Thursday, September 19, 2013

ADD: A Gift or Curse?

On Tuesday night I was invited to attend a meeting/book promotional event put together by Mark Patey - a famous pilot and businessman from Spanish Fork. He is a celebrated ADD-er and wanted to share his unique viewpoint and discoveries with parents, teachers and fellow ADD-ers. His book "Addicts and Millionaires" will be coming out soon and will help erase some of the stigma surrounding ADD.

We met at his TSO - Top Secret Office - where almost no one has been before. It's a private hangar at the Spanish Fork airport, which was pretty awesome. We got to see some planes he built and the Search and Rescue helicopter he uses to help in emergencies. This plane is the one GM approached him to build - and then he used it to break the Transcontinental Flight Speed record by 48 minutes!

We got free Cafe Rio, which is always gonna win me over. We mixed and mingled, as they say, and then settled in for the presentation from Mark Patey and his Equal Opposite - Dave Neilson

My +1 Tayler and another one of the cool planes

Mark shared his persepective of ADD with us - that it's a gift! There is such a negative stereotype of ADD. The name itself says it's a DEFICIENT DISORDER. "There's something wrong with you." "Something is lacking." "You're not good enough."

Why is that the case? Their brains literally think differently, but why does that have to be bad?

ADDers are 3x more likely to do drugs to help take the edge off their constantly revving brains. This is what teachers, parents and society often focuses on. "Sit still." "Stop fidgeting." "Why can't you just do this right now and finish?" "Let's fix you."

 ADDers are also 3x more likely to be self-made millionaires, because their creativity, drive and intelligence makes them incredibly effective! Why aren't we utilizing that energy? Why aren't we giving them the options and support they need? We should be.

Every ADDer needs at least one Equal Opposite - a person who can be their complementary strength, not force or rush them, and keep them thinking positively about themselves and others. Anyone can become an Equal Opposite by accepting ADDers, compensating for their weaknesses and expanding on their strengths.

Things I Took Away:

  • Let them fidget, walk around or pace. Most ADDers need to be doing at least 3 things at once to function. 
  • Allow them to think creatively - tap that creative brain!
  • If they want to work on something else, let them. They will be more productive and eventually come around to the thing you want them to do. 
  • Don't ignore the addictive nature of the condition. Allow them "healthy addictions" that can help them unplug and slow down their brain - movies, exercise, games, etc. Make sure these have an end point (unlike video games which they could addictively play for 3 days on end).
  • Give them time to recharge and make sure they are feeling ok regularly. Sometimes you won't know they're too wound up until it's too late and they are non-functioning.
 I'll be getting an early edition of their book soon that I'll read and review on the blog for you. I'll be posting more about their philosophies and ideas for ADDers.

If you have ADD/ADHD or someone you love has it, please check out for information and resources. We need to help these kids see their value and help them in ways that will actually HELP.

These kids are superheroes and millionaires, not just crazy addicts. Let's turn the tide against ADD!


  1. I love this Danica! As someone who has a majority of family members with ADD, and prescribed ADD by my mother (I would be absolutely floored if a doctor said I didn't have some form of ADD), it sounds like such an interesting and new perspective. Basically I have a super family. I'm still waiting on those millions...

  2. Good read, Danica! While I was in grade school, my teachers and even principal urged my mother on several occasions to put me on Ritalin or similar medications. Luckily for me, my mother absolutely refused. A few years later, I may still have been a bit over-talkative, fidgety, etc... but I was able to skip a grade, and still perform at the top of the class. I attribute my academic success to this day 100% to my Mother's unwillingness to stifle my behavior, but rather teach me to deal with it. Now I am a top student with a national fellowship at a top rated engineering school who STILL struggles every day to get ready and out the door without being distracted with unfinished projects a dozen times or more.

    The bit about having an equal opposite struck me. As I already mentioned, while growing up, my mother was that person. What's interesting is how I naturally gravitated to Krissta, now my wife, who supports me in every way, and is the artist to my scientist, caretaker to my absent-mindedness, and calming voice to my busy head. This post just made me realized how lucky I've been to have these two. I may have been more in the 'addict' category without them!