Keene State College student with ADHD uses knitting and dance as an outlet for condition

Kateland Dittig

Equinox Staff


Though many of those who struggle with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder find it hard to focus on even the smallest of tasks, sophomore Alexander Davis has found multiple ways to channel his energy positively.

At the age of nine-years-old, Keene State College student Alex Davis was diagnosed with ADHD.
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Teachers and doctors would give him a stress ball or tell him to doodle while in class, but those tasks only frustrated him because his energy wasn’t being exerted productively and nothing was being accomplished.

He struggled for a while until high school when his best friend taught him how to knit.

Davis then used knitting as an alternative.

He started out learning the basics, but became so engrossed with the hobby that he started to learn intricate new patterns and before everyone knew it, he was making hats, scarves, sweaters, and nearly anything which can be made out of yarn. It became natural, and it allowed him to concentrate.

He has the ability to keep up a full conversation while building a creation without even looking. Small things no longer distract him because he is constantly knitting.

Professors here at KSC allow him to knit during class as he is using his instinctive excess energy and can then focus on what the professor or other classmates are saying.

Davis has become well-known for making articles of clothing for folks around campus.

As a residential assistant, staff members along with his residents are always asking him to craft them a hat or nifty piece of fashion.

His deal is if the individual buys him yarn, he is willing to make something for them.

He is able to work and experiment with so many different types of yarn, not have to pay a penny for it, and do something he loves.

Davis said, “Nothing makes me happier than walking through the dining commons and seeing people wearing the things I made, it makes me smile. I like giving things to people; I don’t need the product, I just like to be knitting.”

Along with his ADHD, Davis was born deaf and gained his hearing when he was just over a year old.

Due to this setback, he started speaking later in life. It seemed as if verbal communication wasn’t always going to be an option for him from the very beginning.

That is why physical communication is so important to him. From the very beginning he relied on other forms of expression rather than words.

In Davis’s senior year of high school he found his greatest channel of expression through the art of dance.

He started dancing relatively late in the dance world, which usually begins at the young age of three.

He was afraid of the social stigma or being judged for doing something that is often considered to be more feminine.

He put all that aside because once he tried it out, it just made sense. Through dance he was able to communicate his thoughts and feelings.

When creating a dance, Davis says that he is mainly interested in taking an experience and making it physical and visual with movement for others to see.

Best friend and sophomore Katherine Wadleigh said, “He is a really good dancer, he has great form, he is very committed to making it better. As a choreographer he is brilliant, he is one of the few that I’ve watched and have felt emotionally affected by it.”

Davis has already left his mark at college with numerous performances at the Redfern Arts Center and continues to strive in the modern dance program.

He is performing in three upcoming pieces in “An Evening in Dance,” which takes place every year. After school, Davis hopes to teach and explore what the world of dance has to offer. He has thought about choosing a career in creative arts therapy to help others.

Whether it be choreographing or developing a dance, he wants an educational aspect to it.

The truth is that ADHD didn’t hinder Davis to be the talented human being he is, but if anything, it has made him the person he is today.

As a dancer, knitter, residential assistant, and overall character, he uses the disorder to his advantage as he can focus on all of his passions and things he loves.

He has had the ability to gear his hyperactivity to certain matters and fully devote himself.

Alex believes that ADHD is highly misunderstood as people joke about it a lot, but it truly is a challenge with which to live.

He has had to deal with the tendency to be inattentive and constantly moving, but that hasn’t stopped him yet and it won’t in the future.


Katland Dittig can be contacted at


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