Wednesday, February 13, 2008

School and ADD/ADHD

Ned Vare has a post at School is Hell about a subject near and dear to my heart, ADD/ADHD.

I especially like this quote from his friend, Jerry Mintz, who has the website The Education Revolution.
You got a person who has a psychiatric illness in a public school that requires medication from a multibillion-dollar industry, but when you put him into an alternative school environment, not only does he not require the medication, but the disease seems to vanish and he does very well. The question is, then, where is the disease? And I have firmly, solidly come to the conclusion that the disease is in our schools. It's not in our kids.

Yes, yes, and again yes. Some people think and learn in a way that is not compatible with the way schools choose to teach. So their way of thinking is treated as a disease. They are drugged so that they can better conform.

I am the diagnosed ADD parent of two, possibly three, sons who would certainly have been drugged if we were part of the public school machine. It drives me crazy to see so many parents unquestioningly give their children--especially their sons--psychoactive drugs for most of their childhood because they are behaving like children. Why as a society do we try to shove children into a box instead of making the box fit the child?

For us, one of the huge benefits of homeschooling is that we have been able work with our children's strengths and around their weaknesses.

And contrary to the doubts of the critics we've faced, as pre-teens and teens the boys can all function just fine in a regimented classroom situation when they choose to do so.


Barb the Evil Genius said...

I have another view on this. My daughter had concentration problems when she was in parochial school, although they never suggested she take medication. They did not, however, offer us any useful suggestions to help her. Now that we are homeschooling, she takes medication for ADD (as do her parents) and we have also utilized some of the techniques of an ADD coach we visited. We feel that this is the best option for us right now.

Jane said...

And I have no doubt that you have given it a lot of thought. :) I don't take medication for mine, but my doctor told me that my high caffeine intake is self-medication. And I know that I do not function nearly as well without it.

However, that said, I do not believe ADD is a disease. It is a way of being and thinking.

I would be interested in hearing more about the ADD coach. I'm always looking for ways to deal with my random brain.