ADHD and Intelligence 210 Aug

Robert Wilford, Ph.D. and Sarah Ferman, Psy.D., L.M.F.T.

Think of the problem from this perspective: a non-ADHD individual is like an automobile navigation system with a destination in mind. Even with several possible routes to consider, executive function takes over and helps make a quick decision about the best route to take. For an ADHD mind, this problem can be much more challenging to resolve, particularly for the ones who have a high IQ. They very well might have an excessive number of ideas in their head, but difficulty taking these ideas and translating them into a plan of action. In other words, if a navigation system had ADHD, instead of rapidly analyzing, planning, prioritizing, and then choosing one of the routes, it would merely shut down because of a sense of perceived boredom with the task at hand.

You might also think of the problem as a physical to-do list. The more intelligent an ADHD individual is, the longer that to-do list is, because their mind is sharper and better able to think of items to put down — but that still doesn’t enable someone with impaired executive function to organize and prioritize the items on that list. The standard for what a highly intelligent ADHD individual finds interesting actually increases, while their ability to focus on things that lack their interest is comparable to those ADHD individuals possessing a lower IQ.

It is for this reason that many ADHD individuals find it necessary to seek treatment. Instead of feeling constantly overwhelmed by a barrage of thoughts and ideas that they cannot arrange into a logical and approachable sequence, ADHD individuals can finally get a straightforward response and start focusing their attention on just one idea at a time. Without this assistance, a highly intelligent ADHD individual could actually feel lower self-esteem and confidence than an ADHD individual of average intelligence, because they have even more ideas that they don’t know what to with.

Ultimately, the revelation is that ADHD and intelligence are not mutually exclusive. Some ADHD individuals are geniuses, some are of average intelligence, and others are mentally disabled — just like non-ADHD individuals. As long as they are able to take control of their many ideas and organize them in such a way that they can put them into practice, ADHD individuals can overcome the impairment of their executive function and be successful in their daily lives.

Leave a Reply


Most medical doctors who treat ADD/ADHD do so as part of a larger practice. ADHD Specialists focuses primarily on only treating ADD and related conditions. This intense focus allows us to continually sharpen our clinical skills, attend specialized training, utilize the latest therapies, and build our process to meet the specific needs of our clients.

Often medical, testing and counseling services are all separately owned and located practices. It just does not make sense to have to travel from one location to another to treat the same condition. Besides the issue of time and travel, how cohesive and effective is care being delivered in multiple locations by multiple, unrelated providers who don’t have time to talk to each other?

We Are Conveniently Located

in the Northern area of Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, in the City of Encino, near the 405 and 101 freeway interchange.
15720 Ventura Blvd. #503

Encino, CA 91436
[mappress mapid="2"]