According to Thom Hartmann’s book ‘Attention Deficit Disorder: A Different Perception’ those with ADHD are the Hunters of society. I like that idea ‘Niall the mighty Hunter’ try telling that to Emma who has been carrying Lemsips to me all week due to another severe dose of the dreaded MANFLU. I’ve already went through two 8 packs of Kleenex in the last week, the Balsam ones with the protective balm to help prevent your nose becoming red or drying out. How manly is that?
However the hunter theory has actually some really good arguments. For instance, although people with ADHD tend to have short attentions spans they also can become extremely focused at certain times and this is known as Hyper-focus. Hyper-focus is an intense form of mental concentration or visualization which I imagine would be useful when hunting pray to feed your family or community. Probably not so useful when a teacher is trying to teach algebra and you’re focusing on a spider walking up a wall.
Scientists recently found a gene called DRD4 and some believe that it may back some of Hartmann’s ideas. This gene, also known as the Thomas Edison gene because those with the gene tend to have unusually high intelligence and although not limitied exclusively to those with ADHD, it has been found in many people displaying ADHD Traits. DRD4 is seen to have been a critical asset for the survival of ancient humans. If you were alive 10,000 to 50,000 years ago and happened to have this particular gene your chances of survival in the wild would have been greatly enhanced. If a family was hungry the hunters needed to be able to think outside the box, scan aggressively and be able to noticing everything around. Today this is what is known as distractibility and is typically seen as a negative trait.
School life as well as many modern work environments requires a person to be a good planner and well organised. The traits that the ADHD individual tends to lack is seemly replaced with impulsive behaviours causing individuals to make careless and snap decisions. Again picture the hunter with the ability to throw his or herself into the chase, flexible and ready to change strategy at a moment’s notice. Or let us imagine a parent teacher meeting a thousand years ago.
Parent teacher meeting, Year 1015AD
Teacher: Your child fails to follow instruction.
Hunter Parent: As a hunter my child is naturally independent.
Teacher: But your child is a day dreamer
Hunter Parent: Your classes bore my child, he needs excitement. He has evolved over millions of years to hunt and provide food for the community and yet you confine him to a chair in a stuffy room and expect him to conform to this unnatural environment.
Teacher: You may have a point, but your child acts without consequences and is lacking in social graces.
Hunter Parent: A hunter child has natural instincts that allow him to take risks and face danger. My child, like me, puts performance before politeness and it seems to me that my child is not failing you, YOU ARE FAILING MY CHILD.
In my personal and professional experience the modern day school system as well as many adult learning colleges and universities are failing to meet the needs of countless potential modern day Thomas Edison’s.
One last thought before I go off and sneeze for the millionth time this week. For those who still think ADHD is a new, made up condition. Read the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a classic novel by Mark Twain released in 1884 about a boy called Tom Sawyer who was a curious, hyperactive, restless and reckless child who always got in fights with friends and had trouble with authority figures and tell me you don’t see ADHD.
Niall now offers One to One support for people affected by ADHD support through Skype. If you wish to avail of this support service please contact Adult ADHD NI by Email – Niaadhd@gmail.com