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You CAN Succeed with ADHD – These Guys Prove It!

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common neurobiological condition affecting around 5% children, many of whom still experience difficulties as adults. ADHD is caused by a chemical imbalance in the management systems of the brain and experts now believe that this disorder has hereditary, psychological and biological factors.
Dealing with ADHD can be very difficult, and once diagnosed, you’ll often be diagnosed medication, and perhaps offered other treatment to help you control the impulses and symptoms of ADHD.
But did you know there are many people diagnosed with ADHD who have become very successful nowadays?

These people have learned self-management and proved to the world that despite their condition (or perhaps because of it!) they have achieved their dreams. Commonwealth Games medal winners Louis Smith and Ashley McKenzie are two of the best examples of successful people with ADHD.

Louis_Smith_2012_balconyLouis Smith, 24, started gymnastics when he was 4 years old.  As a child he was hyperactive and he tried a lot of sports, including football, basketball, hockey, and climbing, to try and use up his excess energy. He had a talent for gymnastics but was often sent out of training for bad behaviour.

Louis was very restless, loud, and couldn’t sit still, and had difficulty sleeping, but he wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD, and prescribed Ritalin, until he was 7 years old.

However, his diagnosis did not stop him from doing what he loves. Gymnastics taught him discipline and respect. He put all his focus and concentration into gymnastics, stopped getting into so much trouble, and stopped taking medication when he was 12, as he was able to control his condition better and felt the drugs affected his gymnastics.
In 2008 he won a bronze medal for the p9ommel horse at the Beijing Olympics – the first time a Brit had won a medal in gymnastics since  1928. He went one better at the London 2012 Games when he won silver, as well as a bronze as part of the men’s artistic gymnastics team. And in 2014 he competed in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and won bronze in the individual event and a prized gold medal as part of the team!

Louis has expanded his career beyond gymnastics though. He is a public speaker, TV presenter and starred in a Channel 5 documentary about ADHD.

Ashley_McKenzieAshley McKenzie is 25 now but as a child he was diagnosed with asthma, eczema, ADHD and obsessive compulsive disorder. He also had heart problems and has undergone heart surgery.

Ashley was motivated to start martial arts after a playground fight over a stolen Pokémon card when he was a little boy. His health issues limited his options – he couldn’t do boxing so he started taking judo lessons instead. He admits he was a “bad boy” when he was younger, and he got in some trouble with the police, but focusing on judo helped him to cope with his ADHD – judo became his release.

Ashley excelled in judo, but suffered disappointment when he exited the London 2012 Olympics in the second round. However, two years later he competed in Glasgow at the Commonwealth Games and won gold. He has also been a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother, coming fifth in 2012!

Ashley does a lot of charity work, including for ADHD charity ADDISS, and he also gives motivational talks to youngsters. He is an inspiration to young people with ADHD everywhere.

Louis Smith photo: Wikimedia Commons / los_bandito_anthony

Ashley McKenzie photo: Wikimedia Commons / Jim Thurston

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