I recently heard that there is a new program being funded that is designed to inspire and teach innovative thinking to students in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades. Since this is where new generations of innovators get their start, I believe this is an idea well worth supporting.If we can reach kids before they enter high school,our chances of getting them on a math and science track are much greater. Businesses looking for the future technology whiz kids, and corporations that need to keep growing and innovating in the technology arena, all understand the importance of educating the newest breed of innovators if they want to stay competitive.

There seems to be more and more talk about the United States' position in the world economy and why we seem to be losing ground to other countries.I believe that what is causing us to lose our economic and political foot-hold around the globe is our lack of competitive edge. For a long time that most critical competitive edge has been our near monopoly on innovation. However, the innovation that has driven our economy and social system in the past is weakening. Chief among the reasons for this is that our educational system from middle school through high school is no longer supporting new generations of innovative thinkers in the numbers and the caliber we need.

In addition to lack of programs and initiatives in the lower levels of our eduction system to develop and educate children from this country, businesses and the US Government find themselves in the position of having to import creative minds from other countries. And because our Colleges and Universities are so sought after, we continue to educate more and more innovators from outside our borders. However, it is no wonder that when faced with so with so little employment opportunities, those same innovators return to their home countries, taking their skills and superior education with them.

While it is important for us to be looking at the ways in which we compete and fit in as members of the global economy, there continues to be an important group that has not been invited to the table -people diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Through our own short-sightedness, we are not supporting a very important segment of our population who has capabilities to secure our competitive place in the world. Why are we not noticing them? How are they the innovators we need?

The ways in which we have failed to harness their remarkable talents has to do mostly with labeling the ADD brain type as a disability with deficits. Our perspective on whether someone is an asset or a deficit reliably predicts how we will relate to them. People who are "disabled" are not typically people we think of as capable of changing the course of history. However, that is exactly what those labeled ADD have done throughout history. We have mistaken traits such as disorganization, unfocused attention, the lack of follow through, and impulsiveness as signs of a deficient human being. Actually, when we look at the gifts of the success gene belonging to people labeled with ADD, we come to a completely different conclusion. We find instead that they possess highly creative ideas, first class problem solving skills, off the charts intelligence, and intellectual gifted-ness. This isn’t just my opinion. This is what I have observed and learned from my interactions for over 30 years, both personally and professionally with thousands of people labeled with Attention Deficit Disorder.

It is time to turn this bus around and stop wasting the promise of this gifted talent pool! Here is my prescription of what we need to do; if we, as a society, are willing to do these things, we can change the wrongful perception that people with ADD are incompetent and instead start recognizing and encouraging their unlimited potential!

** Acknowledge the ADD brain type in early elementary school as unique and special; begin to teach children behavior management skills so their gifts don’t get lost in their struggles to fit in and meet expectations.

** Give these rapid-fire brain types greater challenges in middle and high school so they don’t stop paying attention and lose interest. This will help them learn to develop their gifts.

** Train managers and supervisors in the workplace to support the success of “difficult employees” many of whom will have been diagnosed with, or fit the profile of, the ADD label. It is easier to provide structure and behavior management tools for this particular group of employees than to lose the outcome of their considerable talents.

** Remember that many CEOs have this rapid-fire thinking brain type. Help them understand both their assets and their liabilities so they can do what they do best and enlist other people to do the rest. With the right self awareness and assistance, they will rise to the top and take their companies along with them.

If you think this is a call to action, it is. So get on board and help me spread the word. Together we can change the definition of ADD from a deficit and disability to an asset and important strength.

Author's Bio: 

Carol Gignoux, M.Ed. is a well established expert within the ADHD coaching, consulting and training profession with over 35 years experience working with ADHD and over 16 years as a professional coach. Carol and her team of experts specialize in coaching adults, couples, small business owners, and entrepreneurs who want to move their businesses from being successful to extraordinary, and develop the skills and confidence to achieve better results in their academic, professional, and personal lives. Carol is currently writing her book, The Asset: Your Success Gene and the Myth of ADD.