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ADHD AF

Yesterday, I asked developers with ADHD to share their biggest challenges.

One of the more recurring themes that came up was around the stigma of having ADHD, and the struggle to fit into a working environment that frankly just doesn’t often work for neurodivergent folks.

I’ve known I’ve had ADHD since I was kid. My mom was really cool about not making it “a thing,” so I don’t have a lot of the internalized negative associations with it that some folks do.

I’m different, not worse.

In my mind, being ADHD is no different than being left-handed. There’s nothing about it I need to fix. I’m not broken. I’m not “giving in” to my condition.

A majority of the “challenges” with ADHD stem from a society built around neurotypical folks (just like lefties struggle with all-the-things being built for righties) rather than any personal failings.

Open office plans. Lots of little meetings and forced synchronous communication. Work built around and measured in two-week sprints. Social expectations around eye contact and beating around topics instead of addressing them directly.

There are things I’m far better at than most neurotypical people because of my ADHD.

I can focus extremely deeply on stuff I care about. I can generate a massive number of ideas in a very short amount of time. I’m swimming in more ideas than I can ever act on. I’m intensely creative and imaginative.

There’s also things I suck at and find far harder than a neurotypical person.

Cleaning up (except laundry—I love doing laundry). Doing any task I find boring.

I tailor my life around my strengths, and offload my weaknesses into tools or people who thrive on them the way I do my own strengths.

Much of this is true for many types of neurodivergence, not just ADHD. ADHD and ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) have a lot of overlap, and a lot of folks with one also have the other.

My point in all of this… I’ve found a lot of ways to make my ADHD work for me rather than hold me back, but I know a lot of my fellow neurodivergents struggle with that.

I’m putting together some resources or even a community around web devs with ADHD and ASD. I’m not sure what that will look like yet, but I know that I thrive in the company of like-minded people.

And if you have any ideas for the kinds of things that could help you or that you struggle with, reach out and let me know!