ADHD is commonly thrown around by some educators as a way of getting around dealing with behavioral issues. Yes, it's true that people have different ways of learning...but calling some of these styles a disability does not necessarily serve a positive purpose.
WebMD offers a down to earth description of some of the symptoms of ADHD:
Is it just me, or does that describe just about every child on the planet at one time or another? And, perhaps, just about every grown man. And that list, with the possible exception of not finishing tasks, also pretty much covers my personality, and I've survived just fine without ritalin, thank you very much.
How is this worthy of an RWW post, you ask? Well, the New York Times just happened to have an article on "bad behavior" and its long term effects on a student's potential for success.
A study discussed in the article had this to say:
Kindergartners who interrupted the teacher, defied instructions and even picked fights were performing as well in reading and math as well-behaved children of the same abilities when they both reached fifth grade...
So, disruptive kids are doing just as well on tests as the children who sit quietly at their desks, following all the rules and doing all that Big Brother asks of them.
Furthermore, ADHD, in these studies, was found to be little more than a slower, but still normal, development process in the brain. You know that whole thing about boys being about two years behind girls? Well, the same logic applies with ADHD kids, according to this study. It's not a developmental disability, it's just a slower process. Most of the kids will get there eventually, wherever "there" is.
So, why label at all?
Why not just work with teachers to show them how to work with kids who work at different levels? In fact, I'm quite sure that's happening already (and I know there are more than a few teachers out there who could let me know the truth behind that).
What is the value in labeling a kid as ADHD? And why must we all develop at the same rate? What's the big hullabaloo with making sure that all twelve year olds can accomplish the same things? What's wrong with a little bit of an individual learning style?
In my family, the value meant that my aunt could take a step back and say that this "wasn't her fault," pump my cousin full of ritalin and hope it worked. Later, it meant researching whether or not the ADHD was actually Asperger's. And you know what, I don't think it's anything. I think my cousin likes math more than reading, has a knack for computers and now, thanks to his girlfriend, is a pseudo-goth. He's also twenty and stuck in a small town.
Other than getting a kid some one-on-one time with a counselor, which that student may or may not need, what does the label provide?
What about you? Were you ever rambunctious? Did you ever talk too much in class? Or were you perfect angels who always did what you were told?
Organizations that make it a point to study ADHD:
Eli Lilly and Company
National Institute of Mental Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
More on the recent studies:
Brains of Children with ADHD Mature Later (from Canada!)