- “More and more, the concept of ADD as a disorder is being qualified by inclusion of a string of positive qualities — such as creativity, high intelligence, ability to do many things at once, an aptitude for small business entrepreneurship, and a powerful intuitive sense.” – Susan Burgess, from “Think Fast! The ADD Experience (Hartmann, Bownman & Burgess).
As the mom of three daughters who have ADHD and as a former teacher I am increasingly concerned about how our schools are dealing with children who have ADHD. I am concerned that all people concentrate on are the negative aspects of ADHD. I am concerned that a group of highly intelligent, creative, engaging children are being told that they are “bad” because they find it difficult to sit still, are often bored and thus act out, and are told that they have no focus. I am concerned that these children are expected to conform to some arbitrary standards of what a student should look like.
It appears that our school system not only wants to set academic standards (which is a whole new post) but they also have this idea that every child should be compliant, sit in their seat all day, be excited about doing immense amounts of homework, never have an independent or creative thought and listen attentively to every word that the teacher utters without complaint.
When I was teaching I would have found a classroom like that to have been very boring. Maybe it is because I have ADHD, but I have always found that the children who have ADHD added a certain joyfulness to a classroom. They were the children coming up with all sort of interesting and inventive ideas on how to do something. They were the curious ones who were always asking the why questions. They were funny and charming and if they were shown caring and acceptance they would go way beyond what was expected to please their teacher.
Children are not little robots. They are not all the same. They squirm, they laugh, they invent, they are resourceful and enterprising. They are filled with wonder and excitement and in so many cases I see all of these wonderful attributes being labeled as “wrong”. The uniqueness of each child and what they bring to the classroom is what adds dimension to the classroom.
So…if your child has ADHD, celebrate their uniqueness. Look for all of the positive attributes of ADHD and concentrate on those. Most importantly, be your child’s advocate when the school start telling you that something is “wrong” with your child.
Have some fun today!