Friday, March 24, 2006

The ADHD - Creativity Connection

In an earlier blog entry, I posted some information regarding a connection between mental illness and creativity. Now, it's time for some possible reasons for that connection. In this essay, author Justin Genovese discusses some of the reasons why those with ADHD might be more creative. What concerns me is that there is no recognition of this unique style of thinking on standardized exams. What I'll be looking for next is a study on whether or not students with ADHD do well on these tests. Is it possible for conceptual and creative thinkers to do well on tests which require such focus and linear thinking ability? What might a test look like if it were written by someone with ADHD? One more thing to think about - what if, rather than answering a series of questions, students (in a hypothetical class) were asked to compose their own questions at the end of a unit of study?

Citing a study by Bonnie Cramond
(The Coincidence of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Creativity, The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, 1995), Genovese writes,

In a 1992 study, a group of ADHD children and a group of normal children with similar backgrounds and IQs were compared. The ADHD group was found to have a higher creativity and more use of imagery in problem solving, as well as more spontaneous thoughts during a problem-solving exercise. One researcher hypothesized in 1980 that "Intelligent individuals who are bombarded by ideas seek to make sense of them by organizing them into new perceptual relationships. Thus the creative, original idea is born" (Cramond).

One creative solution to ADHD behavior, comes from Dr. Alejandro Terrazas at MediaBalance. He has invented a wireless device which rewards students/ clients with points for positive behavior. These points can then be used for television time (pay per view).

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