Paris Hilton, Among the Celebrities in Greenwich Mom’s Document on ADHD

According to the Centers for Disease Control, it is estimated that 9.4 percent of children have been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The chronic condition, known as ADHD, is often characterized by persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

While some families may view a diagnosis of ADHD negatively, a Greenwich parent hopes to change the perception of ADHD with a star-studded documentary.

“The Disruptors,” which appeared today on Apple TV, Vudu TVOD and Google Play, follows about five families with ADHD and also highlights a number of celebrities diagnosed with ADHD. Some of those familiar faces include Paris Hilton, Steve Madden,, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Mandel and Jillian Michaels.

The documentary, which was recognized as an official winner at the San Diego International Film Festival and was an official nominee at the Greenwich International Film Festival, is directed by Stephanie Swichteig (“Fed Up”, “Under the Gun”) and was produced by Greenwich’s Nancy Armstrong, producer, philanthropist, and wife. Google and AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, who was nominated for an Emmy, was diagnosed with ADHD.

poster for

Poster for the documentary film “The Disruptors”.

Contributed by Shauna Brooke

“I made this film to highlight a path forward for people with ADHD where there is no way,” Armstrong said. “This is the movie I desperately needed as a parent of three children with ADHD.”

The aim of the documentary is to shed light on the stigma attached to people with ADHD and how their diagnosis can actually be considered helpful. While the documentary highlights celebrities and what their ADHD diagnoses mean to them, the real focus is on the families who have experienced the negative stigma associated with the condition. In some cases, misunderstandings about ADHD diagnoses led to disciplinary action at school and difficulty making friends for some of the children in the documentary.

“I want to put science on the ground to finally break down the misinformation and myths surrounding this diagnosis. This movie debunks every single one of them,” Armstrong said. “There is a huge disconnect between what the public believes about ADHD and what scientists have known from decades of research and hundreds of studies.”

After meeting with Ned Hallowell, a board-certified psychiatrist and nationally recognized expert on ADHD, Armstrong was inspired by his “power-based” approach to understanding ADHD, knowing that the documentary was a way to break the stigma Shame on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“During filming, I spoke for hours with some of the top experts in the country, so I definitely have a deeper understanding about ADHD including the science and research, which are all fantastic. The thing that surprised me was how universal the experience is for everyone,” Armstrong said. [sic] The experiences in the film directly parallel my experiences as a parent of children with ADHD, and the childhood stories of the film’s public characters were closely related to the children’s experiences in the film in real time. So there is a universality of experience that can reframe this in the minds of children with ADHD and build a sense of community.”

TheDisruptors_Trailer by Nancy Armstrong on Vimeo.

In her home, Armstrong noted the positive aspects of a “strength-based” view of ADHD evident in her husband and children. Some of what she calls “super skills” include creativity, increased curiosity, and “risk-aversion”.

“With my husband, Tim, it’s definitely his creativity, his ability to see opportunities where others don’t, and his willingness to take big risks to work on those opportunities. He’s brave and taking a risk and they are all indicators of his ADHD brain power,” Armstrong said. All three are very creative.”

Armstrong’s son, who she said has difficulties developing with ADHD, started his own business and works with her husband at his company, Flowcode. Meanwhile, her two daughters, who have also been diagnosed with ADHD, are in high school and are active in the performing arts.

In the documentary, celebrities from every corner of popular culture give their opinions on a diagnosis of ADHD. Some celebrities like Mandel explained in the documentary that they felt “twisted,” which made it difficult to keep friends. Others, such as Bradshaw, have stated that their ADHD rendered the whole picture of everyday life “blurred”.

However, musician, of Black Eyed Peas fame, reiterated Armstrong’s emphasis on “superior skills” – something he learned to be proud of.

One of the families is highlighted

One of the families highlighted in the documentary “The Disruptors”.

Contributed by Shauna Brooke

“The teachers were like ‘You need to focus better’ because of my hyperactivity,” said in the documentary. “It’s a super skill set.”