The Many Faces of ADHD - Ty Pennington
Ty Pennington is host of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. He also owns a boutique in Los Angeles called ADHD (Art Design Home Décor), publishes a quarterly home decorating magazine, has a line of home fashions at Sears and is a spokesperson for Shire Pharmaceuticals. Ty Pennington is successful by all measures. During his childhood, however, it was not apparent to teachers he would lead a successful life. At one point, he was the "worse" child in the school.
In an interview for ABILITY Magazine, Ty explains what it was like to grow up with ADHD: "Well, to be honest with you, that was difficult. First of all, what a lot of people probably misunderstand is, there's ADD and then there's ADHD. [For more on ADHD, see page 43] And the "H" stands for "hyperactivity." And if you are a child with an enormous amount of hyperactivity, school itself, along with the learning process, goes right out the window. I mean, I was so out of control that I spent most of the time in the hallway or in detention. What was really interesting was that my mom was actually studying to be a child psychologist at the time, and went to my elementary school to test the worst kid they had. She was pretty shocked when the principal and the administration sent me up there. She was like, "Oh, my God!" and I was like, "Hey, what's up?" Then she observed me in class and within 30 minutes, I was wearing my desk. I swung to the blinds, I climbed out the windows, I ran around naked, I slapped Johnny in the back of the head. So I was what you call "a classic distraction."
Ty was diagnosed with ADHD when he entered college. Throughout his high school years, he was the class clown and would receive good grades one year and barely pass the next year. He understands having ADHD can cause low self-esteem. Because of the many struggles throughout his school years, Ty states he did not start to develop a healthy self-esteem until, as an adult, he moved away from home. He thinks this is because the people around him at home still saw him as a child with ADHD and could not see him as an adult. Once he moved away from home and he was around people that did not know him as the kid with ADHD and could accept him as an adult.
Ty has been able to accomplish and end up exactly where he wanted to be. He is able to use his creativity in creating something unique, designing and building furniture and in designing a line of home fashions. Ty went to his first design school when he was 10 years old and attended the Art Institute of Atlanta after high school. His career, he believes, is "a dream come true."
"Ty Pennington to Host ADHD Program", 2005, Sept 21, Tom Harrison, Health News
"Ty Pennington: "And You Thought You Were Busy", Date Unknown, Author Unknown, Ability Magazine