADHD and their parents. While I'm aware that many of these kids might look like useless troublemakers, not fitting in with school work and having difficulties keeping friends. On the other side I'm aware that they have a hobby or interest that they are very skilful or clever with. Although these skills, may not be recognise by young people with ADHD, or their parents.
Many parents have phoned me about their children with ADHD, telling me a whole list of problems and difficulties their child has. I ask these parents "is your child showing any special skills". They reply, "no". After our phone conversation goes on for a little while these parents then start to recognise that their children to have some special skills. Amazing parents have focused so much on to the child's difficulties they have forgotten about their child's skills and talents!
Young people with ADHD may not even recognise themselves that they have great skills and talents. Sometimes when people in society are constantly looking down on you. Telling you that you are useless and stupid it is so easily to start believing that yourself. I know I often do and it is so easy to bury your skills and forget about them. You then go down hill feeling very useless. Often it takes someone or something that recognise these skills and encourage you to start using them again.
By now I'm hoping that you can understand the point I'm driving at, and that is there seems to be a lot overlapping with Herbie and kids with ADHD. OK Herbie is fiction and not real and kids with ADHD are real people. Now I have mentioned in this article that kids ADHD have lots of skills and talents. Some people with ADHD succeed with their skills and talents while others don't. Let's look at the sort of skills and talents that people with ADHD have. They are often in the arts like actors, artists, singers, writers and so on. In fact many of the people creating Herbie could well be people with ADHD and therefore Herbie may be a reflection of their ADHD lives. So in an indirect way perhaps Herbie is real and really does have ADHD!
Perhaps you are thinking that Herbie has magical powers and therefore not real or compatible with young people who have ADHD. Well I can tell you something my dad would say to me quite often and I think it was directed at me for many reasons. "The fool didn't know it couldn't be done, so he went ahead and did it". The amount of times people have told me I can't do something because that is impossible and yet I went ahead and did it. So isn't that magical? I believe that many people with ADHD will do something if they are told it's impossible. When you think about it, it's more interesting doing something that is impossible. So kids with ADHD may well be more like Herbie than what you can imagine.
I wonder if the professionals have ever diagnosed Walt Disney’s Herbie with ADHD? As Herbie is a boy the diagnosis procedure will be more straightforward. In the film Herbie fully loaded Herbie teams up with car driver Maggie Peyton played by Lindsay Lohan. I also have wondered if Maggie Peyton could have ADHD too? However for Maggie Peyton to get a diagnosis for ADHD is much more complex as Maggie Peyton is a girl. All the original criteria and studies for ADHD were based on boys and therefore, as girls have different behaviour patterns this make it less evident for diagnosis. I have noticed in the Herbie fully loaded film that Maggie Peyton shows behaviour patterns that might indicate she has ADHD. For example when she picks up her graduation certificate she leaves it to the very last second and then turns up on a skateboard and I'm wondering if this represents ADHD symptoms. Now this doesn't mean Maggie Peyton has ADHD as just about everybody will show behaviour patterns that people with ADHD have. So a diagnosis is complex to determine whether behaviour patterns are normal or significant enough for an ADHD diagnosis.
If you are a person with ADHD or similar/co morbid neurological condition I'm hoping you already are aware of your special skills. However if you are not I hope this article will encourage you to seek out your talents.
If you are a parent with a child who has ADHD or similar neurological condition I'm hoping that you already value your child for their special talents. If you think your child doesn't have any special talents. Then I'm hoping that this article will encourage you to help and motivate your child to discover their special talents. However please do not write your children off as useless just think what Herbie can do?
If you are a teacher, please don't think you have an awkward disruptive child to teach. Instead you have a child with special talents that needs encouragement and motivation to succeed.
If you are involved with the designing of services like education or family support services like social services. Design your services that children with ADHD and similar neurological conditions need. Please do not expect children with ADHD and similar neurological conditions to fit in with services that are not designed appropriately. Design a framework that will encourage their talents rather than forcing them to do things they find are too difficult to do.
Building a society that everybody can participate with
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Article by Andy Hayes, composed using voice recognition
software, there may be mistakes that haven't been noticed.
Copyright, article last updated on Tuesday, 14 February 2012
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this link is to a video on MySpace, that I found with a Google search, of Susan Boyle's audition on Britain's got talent.
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