How do I recognize an interest-based ADHD nervous system?
Clinicians often ask, “Can you pay attention?” And the answer is typically, “Sometimes.”
This is the wrong question. Parents, loved ones, and teachers answering it often express frustration because they have seen you hone in on something you enjoy – like video games – for hours, so your inability to conjure that same focus for other tasks and projects is interpreted as defiance or selfishness.
Instead, practitioners should ask, “Have you ever been able to get engaged and stay engaged?” Then, “Once you’re engaged, have you ever found something you couldn’t do?”
Anyone with ADHD will answer along these lines: “I have always been able to do anything I wanted so long as I could get engaged through interest, challenge, novelty, urgency, or passion.”
“I have never been able to make use of the three things that organize and motivate everyone else: importance, rewards, and consequences.”