I learn by observation, example and then by trial and error. Sure I could read directions and try my hand at something but if I had no frame of reference prior to my attempts I would most likely be setting myself up to fail. I need that visual interaction, from start to finish, to create the formula in my head that allows me to be successful in my endeavors.
Not everyone learns like I do. Not everyone comprehends like I do. It all depends on their collection of past references that they can work with. I know that I need to evaluate someone’s learning preferences before I teach them something or I am setting us both up to fail, yet that particular practice seems to be lost on far too many people.
I happened to find myself in a discussion about ADD/ADHD while on my vacation. I have long thought that those diagnoses were just a way to sell more drugs to more people instead of taking the time to understand why a child didn’t care about paying attention in class. I was never diagnosed with ADD/ADHD but I sure used to have trouble paying attention in class and had an enviable amount of energy coursing through my young veins.
The difference between me and several of my classmates was that my mother took a moment, when the teacher first alerted her that I would get easily distracted in class, to ask me why I didn’t want to pay attention. Apparently I looked at my mom with a look that said it should be obvious and then explained to her, in a voice that said it should be obvious, that I didn’t need to be shown a million times how to write the letter “a” or add up 1 + 1. Why should I be punished just because I understood the concept the first time, or had read ahead already because the teacher was being repetitive and I had already absorbed the information they were talking about. My mother rightfully determined that it wasn’t that I had ADD but that I was completely bored by the unchallenging curriculum and simply found alternative information to take in while the teacher was reiterating a lesson I had already grasped.
I was spared the drugs given to other children to slow(dumb) them down to the lowest common denominator and continued to spend my time perusing my own interests once I felt I had already absorbed whatever lesson was being taught that day.
If you are able to look around at your environment and in a split second observe everything and then categorize it by level of importance (to you) why should you be labeled as having a disorder simply because you either a) do it faster than most people, or b) have a different category of importance than most people? “Normal” is relative, ever changing, unreliable as a basis for comparison. Why is that such a hard concept to grasp?
I really don’t think ADD/ADHD actually exist as a disorder. I think the kids who are diagnosed simply have different categories of importance than their parents, teachers or doctors. No one enjoys listening to things that bore them or has much enthusiasm for activities that go against their interests. Someone determined that we had to move from a system where people learned a trade/skill they were inclined to be good at to a system where we all had to assimilate into a narrow-minded preset idea of what necessary information must be retained by every single person regardless of inclinations or predispositions. Then, when almost half the population didn’t immediately succeed there was the rush to judgment instead of a desire to understand why it isn’t working. Blame on the students instead of on the teaching models. That we have been doing the same thing for hundreds of years now and expecting a different result would indicate a strong level of denial in the flawed thinking that created this whole mess.
Oh well, enough of my rant. What are your thoughts? Do you think ADD/ADHD is a real disorder or do you think it’s just a dismissive judgment made on people who think and prioritize differently than others?