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Engineering Education Study Looks to Tap Strengths of ADHD Students

People with ADHD often have poor time management skills and, depending on the tasks, have trouble focusing and can be prone to procrastination. But ADHD is also strongly associated with the ability to think quickly in unconventional ways – the kind of thinking that can find solutions to the types of complex problems that engineers often encounter.

By Lynn Phillips
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ( ADHD), often called attention deficit disorder (ADD), begins in childhood and can persist in adulthood. ADHD manifests as a chronic pattern of behavior that includes difficulty focusing and maintaining attention, chronic disorganization, impulsivity, and difficulty perceiving time. Hyperactivity may or may not be a part of the pattern. ADHD affects the executive functions of the brain, such as prioritizing, planning, executing and completing, and paying attention to detail. Although ADHD often runs in families, it is highly treatable, usually with a combination of medication, lifestyle changes, and adaptive skills that “work around” its symptoms.
The National Institute of Mental Health ( estimates that 3 percent to 5 percent of all children have ADHD. Nearly 25 percent of those related to a child diagnosed with ADHD also have ADHD (compared with roughly 5 percent of the general public), which adds up to nearly 8 million people. Of these, 80 percent to 90 percent are undiagnosed and may be unaware that they have the condition.The ABA’s most current estimate (summer 2006) is that there are 1.1 million lawyers in the United States; thus, roughly 44,000 lawyers may have ADHD, the majority undiagnosed.

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