Leonardo Da Vinci appeared to suffer from ADHD – how much more could he have achieved in his lifetime?

Leonardo Da Vinci appears to display all the traits of having had ADHD. For me having this condition is an effect of so much happening below the surface and Da Vinci demonstrates this better for me than many of the modern people who are rolled out as examples to others. 

It is long thought that Da Vinci was dyslexic, especially with the examples of his mirrored writing. His note books have proven a challenging task in fact for any historian trying to document his work - in one sense he seems highly visual and creative - there is no other inventor that left as much of a paper trail behind but on the other hand they prove very difficult to read because of there presentation. Something many a teacher will sympathize with correcting a dyslexics paper!

But what I feel is much more interesting is the diversity of Leonardo Da Vinci's interests. I have long seen and proven the correlation between what I call multiplicity and ADHD. Multiplicity is the ability to take in information in a multiple of ways - Visual, Practical, Auditory and Kinesthetic - no wonder people with ADHD seem to have overload - jump around and get distracted easily. Da Vinci was very obviously Visual, Practical and Auditory - the Kinesthetic is hard to see as you need to know more about someone on an emotional level. He was drawn to representing characters and dwelled on the faces of the characters in his paintings - his portraits were very emotional which gives us a clue that he was kinesthetic. Mona Lisa's smile has captured the hearts of so many millions of people over the decades and even spent time in Napoleon's bedroom!

But the above would explain why he jumped around for project to project - did have prolonged periods of concentration and focus on topics he was interested in - can be described as a painter, sculptert, engineer, strategist, philosopher, writer, inventor and on and on... Many of my ADHD students show such diverse talents and interests. In fact I'm working with one 15 year old at present that I see as a Da Vinci type!

The Flip side of this of course is that Da Vinci became distraced easily - jumped from project to project. Didn't complete many commissions - created a great bigger picture but didn't focus on the details, like for example the long term lasting effects of the painting durability of the new technique he developed to paint the Sistine Chapel so he could paint slower and obsess over the faces for certain characters in the painting.

Leonardo Da Vinci only completed 25 paintings in his lifetime as a result of the random nature of his life. Many of his ideas where not built or created until hundreds of years after his death - such as his bridges or his famous bronze horse. Some of this can be put down to being far ahead of his time but in other cases I see great similarities between the students and adult clients we work with in Confidence Club and The Forever Method. Many of our clients seem to have the same "self-destruct button" that prevented Da Vinci from developing more of his ideas into reality. I meet many students who either focus too much on small details of interests or jump randomly to the next fad or interest. Their work will often be presented in as erratic a nature as the hundreds of notebooks Da Vinci left behind - interestingly he always wanted his notebooks to be published. We so enjoy taking people with these extreme levels of information overload and creativity to their true potential. Da Vinci is someone I would have loved to have had the opportunity to have worked with!


Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly   Expression Developist™


Leaving Cert results 2013, A year later – the transformation of The Homework Club to Confidence Club

So it is one year on - our first state exams results since transforming The Homework Club into Confidence Club and I have been asking myself what are the real results? 

In the past I found myself dancing around the real issues with students - as parents and students alike thought they were attending some form of "grind school" we spent more time by stealth in the background getting to the real reasons behind what was going on ... it was often a case of me waiting for an opportunity in the hall to chat casually to a student or waiting for the chance when a parent collected their charge. 

Now it is all a lot more straight forward and upfront - which means less time waiting for the chance to talk about what is really happening. All too often the maths result or other challenge is just a factor in what is really happening in a young persons life. 

This means a year later I can say that we have worked with real people, real problems and in record time. Many of the students I have met have required no more help from me or my team after the initial hour and a half meeting. Their whole lives have improved not just the "maths problem" or the "english essay rows". The time my team have spent in peoples house has been less that we would have needed in the school for greater return. 

All round as what we do is not conventional in anyway it didn't make sense to continue with a conventional school model. I felt often that we had a revolving door as we got results too quickly and now we get them even quicker with a wider spectrum of people. 

Another change for me is that I have often felt that we work with students that everyone else has washed their hands of - now we work with the really outside the box stories that no one has thought of! I truly enjoy the challenge and nothing has ever shocked me. I think there is no way now we can be seen as a simple "grind school". 

I'm looking forward to what this year brings and all the amazing young people I will meet along the way. 

Dr. Naoisé

Expression Developist™


What can Profiling do for a Studnet’s Future Career?

This short video I recorded at the Irish Times Higher Options Conference in RDS explains why profiling is so important for Students early in their education life - You can pursue the Career you were born to do!


DNA extraction of a kiwi plant in The Homework Club kitchen

Lesson devised by Graham Huges who has taught maths, science, computers and biology at The Homework Club for the last two years.

Graham Hughes is studying a PhD in Bioinformatics at UCD. He is interested in Science, particularly biology and believes with the correct approach, science can be made accessible and enjoyable to all students. Graham also works on computer techniques to make students more motivated to do well in mathematics.

DNA, DNA come out and play...

If you were to zoom in closely on a piece of your skin, you would see it is made up of millions of cells. If you were to zoom in on a cell you would see it is made up of smaller organelles. If you were to zoom in on certain organelles you would see that they contain DNA. DNA stands for DeoxyriboNucleic Acid and is made up of long strands of the letters A,T,G and C. The arrangement of all these letters in your DNA is the ‘recipe’ for you.

All animals and plants have DNA in their cells. By using household materials we managed to extract and view some of the DNA in a kiwi! Even though you cannot even see kiwi cells with the naked eye, with the tricks of the trade, we can gather enough DNA to make it easily visible. All it takes is a little chemistry...

Firstly we need to make an ‘extraction buffer’. This involved putting water in a plastic cup, adding 2 small sachets of salt and putting 2 squirts of hand soap, giving it a good mix. The soap breaks up the fatty kiwi cell membranes and the salt makes the DNA clump together.


Measure the speed of light using marshmallows

This lesson is developed by Conor Coyle. Originally from Monaghan Conor moved to Dublin for university where he studied Applied Physics for four years. After this he spent a year in Chongqing China teaching, my itchy feet didn't stop there, after China Conor moved to France where he worked as a waiter and studied French part-time. He then returned to Dublin where he is now a final year postgraduate researcher working on low temperature plasma physics for biomedical applications. Conor likes cooking and make a mean chilli con carne. (which he hasn't made for me yet! Naoisé)

Items needed for this experiment : Marshmallows, Plate, Microwave, ruler, marker, brain engaged

What you need to do:

  1. Cover the plate in marshmallows, remove the turntable from the microwave and cook for 45-60 seconds.
  2. Take the marshmallows out and note the melted spots on the marshmallows. Using ruler measure the distance between the spots.

Point of Blog

Our motto is that "we don't do normal". Everyone who comes to The Homework Club is different and is here for a different reason. It's not important if they are dyslexic, have reduced hearing or simply don't "get-it". This Blog is about creative teaching that suits everyone, all of the time! No one needs to be "special". The work is done in groups, so students avoid stigma and don't feel only they need help!






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