Now then, here’s a strange “thinking out loud” moment (well this blog is called ‘Ken thinks aloud’ after all…) in response to the ADHD post I wrote a few days ago.
I had a variety of responses from friends – some private, some public and on various platforms – all being very positive about ADHD. I was surprised just how many agreed with the notion that ADHD can be a very positive thing in your life – and how many have it too! Looking at my son, I don’t think I would want any of that ‘ADHDness’ taken out of him either!
So, wearing my educator’s hat on for a moment, I am beginning to wonder whether we are all putting things the wrong way round about how we deal with ADHD? I better add, straight away, that everyone is an individual and anything – anything at all – can be considered harmful in extremes. I know children whose ADHD definitely disables them (at least in the short term) – inhibiting speech development, cutting them off socially from their peers, frustration when attempting to tackle tasks which require great concentration etc. But I wonder if such difficulties have led us to think ADHD = ‘bad’? I suggest that under usual circumstances we should actually think NON-ADHD = bad?
Perhaps a better way to put it (though I hope that last statement caused you some discomfort – think about how ADHD children feel when they are labelled in a similar way) is to think “how can we help non-ADHD people be more ADHD-like?”
It has dawned on me that I have actually been teaching both my children to be ADHD-like. I didn’t know it because I didn’t know I had it! But, the idea of training the mind to work fast, in small chunks, to be able to move from task to task at speed and to hold multiple tasks in place is something I have encouraged in them, taught and given advice on all their lives.
With the music lessons I give them, for instance, they learn Piano, Guitar, Recorder, Theory, Aurals, Sight-reading, improvisation, duet skills and composing all as specific and separate skills in every lesson (which are not short!). This is a teaching technique I have used for 20 years and it works well. Students learn slowly to begin with but eventually build up impressive and confident skills. It has been commented on many times that it is an awful lot to ask of someone to learn and digest! Not for the ADHD-er!
So I wonder, if we should do this in the classroom too. Instead of just drugging the ADHD kid and trying to teach them to concentrate more (so it’s their problem not ours) we should maybe make the other kids move from subject to subject at speed, teaching them to think fast and creatively (so it becomes everyone’s development instead). I don’t think it’s a bad idea to teach some to concentrate more and others to think faster. Win-win I would think.
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