What do these people have
(besides that they are famous!)
Robert Frost Frank Lloyd Wright
Virginia Woolf Nikola Tesla
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Thomas Edison Michael Phelps
Terry Bradshaw Chris Kaman Ty
Pennington Robert Toth Woody
Dustin Hoffman Jim Carey
Robin Williams Will Smith
Babe Ruth Michael Jordan
Leonardo da Vinci Albert Einstein
Wrigley Benjamin Beethoven
Franklin Sir Issac Newton Galileo
Alexander Graham Bell Steven Spielberg
Abraham Lincoln Mozart
Woodrow Wilson JFK Winston Churchill
Hans Christian Anderson
Agatha Christie Picasso Van Gogh
Ansel Adams Tom Cruise
… And nearly 5 million children between the age
of five and nineteen.
they all have
• Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
• Considered to be a neurobehavioral developmental
• Challenges with:
– Questioning of authority
– Building relationships
– Emotional and psychological issues
“Being ADHD means you see
things other people miss. When
you see a peach you see a piece
of fruit. I see the color, the
texture, and the field where it
grew.” (Matthew Kutz,
a 13 year old student with ADD)
• The quality or ability to create or invent
something; originality (wiktionary)
• The extremely creative means that an
individual has the capability to take clear
and recognizable parts of information and
link them in entirely new ways.
• This can happen in an art class, writing
music, performing a dance, directing a
movie, writing a poem, pretty much
anywhere you could thing of.
What is the relationship
ADHD & CREATIVITY?
There is a likelihood that structural
variations in the brain are connected to the
differences in cognitive functioning that are
visible as ADHD or creativity.
Neurobiological abnormalities are
described in both the research on ADHD
(Hynd, Hern, Voeller, & Marchall, 1991)
and the research on creativity (Herrmann,
1981; Torrance, 1984).
The possibility of structural differences in the
brain being a link between ADHD and
creativity was strengthened by some
empirical evidence provided by Shaw (1992).
She found that a group of bright, ADHD
children exhibited greater crossed eye-hand
dominance and left laterality than a group of
normal children matched by age, sex, and IQ.
The ADHD group also had higher figural
creativity and more use of imagery in problem
Bachtold (1980) proposed, after observed
experimentation, that brain differences
trigger the process of creating new ideas.
She claims gifted individuals who are
overwhelmed with thoughts and ideas
need to organize them into new perceptual
relationships to make sense of them. As a
result, an innovative, creative idea is
More relations between
ADHD & CREATIVITY!
There have been similar personality traits
that predispose people to display behaviors
that are typical of both ADHD and creativity.
Experts (Hynd, Hern, Voeller, Marchall,
Hermann, & Torrance) believe that ADHD
and creativity go hand-in-hand. Their studies
have shown that brain patterns in individuals
with ADHD are similar to that of individuals
who are highly creative.
These three well-known people, along
with many other people with ADHD are
extremely creative and have become
successful human beings!
• Robert Frost was forced to leave school
because of nonstop daydreaming.
• Virginia Woolf was said to be an excessive
talker throughout school.
• Frank Lloyd Wright needed to be yelled at
by people around him because he was in
a trancelike state while daydreaming.
Not always …
I’m not saying that every creative individual
exhibits impulsivity, hyperactivity, or
distractibility, or am I saying that every
individual with ADHD will be highly creative.
With my experience in special education and
researching the topic, I have noticed a
significant relationship between individuals with
ADHD and their ability to be highly creative.
The next slide is a video of
Sir Ken Robinson’s lecture on how
educational systems should nurture
creativity, not undermine it.
This is a thoroughly entertaining video with
many outstanding points. Fifteen minutes
into the video, Sir Ken Robinson speaks
about a famous choreographer and dancer
who has ADHD. He tells her story and how
she dealt with ADHD.
ART THERAPYART THERAPY
• Art therapy is an expressive form of
therapy that uses art materials – paints,
clays, markers, charcoal, etc.
• It merges “traditional psychotherapeutic
theories and techniques with an
understanding of the psychological aspects
of the creative process, especially the
affective properties of the different art
• Art therapy won’t cure ADHD, but it is a
great strategy to reduce the symptoms of
ART THERAPYART THERAPY
• Because of the loneliness students with ADHD
feel, art therapy has shown to be a great
• “For ADD/ADHD children, who struggle
constantly against the effects of poor self-
awareness and low self-esteem, art therapy
offers a pathway to health and transformation
that uniquely meets their expressive needs.”
• It provides for a safe environment where
students are able to safely express their
thoughts and feelings.
The art process is aThe art process is a
healing process.healing process.
After researching, talking with my
students, reflecting on my
experience with special education,
and observing. I have collected
some magnificent work from my
students with ADHD.
…My pictures of the artwork do not do them justice! …
I want to thank my
students for providing such
Music: “Hide & Seek” by Imogen Heap