The truth about what exactly is ADD can be confusing. There are many interpretations out there each claiming to be the right one. ADD is a disability. ADD is a brain type. ADD is an executive function disorder. So how does one navigate the confusing waters of these competing definitions? How do you decide which claim is the most widely supported and bears up to the scrutiny of research and the medical community?

I have spent a life time coming to terms with “attention deficit disorder” called “minimum brain dysfunction” when I was growing up. At this stage of my life and my career, I can look back on having been professionally involved with thousands of children and adults who needed to make sense of their brain and their behavior. During that time, my clients have taught me many things about who they are, what they can and cannot do, and why. Almost all of these adults and children have shared most of the same characteristics and have had similar life experiences and emotional issues as a result. The majority of them have been very bright, creative and gifted people with exceptional problem solving skills and ability to compensate for what they lack. From them I learned compassion, patience, perseverance, strategy, solutions and inventiveness, and love. Yes I did say love. They taught me to love myself so I could appreciate and love them.

So what have I learned as someone with ADHD, a masters degree and thesis on Autism, a wide background working in clinical and special education settings in schools where I co-founded and ran programs, and in the last 14 years working primarily with adolescents, college students and adults? The only way I can sum I up is to say that by and large ADD as we now refer to it is an asset. That does not mean there are not behavior issues associated with this brain type. It does not mean that people with ADD are not at times annoying, clueless, impulsive, distractible and bad communicators with accompanying anger issues, depression and anxiety. People with this brain type can have some or all of these to varying degrees.

However, what I have found to be more true than not is that people with this brain type are smart and quick to solve problems like polio, how the universe really works, and how to harness electricity. They were not afraid to be the first to fly across the ocean, become president, invent the automobile, create Disneyland, build corporate empires, write books that have become classics, and become some of the most famous composers of all time. They have been Olympic gold medal winners, many of our best singers and musicians, funniest comedians, and most accomplished actors.

To me it is obvious that people with this brain type can accomplish great things in spite of their issues with impulsivity and organization. In fact it is often because of their impulsivity and difficulty with linear organization tasks that they excel in the things that really matter to them and the world. Trying to find a cure to polio using a linear designed thinking mechanism may not have worked for Jonas Salk. On the flip side, setting up support structures in the environment of people with issues focusing and staying on task is a no-brainer and not really hard to do. It’s a matter of understanding what is needed and then putting it in place. I’ve seen it work over an over again with well informed and understanding managers, co-workers, supervisors, and colleagues. With the right schedule, good communication and permission to use their skills in ways that allow them to be great performers, people with so called “ADD” excel.

By not learning more about thus brain type and by continuing to shame, embarrass, and devalue those who possess it, we are cutting off our nose to spite our face. We are not only missing the boat on some major accomplishments in industry, medicine and science, we are killing the possibility of solutions to important world problems. People with this brain type can be helped to develop better habits and skills for their personal and professional lives with the help of Coaching and Counseling from trained experts. The rest of us can learn how to support and communicate successfully with them by getting educated on what exactly this brain type is and how it really functions.

If you want to become an “Ally for ADD” by learning more, or if you have ADD and want information, please visit: or contact Carol at:

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 beyond their issues, and develop the skills and confidence to achieve better results in their academic, professional, and personal lives.