Calgary researcher challenges ADHD stereotypes

A Calgary researcher is hoping to turn the negative label of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder around.

A Calgary researcher is hoping to turn the negative label of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder around.

Emma Climie is studying children with ADHD in her lab at the University of Calgary.

She said their strengths are often overlooked.

"I think that there's been many years of deficit-focused research, and we're very good at understanding what these kids can't do," said Climie. "You can ask any classroom teacher or parent about ADHD and they can give you a list of things they can't do. But I think teachers would have a hard time saying what they can do and I think that's kind of the big piece."

She says the kids she works with are very smart, they just need some extra help reaching their potential.

"Teachers hear ADHD and they just think, ‘Oh, this kid's going to be a lot of extra work and so many difficulties with it,’" said Climie. "And I think that's one of the big pieces that I'm hoping to bring with my research is not only an awareness of ADHD and what it actually is, but also how we're able to help these kids in the classroom."

She said she's found that creative tasks and extracurricular activities help reduce anxiety in children with ADHD.