The Evolution of ADHD: The advantages of wandering attention

This article by Justin Garson has been published in Psychology Today. It begins:

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is often described by psychiatrists as a neurodevelopmental disorder, one marked by inattention, disorganization, and impulsiveness.

In contrast, some psychologists, psychiatrists, and anthropologists see ADHD not as a deficit or dysfunction but as a distinctive cognitive style, one with its own strengths and benefits.

A recent review of the evidence by child and adolescent psychiatrist Annie Swanepoel and colleagues (2022) makes the case for the latter. They argue that ADHD traits likely evolved in early human environments that rewarded exploration, novelty seeking, and movement, such as nomadic and migrating communities.

If they’re right, this has tremendous implications not only for education but also for how we talk and think about ADHD and other supposed ‘neurodevelopmental disorders.’ Instead of seeing ADHD as a deficit to be fixed, we should see it as a gift to be nurtured …”

You can read more from here.

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