The #1 ADHD podcast

on iTunes, hosted by

The #1 ADHD podcast on iTunes, hosted by

Dancing With ADHD: Embracing the Hyperactive Side of Neurodiversity Through Teaching With Dana Sproule

by Faster Than Normal

Having ADD or ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Hear from people all around the globe, from every walk of life, in every profession, from Rock Stars to CEOs, from Teachers to Politicians, who have learned how to unlock the gifts of their ADD and ADHD diagnosis, and use it to their personal and professional advantage, to build businesses, become millionaires, or simply better their lives.  Our Guest today in their own words:  Dana Sproule, is a passionate teacher and literacy coach who loves learning about “neurodiversities” and loves working with students who have them.  She was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult and suddenly her impulsive, hyperactive, obsessive and passionate behaviour and thinking started to make sense.  Dana is now grateful to have a good awareness of ADHD, and realizes you can only recover with awareness and knowledge.  Recently she has noticed connections between ADHD and individuals who are in 12 step recovery programs.  Looking ahead to the future, Dana believes there should be a substantial increase in ADHD testing and support in our educational systems, so hopefully this could help our future generations avoid the pitfalls individuals with a little less dopamine can run into. Enjoy! 

[You are now safely here]

00:40 – Thank you again so much for listening and for subscribing!

00:41 – Introducing and welcome Teacher and Literacy Coach, Dana Sproule!!

01:45 – So what’s your backstory?

ADHD traits in children and people attending AA meetings and thinks AA should acknowledge the connection.

06:50 – Ironically hyperactive people love singing, dancing, sports, but struggle with small talk and team sports.

09:35 On Breaking the stigma: ADHD acceptance and progress towards destigmatization

12:00 – Hope for a future without stigma.

00:00 -Ever want to pursue a degree in Psychology? Here are some other good topics Dana Sproule and Peter Shankman discussed today.. that you will learn more about if you will tune-in 🙂

– Dana’s personal experience of being diagnosed with ADHD as an adult

– Discussion of the connection between ADHD and addiction

– The need for more research in the area of neurodiversity and addiction

– Correlation between neurodiversity and incarceration rates

– Personal experience of being open about their ADHD and its positive impact on their job search

– Progress in society’s understanding and acceptance of ADHD

– Sharing knowledge and observations with teachers and principals

– Criticism of negative stereotypes and misinformation surrounding ADHD

– Advocacy for play-based learning and outdoor time in schools

– Discussion of ADHD testing in schools and the potential benefits

– Comfort and relief in realizing one has ADHD and eliminating shame

– Importance of openness and the harmful effects of secrets and shame

– Noticing ADHD behaviors in students and personal associations with ADHD

– Observations of ADHD traits in participants of Adult Child of Alcoholics and Al-Anon meetings

– Connection between ADHD and partners attending Alcoholics Anonymous

– Suggestion for incorporating a brain-based component into the twelve-step program

13:00 –  How do our hot subscribers find out more about you? 

Web:  Ms. Sproule is not a big fan of socials, but if you have a question you may email her [email protected] or you can contact us for her address. 

[Ms. Sproule did not verbally share her email address -Ed]

14:11 – Hey, hellooo from Earth!!@ ERF!  YEs! You right there with the cool earbuds and big grain Golden brain! Yes YOU dear!  We are THrr~rilled that you are here & listening!! Repeat in forward and to your kiddo’sx!  ADHD and all forms of Neurodiversity are gifts, not curses. -Peter Shankman. And ooh-ooh now.. and just by the way, if you haven’t picked up The Boy with the Faster Brain yet, it is on Amazon and it is a number #1 One bestseller in all categories. Click HERE or via My link tree is here if you’re looking for something specific.

0000 – Faster Than Normal Podcast info & credits. Guys, as always thanks so much for subscribing! Faster Than Normal is for YOU! We want to know what you’d like to hear! Do you have a cool friend with a great story? We’d love to learn about, and from them. I’m and you can reach out anytime via email at [email protected] or @petershankman on all of the socials. You can also find us at @FasterNormal on all of the socials. It really helps when you drop us a review on iTunes and of course, subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t already! As you know, the more reviews we get, the more people we can reach. Help us to show the world that ADHD is a gift, not a curse!  All right, guys, as always, than you for listening. Love that you’re here. Any news, shoot us a note. go to everywhere but Twitter. We are on Blue Sky now at Peter Shankman on Blue Sky. [Ed- I will siphon -in BlueSky and learn about that next week!! If not in two or so, cooL??  -Ed]

[Also Ed here. SorryIFneedbe: This is still a relatively brand new experiment in editing show notes, transcriptions sort of; so if you notice any important, or significant goofs we’ve missed here or along, please do let us know @FasterNormal  Thanks! -sb] 

TRANSCRIPT via and then corrected.. somewhat. 

Peter Shankman [00:00:39]: Hi, guys. Welcome to another episode of Fast Add Normal. My name is Petershankman. I am your host, as I have been for, my god, almost seven years, and I’m thrilled that you’re here. It’s great to have you, as always, this podcast wouldn’t be without you guys, so it’s great that you’re back for another episode. We have Dana Spool with us today. She is a teacher in the Toronto public school system. She’s a literacy coach, and she loves learning about neurodiversity and working with students who are neurodiverse. She was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult, and suddenly her impulse of hyperactivity, obsessive and passionate behavior and thinking started to make sense. She has a good awareness of ADHD and realized you can only recover with awareness and knowledge. And the thing that interested me about her is that she’s noticed connection between ADHD and individuals who are in twelve step recovery programs. So Dana, welcome to the podcast, and let’s start with that. What have you noticed?

Dana [00:01:27]: Yeah, so I realized I had ADHD as an adult, but I grew up knowing my brother had it. I’ve been working in this school for so many years, and sometimes I can be on like a Zoom meeting and I see a kid fidgeting or I see their kids, like, darting around, even on the computer. And I think, I think that kid probably has ADHD. And then maybe I self disclose, maybe I talk about you, or maybe I talk about Michael Jordan or other people who I really respect who have ADHD, and then the kid who I suspect have it might say, oh yeah, I have ADHD too, and then we might start talking about it. Right. So my marriage ended in September, and I started attending ACA, adult Child of Alcoholics and Al anon. That’s if you were married to somebody or you’re in a relationship with somebody who has an issue with alcoholism. So I started attending those meetings and I started attending AA open speaker meetings. And just a lot of the people, especially the people who I found to be interesting, I was like, I think this person has ADHD, because I would see them fidgeting, drinking coffee, a lot of them smoke, and a lot of them would have crazy stories and impulsive behavior. And I had some people disclose to me like, oh yeah, my husband who attends AA, he has ADHD or whatever. So I’ve had some people even admit it to me, and I just find it really interesting. And I’ve been doing a lot of reading about it and thinking about my ADHD behavior, maybe my obsessions, my impulsivity. And then I realize those are things that people work through when they’re doing these twelve step programs. So what I think is the people who invented AA, they’re geniuses. These steps are beautiful. It’s a wonderful spiritual program, but I think they’re missing maybe the brain based component of thinking, hey, I think some of the people in this program, they’re also struggling with ADHD. So that’s just something I’ve kind of noticed, and I’ve read some other things about it as well.

Peter Shankman [00:04:08]:

Well, there’s obviously a lot of correlation between addiction and different types of neurodiversity. I think that some of us who are in ADHD have also been in Twelve Step and have dealt with addictions, myself included. I think, though, that it’s interesting to make that connection. I think that there needs to be a lot more research I think there is a connection, but I’m not a scientist and neither are you. I think there needs to be a lot more research done to sort of examine that. Some studies have come out and said 65% of people in prison incarcerated in the United States have some sort of neurodiversity and undiagnosed. So I think there is a lot of work that needs to be done in that area. You mentioned that you noticed this in children. Have you ever thought about going into perhaps getting a degree in psychology or something like that?

Dana [00:04:57]: Well, I took psychology as my undergrad, and then I college and maybe in the future. But what you were talking about how they test people in prisons. I really think they should do math testing in the schools. And I read that in Hamilton, which has a different school board. I heard that they’re testing all the kids there for ADHD. And I really think that they should do that in all schools because the ADHD checklists are very simple, you know what I’m saying? And I don’t think it would be very hard to do. And I think once you realize that you have ADHD, you’re like, okay, I’m not weird, I’m not crazy. There’s nothing wrong with me. It’s just my dopamine. And I think once you realize you have it, you just feel so much better. And I think secrets and shame are so harmful to everybody, including children. And I really hope as time goes by, they’ll start doing more things like that. But yeah, maybe in the future I will study more. I don’t know. I’ll see what happens with that.

Peter Shankman [00:06:19]: How long have you been teaching?

Dana [00:06:22]: A long time, since 2006. I worked in England for two years. Interesting. Yeah.

Peter Shankman [00:06:31]:

Tell us about growing up without being diagnosed. What was it like for you?

Dana [00:06:41]:

It was kind of hard because I have hyperactive ADHD and I would that’s.

Peter Shankman [00:06:48]:

Rare for that’s rare for women.

Dana [00:06:50]:

Yeah. But I I love to sing, I love to dance, I love sports. Okay? When I was a kid and I was like living in my parents house, I would always be dancing around, add singing. And I remember my parents and my brother would be like, do you have to stop singing? Can you stop dancing? I love moving and I love playing sports. And in school I would always get in trouble because I would never sit in my seat. I would like to stand up and walk around and I would always ask to go to the bathroom and than if I would go, I would just take so long because I’m just kind of like I don’t want to go back in that room and I don’t want to sit in the desk. I am hyperactive and I still am. And I think that’s one reason why I am a teacher, because I can move around, right? I’m never sitting at a desk. I’m always like moving around the class. I sit with this person, I sit with this person, then I go here, then I go there. So I love that I’m free. And when I work with special needs kids, sometimes I work with them for 15 minutes and then I take them to the gym and I play basketball, right? So I’ve been like that my whole life and I’m still like that. So I’m hyperactive. And I’m also what is it called, the inattentive type. I love psychology, I love talking about ADHD, I love talking about twelve step programs, and I love politics, okay? But if somebody talks to me about taxes, accounting, boring crap, in my opinion, if it’s boring crap, I just tune it. Also, when I was in school, maybe teachers would be talking about, I don’t know, I’m trying to think Shakespeare or something that I didn’t like. I would look at them and I would pretend that I was listening, but I really wasn’t. And I still do that. I still do that and that’s hard. So that kind of makes me sometimes struggle in my relationships because I really hate small talk and I only like to talk about what I like. So that’s how I struggled as a kid, but I’m still struggling with that.

Peter Shankman [00:09:25]: Interesting. Where do you see it going in terms of in a perfect world, what do you see happening over the next ten years in the neurodiverse space?

Dana [00:09:35]: I want to say about you, I really love you. Not that I want to marry you and have your baby, because I think I know you have a girlfriend. But what I love about you is that you’re very open about it and you’re honest about your ADHD and you talk about the good things about it, like how you do cool things, how you can hyper focus how you know what you like and you’re passionate about it. Okay? So I think there’s a lot of beautiful things about ADHD and I think we should focus on that and we shouldn’t be ashamed of it, okay? And I feel very lucky with where I work because even on one of my hiring questions for this job I just had, they were like, do you have any disabilities, including invisible disabilities? And then I’m like, hey, yeah, I do. I have ADHD. And then I don’t know if this is why, but they called me like half an hour after my interview and they’re like, oh, you have the job. So I think there is progress going on. And I’m seeing that and I’m very honest, I tell kids, I tell everybody that I have it. And a lot of the times, basically in any class I’m in, there might be two or three kids, oh, I have it too, I have it too. Or I tell my cert teacher, or I tell my principal, you know what, I think this kid has ADHD. I have it, my daughter has it, my brother have like I know so many people that have it. I’m pretty sure this kids have it. And then they might be like, oh, I have it too, dana right? So I am seeing change and I am seeing progress because when I started working so many years ago, I didn’t think I had it because I thought it was just boys who were really bad, okay? And I remember one time I worked at a school and I was just in the photocopy room and I overheard these two teachers talking about this boy. And one teacher was like, oh, I think this guy, I think he has ADHD. And then the other teacher was like, no, he doesn’t have ADHD. He’s smart, he’s smart. And I don’t know who said these things or if these things were written like, I don’t know, 30 or 40 years ago, I have no idea. But I still think there’s a lot of fake news and negative stuff out there that’s not true. So I think that’s a problem. And I also think there’s a problem with our school system because in Ontario, they have play based learning, JK and SK, right? So every day they have 2 hours where they get free play and they get to explore. They have a lot of outdoor time. And when you go to these classes, the kids are engaged, they’re having a lot of fun. The little ones who you think, oh, I think they have ADHD. You see them moving around the class and building stuff and doing what they want, right? But then when they get to grade one, all that goes away, right? Then they are basically at their desk. They don’t have as much freedom, they’re not outside. And I think in some countries, like Finland, they don’t push the kids to be sitting at desks all day long, right? So I think we have all this research, we have all this knowledge, but not everybody knows these things and some people still don’t believe in it. Some people still think, oh, you look normal, you’re intelligent, it doesn’t Steven exist. So I think there’s still than stigma. But I think the more people who are honest about it and talk about the good things about it, I think over time I’m hoping when my daughter has kids, hopefully there won’t be any stigma. That’s what I hope, but we’ll see.

Peter Shankman [00:13:45]: What happens day at a time, I guess.

Dana [00:13:47]: Awesome.

Peter Shankman [00:13:48]: Very cool. Dana Sproule, thank you so much for taking the time to be up fast and normal. How can people find you?

Dana [00:13:53]: Well, you can put my email address. This is strange, maybe this is ADHD too, but I don’t really like going on social media because I get addicted to it, so I’m not even on social media. But if somebody wants to ask me a question or whatever, I’m happy to answer. Email out certainly will.

Peter Shankman [00:14:11]: Very cool. All right, Dana, thank you so much for being here. Guys, thank you for listening, as always. If you like what you hear, leave us a review. You can grab the new book Boy with Faster Brain, add the old book Fast than Normal. Everything else you can find me at [email protected]. Greatly appreciate you being here. We will see you next week. Stay safe, stay well. Take care. 

Credits: You’ve been listening to the Faster Than Normal podcast. We’re available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google play and of course at I’m your host, Peter Shankman and you can find me at and @petershankman on all of the socials. If you like what you’ve heard, why not head over to your favorite podcast platform of choice and leave us a review, come more people who leave positive reviews, the more the podcast has shown, and the more people we can help understand that ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Opening and closing themes were composed and produced by Steven Byrom who also produces this podcast, and the opening introduction was recorded by Bernie Wagenblast. Thank you so much for listening. We’ll see you next week! 


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