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Celebrating Neurodiversity & Understanding ADHD

At Therapy Austin, we celebrate neurodiversity, including the individuals worldwide who have been diagnosed with ADHD. Our commitment is to provide education, support, and therapeutic guidance for those living with ADHD and for the community at large.  Despite its prevalence, ADHD remains misunderstood by many. Like many in this field, we choose to see it as merely one of many brain types. Here at Therapy Austin, we prefer a non-pathologizing and strengths-based approach to neurodivergence.

What is ADHD?

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurological condition that affects an individual’s working memory, ability to focus, and executive functioning skills. These individuals may struggle to start, complete, and prioritize tasks as well as with organization and time management. The ADHD brain often impacts an individual’s ability to control their impulses and it can make it difficult for the individual to regulate their emotions.

There are three primary types of ADHD:

1. Inattentive Type: Previously known as ADD, individuals with this type primarily struggle with maintaining attention, organizing tasks, and following instructions.

2. Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: Those with this type might be restless, talk excessively, and make decisions without considering the consequences.

3. Combined Type: As the name suggests, this type presents a combination of inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms.

Debunking Myths about ADHD

Myth 1: ADHD isn’t a real disorder.
Truth:  ADHD is well-documented and decades of scientific research support its validity. Brain imaging studies have shown differences in brain structure and activity in individuals with ADHD.

Myth 2: People with ADHD just need to try harder.
Truth: Asking someone with ADHD to “try harder” is akin to asking someone with glasses to “see better” without them. ADHD is not a result of laziness, but rather differences in brain wiring that require tailored approaches to manage.

Myth 3: Only children have ADHD.
Truth: While ADHD is often diagnosed in childhood, many adults live with undiagnosed ADHD. ADHD is not something that you outgrow.

ADHD Superpowers

Aspects of ADHD can make life a little harder for individuals, and folks with this brain type have many unique gifts. They often possess a unique ability to see the big picture, and are able to make unique connections between concepts, seeing patterns and connections where others don’t. A few other of our favorite ADHD strengths include:

  • Innovative
  • Creative Problem Solvers
  • Excellent Intuition
  • Flexible
  • Multitasking
  • Drive and the ability to hyperfocus on their passions
  • Perseverance
  • Willingness to take risks
  • Leadership and their enthusiasm and energy can inspire those around them.

Learning to Thrive with ADHD  

There are many ways we can support individuals to overcome the frustrating aspects of ADHD and thrive in their personal and professional lives. Folks with ADHD often find the following approaches helpful:

– Behavioral Therapy: This assists in developing coping mechanisms and skills to manage ADHD symptoms. Skills could include study skills, planning and organization skills, and tools to decrease distractions and help focus.

-Medication: Some individuals find relief from symptoms through prescribed medications. It’s essential to consult with a medical professional to discuss potential benefits and side effects. Even with medication, most individuals benefit from learning skills and techniques in therapy to increase their executive functioning and ability to focus.

– Lifestyle Changes: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, adequate sleep, and mindfulness practices can contribute positively to symptom management.

Embracing Neurodiversity

At Therapy Austin, we believe in celebrating neurodiversity. By understanding and supporting individuals with ADHD, we not only enhance their lives but also the richness and diversity of our collective experience.

This Month, let’s commit to expanding our knowledge, showing compassion, and offering support to those living with ADHD. As we deepen our understanding, we can break down stigmas and create a world that’s inclusive and understanding for all.

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