Celebrating Inattention:
ADHD, Neurodiversity, and Multiple
Intelligences
Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D.
www.institute4learning.c...
Neurodiversity
An idea which asserts that atypical
(neurodivergent) neurological
development is a normal human
difference ...
History of Neurodiversity
1997 - Coined by Judy Singer
1998 - First use in media - Harvey Blume
2004 - New York Times – Am...
Principles of Neurodiversity
• The Brain is a Rain Forest
• Cultural Values Dictate Disorders
• Success = Adapting to the ...
5
Neoteny: retention of juvenile
characteristics in the adults of a
species
―a major evolutionary trend in human
beings" i...
ADHD or Creative?
• ADHD (deficit)
• Hyperactivity
• Distractibility
• Impulsivity
• Hyper-Focus
• Poor Executive
Function...
Niche Construction
• Helping to ensure the thriving of an
organism by directly modifying the
environment in such a way tha...
Positive Niche Construction
• Helping to ensure the thriving of an
individual by directly modifying the
environment in suc...
Components of Positive Niche
Construction
• Strength Awareness
• Positive Role Models
• Assistive Technologies
• Strength-...
Strength Awareness Tools
• Multiple Intelligences Diagnostic
Assessment Scales (MIDAS)
• Clifton StrengthsFinder
• Torrenc...
Positive ADHD Role Models
• Leonardo da Vinci
• Jim Carrey
• Thomas Edison
• Richard Branson
• James Carville
• Paul Orfea...
ADHD Assistive Technologies
• Personal organizer software and apps
• Reminder devices
• Goal-planning software and apps
• ...
ADHD Strength-Based Learning
Strategies
• Expressive Arts
• Martial Arts
• Color Coding
• Visualization
• Stress Reduction...
ADHD Support System
• Personal Organizer
• Body Double
• ADHD Coach
• Psychotherapist/Counselor
• Family Physician
• Trust...
Positive ADHD Careers
• Emergency room physician
• Itinerant Teacher
• Entrepreneur
• Building contractor
• Private Detect...
Positive ADHD Environmental
Modifications
• Space to work and move
• Frequent breaks
• Squeeze balls
• Exercise area
• Get...
The Nine Intelligences
• Word Smart
• Number/Logic Smart
• Picture Smart
• Body Smart
• Music Smart
• People Smart
• Self ...
MI Inventory for Adults p.1
Check those statements that apply:
Linguistic Intelligence
__ Books are important to me.
__ I ...
MI Inventory for Adults p. 2
19
Spatial Intelligence
__ I often see clear visual images when I close my eyes.
__ I’m sensi...
MI Inventory for Adults p. 3
20
Musical Intelligence
__ I have a pleasant singing voice.
__ I can tell when a musical note...
MI Inventory for Adults p. 4
21
Intrapersonal Intelligence
__ I regularly spend time alone meditating, reflecting, or thin...
MI Inventory for Adults p. 5
22
Existential Intelligence
__ I think a lot about life and death
__ I get into serious discu...
References p. 1
• Armstrong, Thomas. The Myth of the ADD Child: 50 Ways to Improve Your Child‘s Behavior and
Attention Spa...
References p. 2
•Edelman, Gerald. Neural Darwinism: The Theory of Neuronal Group Selection. New York: Basic, 1987
•Eisenbe...
References p. 3
•Shearer, Branton, Multiple Intelligences Diagnostic Assessment Scales (MIDAS). www.miresearch.org.
•Singe...
Contact Information
• Email: thomas@institute4learning.com
• Website: www.institute4learning.com
• Blog: http://institute4...
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Presentation - Celebrating Inattention: Neurodiversity, ADHD, and Multiple Intelligences, Institute for Challenging Disorganization 2013 Conference, Denver, CO, September 20, 2013

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These are the handouts for a 90 minute keynote that I did for the 2013 national conference of Institute for Challenging Disorganization, held in Denver, CO, September 20, 2013. Around 150 professional organizers who work with chronically disorganized people attended the event.

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Presentation - Celebrating Inattention: Neurodiversity, ADHD, and Multiple Intelligences, Institute for Challenging Disorganization 2013 Conference, Denver, CO, September 20, 2013

  1. 1. Celebrating Inattention: ADHD, Neurodiversity, and Multiple Intelligences Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D. www.institute4learning.com Institute for Challenging Disorganization ―Climb to New Heights‖ Conference September 20, 2013 Denver, CO. 1
  2. 2. Neurodiversity An idea which asserts that atypical (neurodivergent) neurological development is a normal human difference that is to be recognized and respected as any other human variation. 2
  3. 3. History of Neurodiversity 1997 - Coined by Judy Singer 1998 - First use in media - Harvey Blume 2004 - New York Times – Amy Harmon 2005 - A Mind Apart, Susanne Antonetta 2005 - Neurodiversity/Autism Pride Day 2009 – UK Study – Higher achievement in those who see themselves as neurodifferent 2013 – Wired Magazine – has ‗‘shaped the planet's past 20 years—and will continue driving the next‘‘ 3
  4. 4. Principles of Neurodiversity • The Brain is a Rain Forest • Cultural Values Dictate Disorders • Success = Adapting to the Environment • Success = Changing the Environment • Niche Construction Modifies the Brain 4
  5. 5. 5 Neoteny: retention of juvenile characteristics in the adults of a species ―a major evolutionary trend in human beings" is ‘greater prolongation of childhood and retardation of maturity.‘― J.B.S. Haldane
  6. 6. ADHD or Creative? • ADHD (deficit) • Hyperactivity • Distractibility • Impulsivity • Hyper-Focus • Poor Executive Function • Creative (asset) • Vitality • Generativity • Spontaneity • Passion • Creative Imagination 6
  7. 7. Niche Construction • Helping to ensure the thriving of an organism by directly modifying the environment in such a way that it enhances that organism‘s chances for survival. 7
  8. 8. Positive Niche Construction • Helping to ensure the thriving of an individual by directly modifying the environment in such a way that it enhances that person‘s chances for success. 8
  9. 9. Components of Positive Niche Construction • Strength Awareness • Positive Role Models • Assistive Technologies • Strength-Based Learning Strategies • Enhanced Human Resource Network • Affirmative Career Aspirations • Positive Environmental Modifications 9
  10. 10. Strength Awareness Tools • Multiple Intelligences Diagnostic Assessment Scales (MIDAS) • Clifton StrengthsFinder • Torrence Test of Creative Thinking • VIA Character Strengths and Virtues • Johnson O‘Connor Aptitude Testing 10
  11. 11. Positive ADHD Role Models • Leonardo da Vinci • Jim Carrey • Thomas Edison • Richard Branson • James Carville • Paul Orfeala (Kinkos) • Emily Dickinson 11
  12. 12. ADHD Assistive Technologies • Personal organizer software and apps • Reminder devices • Goal-planning software and apps • Biofeedback training • Noise Cancelling Earphones • Mind-Mapping Software • Internet Distraction Minimizing Software 12
  13. 13. ADHD Strength-Based Learning Strategies • Expressive Arts • Martial Arts • Color Coding • Visualization • Stress Reduction Strategies (e.g. Yoga) • Hands on Learning • Background Music 13
  14. 14. ADHD Support System • Personal Organizer • Body Double • ADHD Coach • Psychotherapist/Counselor • Family Physician • Trusted Friend • Family Therapist • Support Group 14
  15. 15. Positive ADHD Careers • Emergency room physician • Itinerant Teacher • Entrepreneur • Building contractor • Private Detective • Craftsperson • Forest ranger • Recreational worker 15
  16. 16. Positive ADHD Environmental Modifications • Space to work and move • Frequent breaks • Squeeze balls • Exercise area • Getting out in nature • Chairs that move • Mini-trampoline in office 16
  17. 17. The Nine Intelligences • Word Smart • Number/Logic Smart • Picture Smart • Body Smart • Music Smart • People Smart • Self Smart • Nature Smart • Life Smart 17
  18. 18. MI Inventory for Adults p.1 Check those statements that apply: Linguistic Intelligence __ Books are important to me. __ I can hear words in my head before I read, speak, or write them down. __ I get more out of listening to the radio or a spoken-word cassette than I do from television or films. __ I enjoy entertaining myself or others with tongue twisters, nonsense rhymes, or puns. __ Other people sometimes have to stop and ask me to explain the meaning of the words I use in my writing and speaking. __ English, social studies, and history were easier for me in school than math and science. __ When I drive down a freeway, I pay more attention to the words written on billboards than to the scenery. __ My conversation includes frequent references to things that I’ve read or heard. __ I’ve written something recently that I was particularly proud of or that earned me recognition from others. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence __ I can easily compute numbers in my head. __ Math and/or science were among my favorite subjects in school. __ I enjoy playing games or solving brainteasers that require logical thinking. __ I like to set up little “what if” experiments (for example, “What if I double the amount of water I give to my rosebush each week?”). __ My mind searches for patterns, regularities, or logical sequences in things. __ I’m interested in new developments in science. __ I believe that almost everything has a rational explanation. __ I sometimes think in clear, abstract, wordless, imageless concepts. __ I like finding flaws in things that people say or do at home and work. __ I feel more comfortable when something has been measured, categorized, analyzed, or quantified in some way. Adapted from Thomas Armstrong,7 Kinds of Smart, New York: Plume, 1999
  19. 19. MI Inventory for Adults p. 2 19 Spatial Intelligence __ I often see clear visual images when I close my eyes. __ I’m sensitive to color. __ I frequently use a camera or camcorder to record what I see around me. __ I enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles, mazes, and other visual puzzles. __ I have vivid dreams at night. __ I enjoyed art a lot in school. __ I like to draw or doodle. __ Geometry was easier for me than algebra in school. __ I can comfortably imagine how something might appear if it were looked down upon from directly above in a bird’s eye view. __I prefer looking at reading materials that have lots of pictures in them Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence __ I engage in at least one sport or physical activity on a regular basis. __ I find it difficult to sit still for long periods of time. __ I like working with my hands at concrete activities such as sewing, weaving, carving, or model building. __ My best ideas often come to me when I’m out for a long walk or a jog, or when I’m engage in some other kind of physical activity. __ I sometimes get “gut feelings” about things (e.g. I actually feel it in my body). __ I frequently use hand gestures or other forms of body language when conversing with someone. __ I need to touch things in order to learn more about them. __ I enjoy daredevil amusement rides or similar thrilling physical experiences. __ I would describe myself as well coordinated. __ I need to practice a new skill rather than simply read about it, or see a video that describes it.
  20. 20. MI Inventory for Adults p. 3 20 Musical Intelligence __ I have a pleasant singing voice. __ I can tell when a musical note is off-key. __ I frequently listen to music on radio, records, cassettes, or compact discs. __ I play a musical instrument. __ My life would be poorer if there were no music in it. __ I sometimes catch myself walking down the street with a jingle or other tune running through my mind. __ I can easily keep time to a piece of music with a simple percussion instrument. __ I know the tunes to many different songs or musical pieces. __ If I hear a musical selection once or twice, I am usually able to sing it back fairly accurately. __ I often make tapping sounds or sing little melodies while working, studying, or learning something new. Interpersonal Intelligence __ I’m the sort of person that people come to for advice and counsel at work or in my neighborhood. __ I prefer group sports like soccer, volleyball, or softball to solo sports such as swimming, jogging, and weight training. __ When I have a problem, I’m more likely to seek out another person for help than attempt to work it out on my own. __ I have at least three close friends. __ I favor social pastimes such as Monopoly or bridge over individual recreations such as video games and solitaire. __ I enjoy the challenge of teaching another person, or groups of people, what I know how to do. __ I consider myself a leader (or others have called me that). __ I feel comfortable in the midst of a crowd. __ I like to get involved in social activities connected with my work, church, or community. __ I would rather spend my evenings at a party than stay at home alone. Adapted from Thomas Armstrong,7 Kinds of Smart, New York: Plume, 1999
  21. 21. MI Inventory for Adults p. 4 21 Intrapersonal Intelligence __ I regularly spend time alone meditating, reflecting, or thinking about important life questions. __ I have attended counseling sessions or personal growth seminars to learn more about myself. __ I am able to respond to setbacks with resilience. __ I have a special hobby or interest that I keep pretty much to myself. __ I have some important goals for my life that I think about on a regular basis. __ I have a realistic view of my strengths and weaknesses (borne out by feedback from other sources). __ I would prefer to spend a weekend along in a cabin in the woods (or some other solitary place) than be at a resort with lots of people around. __ I consider myself to be strong willed or independent-minded. __ I keep a personal diary or journal to record the events of my life. __ I am self-employed or have at least thought seriously about starting my own business. Naturalist Intelligence __ I have pets that I love and/or enjoy animals when I’m around them. __ I enjoy gardening and/or like to have plants around me at home or work. __ I can find my way around unfamiliar natural terrain with some ease. __ I like to visit nature museums, aquariums, zoos, or other places that display living things. __ I prefer to spend my free time in some kind of natural setting (e.g. lakes, mountains, rivers, etc.). __ I sometimes just enjoy looking at clouds, mountains, trees, or other natural formations. __ I have an ability to identify different kinds of birds, plants, or other living things. __ I have a pretty highly developed sense of ecological awareness and/or sense of responsibility for helping to take care of Mother Earth. __ I enjoy TV programs and/or reading about nature topics (e.g. Nature on PBS or National Geographic). __ I have been involved in organizations or clubs that focus on nature issues (e.g. Sierra Club, bird study group, hiking group, animal rescue etc.). Adapted from Thomas Armstrong,7 Kinds of Smart, New York: Plume, 1999
  22. 22. MI Inventory for Adults p. 5 22 Existential Intelligence __ I think a lot about life and death __ I get into serious discussions with my parents, religious authorities, friends, or others about religious, spiritual, or philosophical issues __I have had special experiences that lifted me out of the everyday concerns of life and into a deeper perspective about the universe. __I spend time by myself thinking about the meaning of life, existence, God, death, or other existential themes. __I’ve had dreams that had to do with the nature of existence, the purpose of life, the meaning of our time on this planet, or other similar cosmic issues. __I’ve had a brush with death that caused me to look at life in a totally different way. __I read a lot about philosophy, religion, or the cosmic dimensions of science. __I’ve had special psychic, mystical, spiritual, or other non-ordinary experiences that I couldn’t really explain to anyone around me. __I’ve participated in some kind of religious, spiritual, or philosophical community activities that have been very meaningful to me. __I’ve found meaning in engaging in meditation, reflection, prayer, or some other individual experience that have opened me up to the bigger questions of life. Adapted from Thomas Armstrong,7 Kinds of Smart, New York: Plume, 1999
  23. 23. References p. 1 • Armstrong, Thomas. The Myth of the ADD Child: 50 Ways to Improve Your Child‘s Behavior and Attention Span without Drugs, Labels, or Coercion. New York: Plume, 1997. • Armstrong, Thomas. 7 Kinds of Smart: Identifying and Developing Your Multiple Intelligences. New York: Plume, 1999. • Armstrong, Thomas. Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom, 3rd ed. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2009. • Armstrong, Thomas. The Power of Neurodiversity: Unleashing the Advantages of Your Differently Wired Brain. Cambridge, MA: DaCapo Lifelong, 2010. • Armstrong, Thomas. Neurodiversity in the Classroom: Strength-Based Strategies to Help Students with Special Needs Succeed in School and Life. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2012. • Becker, K, M. Laucht, M. El-Faddagh, M. H. Schmidt, ‚‗The dopamine D4 receptor gene exon III polymorphism is associated with novelty seeking in 15-year-old males from a high-risk community sample .‗‗ Journal of Neural Transmission, June 2005, Volume 112, Issue 6, pp 847-858, • Blume, Harvey. ―Neurodiversity,‖ The Atlantic, September 30, 1998. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1998/09/neurodiversity/30590/ • Ceci, S.J. and J. Tishman (1984). "Hyperactivity and Incidental Memory: Evidence for Attention Diffusion," Child Development, 55,6: 2192-2203 • Crammond, Bonnie. ‗‘Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Creativity: What is the Connection?‘‘ Journal of Creative Behavior, 1994, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 193-210. • Doidge, Norman. The Brain that Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science. New York: Penguin, 2007. • 23
  24. 24. References p. 2 •Edelman, Gerald. Neural Darwinism: The Theory of Neuronal Group Selection. New York: Basic, 1987 •Eisenberg, Dan, and Benjamin Campbell, ‗‘The Evolution of ADHD: Social Context Matters,‘‘ San Francisco Medicine, October 2011, pp. 21-22. •Galvin, Matthew R. Otto Learns About His Medicine: A Story About Medication for Children with ADHD. Magination Press, 2001. •Johnson O‘Connor Aptitude Testing, http://www.jocrf.org/. •Kolb, Bryan, etc. ‗‘Age, Experience and the Changing Brain‘‘, Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Review, March 1998. •Montagu, Ashley. Growing Young. New York: Praeger, 1988. •Murphy, Patricia J. Never Eat Soggy Waffles: Fun Mnemonic Memory Tricks. Enslow Publishers, 2009. •Odling-Smee, F. John et al. Niche Construction: The Neglected Process in Evolution. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2003. •Rath, Tom. StrengthsFinder 2.0. Gallup Press, 2007. •Rosenzweig, M. R., Bennett, E. L., & Diamond, M. C. (1972). Brain changes in response to experience. Scientific American, Vol. 226, pp. 22-29. •Shaw, P., et al. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is characterized by a delay in cortical maturation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, December 4, 2007, Vol. 104 No. 49, pp.19649–19654. 24
  25. 25. References p. 3 •Shearer, Branton, Multiple Intelligences Diagnostic Assessment Scales (MIDAS). www.miresearch.org. •Singer, Judy. ―Why Can‘t You Be Normal for Once in Your Life,‖ in Marian Corker and Sally French (eds), Disability Discourse, Buckingham, England: Open University Press, 1999, p. 64. •Taylor, Andrea Faber & Frances E. Ming Kuo. ‗‘Could Exposure to Everyday Green Spaces Help Treat ADHD? Evidence from Children's Play Settings. ‗‘Applied Psychology: Health and Well- Being, 2011, Vol 3, no. 3, pp. 281 – 303. •Torrance, E. Paul. ‗‘Torrance Test of Creative Thinking. ‗‘ Scholastic Testing Service. http://ststesting.com/ngifted.html •VIA Institute on Character, VIA Survey, http://www.viacharacter.org/www/. •Waugh, Rob. ‗‘Messy desks in the office can actually lead employees to think more clearly, say researchers.,‘‘ Daily Mail, January 19, 2012. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article- 2088359/Messy-desks-office-actually-lead-employees-think-clearly-say-researchers.html •Zylowska, Lidia. The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD: An 8-Step Program for Strengthening Attention, Managing Emotions, and Achiev ing Your Goals. Trumpeter; Pap/Com edition, 2012. 25
  26. 26. Contact Information • Email: thomas@institute4learning.com • Website: www.institute4learning.com • Blog: http://institute4learning.com/blog/ • Twitter: @Dr_Armstrong 26

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