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Attention deficit disorder is all about distraction…until it’s not! One of the most surprising aspects of ADHD is hyperfocus—a person’s ability to home in on a specific task, sometimes to the exclusion of everything else.
Someone with an interest in computer programming may happily hunt for a bug in thousands of lines of code, regardless of the fact that he usually can’t sit still. A musician may write a symphony in only a few weeks.
A Blessing and a Curse
Unfortunately, hyperfocus can’t be reliably sustained or controlled. When parents tell me how their daughter breezed through a challenging science fair project only to settle into a spotty classroom performance, I know that she was hyperfocusing. Adults can find that kind of focus in a new job—working intensely for a year, say, to fix major problems in their department. When things finally run smoothly, they lose interest and move on.