ADHD: The Default
I have been reading a number of interesting books (some, you will likely have already availed yourselves of) pertaining to the difficulty boys have attending to their classroom “tasks.” I will list some of them below for your consideration.
When one encounters a student who finds that the order to “sit still and pay attention” is an almost impossible task the immediate “diagnosis” (most often by the teacher) is a convenient default–“He/she is always fidgeting, I think your son/daughter has ADHD.” Rather than pedagogical strategies or the educational system meeting our children’s needs (and they ALL have exceptionalities of one sort or another) the default is therapeutic strategies/interventions (most often pharmacological) in order to “modify” our children–that is, to better fit an educational system that needs reform (another topic) or to help ease the burden of our fatigued teachers (who provide a mere 188 days of instruction per year).
Rather than attention deficit is it not the case that, more accurately, it is an attention difference (see Kenny Handelman’s Attention Difference Disorder). The title of this book however still suggests it is a disorder, if you like, a pathology. I have been giving this much thought and paying very close attention to our own son–my own preference is to call it something like “hyper attention dis-location” which I should like to discuss at greater length in a later post.
For now I want to deliver on my earlier promise and leave you with what I take to be some enlightening reading (your own suggestions are always welcome):
Handelman, Kenny, Attention Difference Disorder: How to Turn Your ADHD Child or Teen’s Differences into Strengths
Sax, Leonard, Boys Adrift
Tyre, Peg, The Trouble With Boys
The hurdles we face were already anticipated by John Holt; the following are considered canonical texts in the field of education:
How Children Fail (1964), How Children Learn (1967), The Underachieving School (1969), Instead of Education (1976) etc.
That is it for now, we face a steep learning curve and I hope you can bear with us while we stumble forward.