The Top Five TED Talks for Parents of Children with ADHD

By Dr. Mary Rooney, Ph.D.

TED Talks are inspiring video presentations from influential speakers on a wide range of topics including health, science, education, and creativity. When it comes to topics related to ADHD, speakers often have personal experience and encourage us to think differently about what it means to be different in a society that prizes conformity. When you’re feeling bogged down by the extra work that comes with parenting a child with ADHD, these invigorating talks may just give you the boost that you need.

Here are the top five TED Talks that I recommend for parents of kids with ADHD.

Failing at Normal: An ADHD Success Story
Speaker: Jessica McCabe
Jessica McCabe, host of the popular YouTube channel, How to ADHD, talks about her journey from being a bright child with a promising future to a struggling young adult unable to find her way personally or professionally. Frustrated with continually not reaching her full potential, Jessica embraced her ADHD diagnoses and carved out her own path to success.  

ADHD As a Difference in Cognition, Not a Disorder
Speaker: Stephen Tonti
When he presented this TED Talk, Stephen Tonti was a senior at Carnegie Mellon University majoring in Film Directing. He shares his personal experiences with ADHD and explains how he has come to realize that ADHD is not actually a deficit in attention, as the name would imply, but a difference in cognition. Stephen argues that once we understand these differences, they can be harnessed and used to turn passion and interest into real world success.

What Happens in Your Brain When You Pay Attention
Speaker: Mehdi Ordikhani-Seyedlar, PhD
In this talk, Dr. Ordikhani-Seyedlar, a computational neuroscientist specializing in machine learning, discusses what is happening in our brains when we pay attention. He describes in easy to understand language the complex processes our brains go through when focusing on something specific while filtering out irrelevant information. Through his research, Dr. Ordikhani-Seyedlar hopes to build computer models that can treat ADHD, and his talk may very well give you a glimpse into the future of ADHD treatment.

Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator
Speaker: Tim Urban
Everyone procrastinates, and individuals with ADHD procrastinate even more! In one of the most popular TED Talks available, blogger Tim Urban take us on a humorous journey through his daily struggle with procrastination. While Tim tries not to take himself too seriously, the struggle is real. He encourages viewers to think differently about why we procrastinate and how we can maintain productivity even when our minds push us to veer off course.

The Power of Introverts
Speaker: Susan Cain
Not all kids with ADHD are extremely talkative and outgoing, as the stereotype suggests. In fact, many kids with ADHD – especially those with the inattentive subtype – are more reserved and introverted. They’re frequently overlooked by teachers and peers and struggle to find their place in the world. In this highly popular TED Talk (viewed over 4 million times its first year), Susan Cain celebrates the strengths of introverts and the unique insights and abilities that they bring to the table.



Mary Rooney, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco. Dr Rooney is a researcher and clinician specializing in the evaluation and treatment of ADHD and co-occurring behavioral, anxiety, and mood disorders. A strong advocate for those with attention and behavior problems, Dr. Rooney is committed to developing and providing comprehensive, cutting edge treatments tailored to meet the unique needs of each child and adolescent. Dr. Rooney's clinical interventions and research avenues emphasize working closely with parents and teachers to create supportive, structured home and school environments that enable children and adolescents to reach their full potential. In addition, Dr. Rooney serves as a consultant and ADHD expert to Huntington Learning Centers.


Huntington Learning Center is the tutoring and test prep leader. Its certified tutors provide individualized instruction in reading, phonics, writing, study skills, elementary and middle school math, Algebra through Calculus, Chemistry, and other sciences. It preps for the SAT and ACT, as well as state and standardized exams. Huntington programs develop the skills, confidence, and motivation to help students of all levels succeed and meet the needs of Common Core State Standards. Founded in 1977, Huntington's mission is to give every student the best education possible. Call us today at 1.800.CAN LEARN to discuss how Huntington can help your child. For franchise opportunities please visit

This website does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only.

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