Celebrities with ADHD Find Success

Celebrities with ADHD Find Success

Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can be a challenge for parents and teachers, yet these children also have traits that can take them far in life. They are typically creative, passionate people who can find great success if they can get beyond the years they struggled as children. Many people think Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Benjamin Franklin had some type of learning disability or ADHD. We have several celebrities today who have spoken out about their experience with ADHD.

Ty Pennington Diagnosed with ADHD as an Adult

Ty Pennington, the spokesman for Adderall XR, a medication used to treat ADHD, talks about his experience with attention deficit difficulties. In an interview with Ability magazine, he shares how his hyperactivity made school difficult for him:

“With ADHD, one of the things is, you can read a whole chapter in a book and not remember one word. The second one is, you are so distractable that you just cause chaos in the classroom. So not only was I the class clown, but I never really had a chance to learn much because it just didn’t sink in, mainly because I was being disciplined the whole time.”

Ty talked about how his confidence was shaken because of how adults looked down on him, and it wasn’t until he was beginning college that he was diagnosed and started medication to help his struggle.

His confidence has surely grown now that he is a world-known designer. He was on Trading Spaces for several years, and now is known for his creativity and personality on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Ty has come out with a home fashion line available at Sears and is now a household name.

Michael Phelps Wins Gold Despite ADHD Diagnosis

Michael Phelps’ mother believed in him when nobody else did. His teachers complained that he wouldn’t sit still or focus on his work. In ADDitude Magazine, she tells how she used creative strategies to help him with schoolwork, and advocated for him at school. She stressed good sportsmanship when he started swimming, and cheered him on when the sport became a passion for him.

Phelps has won 14 Olympic Gold medals, and broken 37 world records in swimming. While he spent some time in the news recently for some poor decisions, no one can deny that Michael Phelps has indeed become something despite his childhood teachers’ predictions.

Howie Mandel Struggled with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

According to the Organized Wisdom website, Howie Mandel announced in 2008 that he was diagnosed with adult ADHD, but realizes now that the struggles he had as a child were as a result of attention deficit problems and hyperactivity. He struggled with schoolwork and behavior problems, which eventually caused him to be expelled from school as a teenager.

Today, Mandel speaks out about adult ADHD in public service announcements. He is a well-known comic and more recently associated with the television show, Deal or No Deal.

Not every child with ADHD will become a famous celebrity, but success isn’t defined by popularity and a large paycheck. Ty Pennington, Michael Phelps, and Howie Mandel all struggled as children, but pursued their talents and passions to overcome negative perceptions about them.

Parents of children with ADHD can focus on their child’s strengths and giftedness to avoid discouragement brought on by the negative labels put upon them. Celebrate their uniqueness and encourage them as they grow. Focus not only on today, but their potential for the future.


Ty Pennington Interview with Chet Cooper, Ability Magazine, Accessed February 2010

Dutton, Judy. ADHD Parenting Advice from Michael Phelps’ Mom, ADDitudemag, accessed February 2010

Organizedwisdom website, accessed February 2010