I think that’s a reasonable question to ask since ADD/ADHD is considered a medical condition by many people. Like other “diseases”, it has diagnostic criteria, medication protocols, support groups and a host of therapies available for the afflicted.
I know, I know. I’ve watched too many House, M.D. episodes but the first thing that comes to my mind when I receive a diagnosis is….Is it fatal? Is this really just dandruff or heartburn? Or is this a symptom of some horrible auto immune disease that will lead me, flake covered and burping, to an early grave?
So what about ADD/ADHD? I think it’s fair to ask about the mortality rate. Of course, I’d have a hard time finding any data quantifying death by daydreaming (ADD- inattentive type) or by jiggling themselves to death. (ADHD, heavy on the “H.”)
Hopefully you realize by now I’m speaking tongue in cheek. Of course ADD/ADHD doesn’t kill. Not in the physical sense anyway.
But I do contend it does cause death. Kids that are told repeatedly, from the time they’re old enough to bounce off the walls, that they are defective. That they must sit still and pay attention. That their handwriting’s sloppy and fer crying-out-loud, clean up this mess would ya?
There’s something that dies in a kid when they are constantly bombarded with a steady stream of negative messages.
Yes, I know living with ADD/ADHD presents some challenges. Yes, I know they have a tough time in school. And yes, sometimes they DO need expert assistance with some of the issues.
But I’m going to say it over and over again….we need to ask ourselves how much of the “symptoms” are realized because these kids are put into an environment that is not healthy for them.
I wouldn’t expect a Russian olive tree in Montana to grow in Florida. Nor would I expect a Royal Palm tree to survive one week in Montana’s northern climate. They would both die.
A typical classroom environment, something I’m not particularly nuts about anyway, is especially detriment to the child with ADD/ADHD or other learning differences. Even the best teacher in the world has system driven limitations that impede her efforts in helping these kids.
It’s a losing proposition all the way around.
What about a different approach to their education? How about one in which a child has the opportunity to explore their passions and direct their energies into topics they find fascinating? What about one where teachers become facilitators and encouragers instead of test monitors and compliance police?
How different would it be if parents decided their kids were uniquely wired and a special gift to the world? (Because frequently these kids grow up and become movers and shakers.)
What if we let these kids lay down their pencils and get their hands dirty with real world education? (Let’s face it; some of them will NEVER have decent handwriting anyway.)
I get pretty jazzed thinking about what happens in my heart when I reframe the challenges.
And instead of a “mortality” rate, ADD/ADHD could become the only “disease” process that can have an outcome of greater life and endless, wonderful possibilities.
Filed under: ADD/ADHD, education, homeschooling, Individuality, Labels are for Soup Cans, parenting, Personal development, Public schooling, Special Needs' Kids, Uncategorized | Tagged: ADD/ADHD, educating child with ADD, educational models, identity directed education, learning differences | 2 Comments »