Learning about ADHD: Blog Post 1/4

  • Laura Teutsch
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This past Saturday, I attended a conference hosted by the Centre for ADHD Awareness Canada.  This conference gave me the opportunity to learn about ADHD and how it affects all aspects of a person’s life.  I’d love to give you some of my take-aways from each of the presentations I attended. Follow my blog over the next four days to learn about each of the presentations.

Opening Keynote

"The Neurobiology of ADHD: A Focus on the ADHD Brain" by Dr. Kenny Handelman

The opening keynote speaker, Dr. Kenny Handelman, spoke to us about the neurobiology of ADHD, focusing on how the brain works differently for those with ADHD and those without.  Dr. Handelman explained that the prefrontal cortex (the logical part of the brain) of a person with ADHD develops with a three-year delay as compared to those without ADHD, but the emotional part of the brain develops at the same, faster, rate.  This could explain the higher levels of impulsivity of those with ADHD.  If we’re being driven by the emotional part of the brain, of course we’ll be more impulsive; with each desire or spurt of anger that comes upon us, the less-developed logical brain will have a harder time reasoning with us about whether we should act upon them.

Dr. Handelman also described the Default Mode Network in our brain which is responsible for suppressing “background noise” when we’re trying to focus on something or pay attention to something.  Dr. Handelman suggested a theory of ADHD as a disorder of this network.  Again, this makes sense.  Those with ADHD do not choose to be easily distracted, it’s not something they can just turn off, their brain has a harder time tuning out those other things that are going on at the same time.

Dr. Handelman is also the author of a book, “Attention Difference Disorder”, which is a reminder that those with ADD or ADHD actually do not have a deficit in attention, in fact, often they’ll be hyper-focused on a task. We just all have different ways in which we focus.  And Dr. Handelman suggests that we can turn these differences into strengths.  I can’t wait to read his book!

Come back tomorrow to learn about “Living with ADHD: Can Self-Awareness Set You Free?”