Meet Shaun Roney

ADHD and the Gift of Storytelling



I love when I can highlight the positive side of ADHD tendencies. One of these gifts, as I see it is the gift of storytelling. My dad is a prime example of this. As someone with "tendencies", he can tell a story like nobody's business!

Let me also be clear, my dad has not been diagnosed with ADHD, nor at the age of 79 will he probably seek out a diagnosis. Knowing that there is a genetic component to ADHD, I would say I highly believe that my dad is the person that I inherited some of my ahem, "tendencies" from.

For as long as I can remember, my dad has been captivating people with his ability to tell a story. He has this way of pulling the listener in and holding out just enough on the details as he goes along, that people are left wondering how the story will end. He's descriptive and engaging. He's both funny and serious. Just like a successful comedian whose timing can make or break their act, my dad inherently knows the "flow" of a good story.

Part of it is that he likes to talk. I mean really likes to talk. I actually mean he LOVES to talk. He usually refers to his gift of gab as "the Semien curse", laughs about it and keeps right on talkin'. Once he's got ahold of ya, it's hard to get away. But when it comes to storytelling, it comes in handy. It works for him. I've seen him use storytelling as a way to break the ice, to ease tension in a room and to captivate an audience. It's helped him through many a social situation.

When all else fails, tell a story.

A few years back, my sister Robyn Semien-Graef, a producer at This American Life was tasked with pitching a story from a parent. When she asked my dad if he had a story that he wanted to pitch for the show, he proceeded to share a story about himself. My sister crafted it in such a beautiful way, I thought I'd share it with you here. Enjoy!

One Switch (7 min long)