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Re: Just because I wasn't confused enough… ADD or Gifted?

Re: Just because I wasn't confused enough… ADD or Gifted?2010-04-21T15:30:50+00:00

The Forums Forums Ask The Community Just because I wasn't confused enough… ADD or Gifted? Re: Just because I wasn't confused enough… ADD or Gifted?


Patte Rosebank
Post count: 1517

Be very wary of sites like this. While some of their information is sound, the fact that they are so much against medications and in favour of “alternative” therapies—especially when they’re trying to sell you books and other alternative therapies—should raise a huge red flag.

While it’s true that medications in general are being overprescribed for many, many medical conditions (the drug companies push the notion that if there’s anything at all wrong with you, just take a pill and that’ll fix it), medications can be very helpful, when used properly. Just saying, “Avoid all medications for ADD” is like saying, “I know you can’t see properly, but glasses are evil, so you shouldn’t wear them,” or “I know you’re having trouble walking, but you shouldn’t use orthotics or a cane, because if you do, you’ll become dependent on them.” You can see how ridiculous that argument is. If you need devices (and that includes medication) to help you function properly, then you should use them, provided you’ve learned all the facts and have a professional to prescribe them and monitor how they’re helping you.

That site also shows you that IQ testing alone is not a measure of how successful the individual will be. I have a higher IQ (Intelliigence Quotient) than my brother, but I have so much unrealized potential, while he is a very successful MBA and business analyst with a solid career, because he has a higher EQ (Emotional Quotient, which is a measure of how you interact with others) than I do.

The site also shows the problems of the standard educational system, which is built on an institutional model. It’s a rigid structure, designed to teach as many kids as possible, as efficiently as possible. Like an assembly line. This is great when all the kids are the same, with the same level of intelligence, and the same thinking and learning styles. The problem occurs when a kid with a vastly different level of intelligence and/or a vastly different thinking and learning style is put into this system. The kid is a square peg, and the educational system keeps trying to hammer that very square peg into one of its very round holes. The square peg won’t fit, can’t fit, and will only get its corners crushed.

A kid in that situation will either act up or shut down. The one who acts up will be labelled a troublemaker and disruptive, and will get a lot of negative attention that way. The kid who shuts down will be regarded as a model student and a quiet little angel, but will be dying inside, especially since being so different acts as a magnet for other kids who want somebody to pick on. I was that quiet little angel in school (one of the worst public schools around, which taught to the lowest common denominator, and in there, that was extremely low), but at home, I was a wild one, always craving attention and acting up with tantrums and beating up my little brother. Finally, when things reached a crisis point (a 12-year-old shouldn’t be sleepwalking and looking for ways to kill herself), my parents took me to see Dr. Hawke, a brilliant pediatric specialist, who recognized the seriousness of the situation, and ordered that I be removed from that school as soon as possible. Back then (1981), there was no such thing as ADD or ADHD. All Dr. Hawke saw was that I was an extremely intelligent child in a situation that had me teetering on the brink of a complete nervous breakdown, and that if I didn’t get out of that situation immediately, it would be disastrous.

Transferred to a wonderful school (and a regular public one, at that) that challenged me, and encouraged kids to celebrate their differences, I began to thrive. This school had been partly built on an “open concept” of large double-ended rooms, with 2 classes back-to-back and a high wall (rather than a full wall) separating each room from the hall that supported them. This was a brilliant format, as we didn’t feel closed-in and trapped, and we were even able to subconsciously absorb what was being taught at the other end of the room. Unfortunately, since then, a lot of parents decided that it wasn’t an appropriate format, so the “open concept” was redesigned to standard closed classrooms.

Not only was the format different, but here, the teachers actually helped any kid who was being picked on. My first day, one boy picked on me, and I reported it to my teacher. Well! Unlike at my previous school, things happened, and they happened fast. My teacher took me to the principal’s office to report the situation. The principal took down a report, and sent me back to class. Then the boy got called to the principal’s office. And his parents got called to the principal’s office. That boy got in so much trouble. This had never happened at my previous school, where the teachers didn’t give a damn. Looking back, I feel sorry for that boy. I’m sure he only picked on me because he’d wanted to talk to me but didn’t know what to say. Like in Peanuts, when Charlie Brown is at the principal’s office because he had wanted so badly to talk to the little red-haired girl but didn’t know what to say, so he hit her.

My experience has shown me that it’s impossible to completely shape the world to fit us, just as it’s impossible to completely adapt to fit the world. What works is a series of compromises. And it’s never one-size-fits-all. Your first step should be a through diagnosis for your son, if he hasn’t already had one. This will take several hours, and it won’t be cheap. But it’s necessary to determine whether your son actually has ADD, or is just in the wrong learning environment. There are many kinds of regular schools and many kinds of alternative ones. You may have to look around (as my mom did) to find the right one for your child. And you may have to make sacrifices. My mom had to drive me to and from school, 20 minutes each way. Sure, just putting me on the bus to a local school would have been a lot easier, but it wouldn’t have been right for me.

And after seeing how I thrived in my new school after just one term, my mom had my brother transferred there too. He was lucky enough to spend most of his formative years at the good school, because he was only in Grade 2 when he transferred. I was in Grade 6, so by then, the damage was done and had to be repaired. Maybe that’s why his EQ is so much higher than mine.

Since you’re doing all this while your son is only 7, when you do find the right solution for him, he’ll have many years to benefit from it.

Bona fortuna!