Exceptional Individuals with ADHD
Need an ADDitional boost of motivation and inspiration?
One of my favourite things to do in my leisure time is watching TEDTalks! I am a life-long learner and am always fascinated by how many new things there are to know about the world we live in! There are so many talks out there on an incredible variety of topics, from microbiology to sleep science to black holes in space!
There are even TEDTalks on ADHD! This is amazing, not only because it brings awareness to the new insights on the condition but also the TED stage and the internet, of course gives those with ADHD the opportunity to educate and inspire those with and without the diagnosis.
When I took the time to work on and increase my self-awareness in terms of my ADHD specifically, it gave me the knowledge and the tools I was missing to have more productive and positive experiences in my everyday life.
When I listened to others' stories and experiences, it brought relief that I wasn’t alone in my struggles. After some, I even became emotional because it was so comforting to hear other individuals describing their experiences, their hardships and daily battles the same way I would have if I were the one up there.
These individuals instilled hope within that I could find solutions, use strategies and achieve anything I wanted too. These people and their stories, their knowledge, and epic accomplishments inspired me to believe in myself; and gave me the motivation I so desperately needed to use my ADHD qualities as an advantage and to focus on my strengths.
I still re-watch them to this day and am continually finding more amazing videos of exceptional individuals with ADHD, challenging their community’s expectations and breaking down the stigma and boundaries that society has tried to build around them.
I hope that these exceptional individuals and their stories inspire you just as much as they did for me.
10 TEDTalks of Exceptional Individuals with ADHD
1. Not Just LIVING but THRIVING with ADHD | Angela Aguirre | TEDxCalStateLA
Angela begins her talk with spoken word poetry, eloquently defining her hardships and feelings towards her self and circumstances. She discusses school and work as the two places where she experienced the most difficulty, but comes out the other side of adversity with an incredible story of entrepreneurship, success, lifting young women in her community to new heights and helping the art of poetry flourish within her community. She inspires self-love and self-awareness and that no matter what barriers you face, dreams are not silly, not to be taken lightly and create beautiful works of art for all to embrace.
2. Failing at Normal | Jessica McCabe |
At the age of 32, Jessica found herself completely lost with where she was going in her life, experiencing depression and feelings of failure, with one last try at creating something she could feel proud of in the career realm. She created a YouTube channel called “How To ADHD.” It has now become one of the most-watched and used educational resources on YouTube, fostering a thriving interactive community of ADHD “Brains” as she calls herself and those with ADHD supporting one another. Her “last attempt” at success became as massive achievement for not only herself but those who live with ADHD. Her story might make you shed a tear, but only because it is so relatable for so many of us with ADHD. Her perseverance and tenacity show all of us that we are all worthy of finding acceptance and that because our brains work differently, it brings incredible things into the world, that would not have been there otherwise.
3. What They Say | Rick Green | TEDxMohawkCollege |
An incredible Canadian with a long history in film and acting. Rick Green, who many may know from the “Red-Green” show. He talks about his childhood experiences, adversities he’s had to overcome, and the quirks that make him who he is. After being diagnosed with ADHD, quite late into his 40’s, he decided to educate himself on the condition and use that knowledge for the power of positive change. He created a documentary that helped a lot of adults reach out and find answers for themselves after it premiered on PBS. This documentary led to the creation of the website “Totally ADD” which has become incredibly popular and continues to aid those on a variety of topics. The site also includes a forum where ADHD issues and achievements can be discussed and so much more! This talk is genuinely unforgettable and is a must-watch!
4. ADHD Sucks, but Not Really | Salif Mahamane |
This young individual speaks about his school experiences and identifies some common mistakes and myths surrounding the ADHD stigma. He discusses his own experiences with mental health and ADHD and how he still works to overcome those today. He saw all of the positives and strengths of ADHD after doing more research and wanted to encourage and inspire others to see those same things; he previously was unable to see. He speaks powerfully and notes despite the symptoms of ADHD, it is how we use what we have that makes all the difference. “ADHD sucks… but Not Really!”
5. Making ADHD Your Superpower | George Cicci |
George Cicci, a successful entrepreneur and family man, describes some of the common ADHD symptoms, and experiences he had in elementary school. He brings up some of the unfortunate things said to him by adults about his abilities throughout his school career. George reflected on those moments in his life and realized he had the power to create the life he always saw for himself. All he had to do was work with his brain and not against it. ADHD is a superpower, and like Xavier in the X-Men, suggests that all we need to do is hone in on the tools, technologies and strategies that allow us to control and use our powers for good.
6. ADHD as A Difference in Cognition; Not A Disorder | Stephen Tonti | TEDxCMU
Stephen Tonti is an incredible speaker and public speaking veteran with all the enthusiasm and drama you could ask for in a TEDTalk. A jack of all trades, listing over 20 different pathways of learning he attempted, pulls you into the TEDTalk with eagerness to find out what he might say next. Courageous and passionate, Stephen points out how the view of ADHD in public and private, has been inherently wrong and damaging. He discusses how ADHD is a difference in cognition, and not a disorder to feel ashamed of or let others frown upon. He fills his speech with notes of English and Drama history and references to famous films that keeps you hooked to the very end, changing your perspective on ADHD and even on the boringness of Shakespeare – don’t believe me? Watch his talk and see for yourself, I guarantee, he will surprise you.
7. The Golden Benefits of ADHD | Thomas Idem | TEDxArendal
Thomas brings humour and lightheartedness to his discussion on what ADHD is at its core and how to understand it better. Discussing some of the more foundational areas of ADHD traits and mirroring the actual meanings behind the common symptom terminology. He highlights the ups and downs of his life path and how every wrong turn he took, with a positive attitude became the right path all along. He gained so many skills along his journey to embracing who he was and aims to help others understand the abundance of silver linings hanging among the clouds of ADHD.
8. ADHD In Our Community | John Park | TEDxShanghaiAmericanSchoolPuxi
John Park, a younger individual, braves the stage with loud encouragement from his peers. He shares some of his negative experiences from school and employs others to open their minds to understanding the differences in those with ADHD. He talks about how education and compassion can foster acceptance. John points out how vital advocacy and awareness is within the school system and that his accommodations are for equity and nothing more. His speech reinforces that no matter how young you are, you can advocate for yourself and be a leader in producing positivity and acceptance among your peers.
9. Not Wrong, Just Different: ADHD as Innovators| Rebecca Hession | TEDxFortWayne
Rebecca talks about her son’s experiences as a young child in the school system and how there are significant changes to be made towards supporting and fostering a diverse and thriving space where everyone can focus on their strengths. Every individual learns differently, and there are so many bright young minds that require a different learning environment than that of their peers. Just a few small changes can make a huge impact. The unique traits of her little boy, are seen in many of us with ADHD as children and her story is so inspiring for those in the education system and parents of children with the diagnosis.
10. ADHD from the inside | Toby Shaw | TEDxYouth@ISPrague
Toby is a fantastic speaker who breaks down some of the more traditional definitions and symptom descriptions of ADHD. He outlines the specifics of the disorder and explains how it feels for the person with the condition. Toby describes it in a way for those without ADHD to help them understand the diagnosis better. He also speaks about how watching videos of other stories inspired him, as well. Toby finds success in school after receiving his diagnosis; and connected with learning support specialists and used a few different types of accommodation. He highlights the advantages of ADHD and relates them to real-life experiences. Toby closes with acknowledging that yes, having ADHD makes some days harder than others, but with the right supports in place, ADHD is a genuine bonus.