Ah yes, the ever ongoing finger pointing war between the Ritaliners and the NonMedicators. Well, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. It is a book by Dr. Kevin Ross Emery called ADD: Managing the Gift (www.kevinrossemery.com). I think everyone should read it, as it sheds new light on an old subject. It truly considers ADD a gift, not a disease or problem to be dealt with. It is very enlightening. Even to a thirty four year old who has, within the past year, been diagnosed with ADD. I have had it all my life, I just didn't have a name for it. No one ever said it to me. Because although I have it, I did well in school. Very well, actually. I graduated as Valedictorian. I did not act out or become violent or disruptive. I had a strong competitive nature. Even in elementary school, I remember racing to be done first, have the most correct answers, win the spelling bee, etc. etc. etc. When I finished first and then had to wait for everyone else, I went within. I doodled, I daydreamed, I read. I handled my ADD naturally, on my own. I never did figure out how to handle my compulsivity though, and still deal with it. But as an adult, I can be aware of it and work on it when it occurs.
As a child with ADD though, it is very difficult. You don't understand your feelings, or lack thereof. You don't understand the emotional ups and downs. You don't understand why you don't feel the same feelings everyone else does. If you have ADD, you understand what I am talking about. If you don't, this may be new to you. But people with ADD don't feel things the way "regular" people do. A lot of times we don't really have the feelings, we are just emulating how someone would act, as we have learned to do since childhood. Truly, this book was an eye opener for me. It stated things that I have never heard anywhere else, yet completely felt like the author was talking directly about me. Things that I had never really said to anyone because I was embarrassed or ashamed. And yet, here they were in black and white.
I read this book while on Ritalin. My marriage counselor had suggested medicating me, as she felt it was the cause of a lot of my marital issues. It worked to a degree. I lost 10 pounds which was great, but I felt like my creative nature was subdued. Like I just wasn't ambitious or a real thinker. I felt dumbed down. I went off the Ritalin after just 2 months. My husband and counselor still think I'm on it. I guess that goes to show you how much good it was doing. They can't even tell that I'm not on it. Now, I wonder, what does it make a kid feel like? I can't imagine what it does to their little brains. These are the future thinkers. These are the people who are going to run our country when we get old. And what are we doing? We are squashing their creativeness, their intelligence, their ability to think in a new dynamic way! Wow, I can't imagine what it will be like when I am old, with these dumbed down kids running the country.
What we need to do is stop fighting over whether or not to medicate them, or point fingers at the parents. It is not the parents fault most of the time. I can say there is a lot of misdiagnosis due to bad parenting, but it is not the parent who creates an ADD child. They just need to learn how to interact with and support them. And we need to take a hard look at our school systems. With the increasing number of ADD/ADHD children, we need to restructure our schools to support them. Our only other option is to home school. Children spent a lot of time waiting in class. We need to find a way, say, more teachers, less hours, to keep the children moving and active. They can be taught the same amount of information at home in half the time. So why is that? Well, a lot of it is because they don't spend half their time waiting! Why can't we look at a new system. A more interactive way of learning, and a rotational day. One where there are two or more teachers, and the children are constantly learning because they are in smaller groups and they can go from one activity to another much more quickly.
I want to know why everyone is focusing on fixing the kids by drugging them to fit into societal norm instead of looking at the fact that the societal norm is changing and we need to fix our systems to accommodate the change. We have had the same setup for our schools for a long time. It is time to change. It is not time to drug our children. And the biggest advocate for this change has to be the parents. And the parents of ALL children. Because a disruptive ADD child is affecting the education of all the children. And seen as there is no "special ed" classes anymore, there are many more disruptive children in the classroom. But if we could have a schooling system where the reasons for disruption were less, we would have a much better education for all of our children. And these bright, intelligent, sensitive, creative children would be more happy, as would the rest of us when they are running our country.