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 solving. (Cramond).
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 developed.
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.
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 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 materials.”
Art therapy won’t cure ADHD, but it is a great strategy to reduce the symptoms of the disability.
Because of the loneliness students with ADHD feel, art therapy has shown to be a great intervention.
“ 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.
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. Please enjoy! …My pictures of the artwork do not do them justice! …