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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Ah, to have ADHD

I wish that I had boundless energy. I wish I had more hours in the day, didn't waste eight of them sleeping; four would be enough. I wish I could hyperfocus on my goal and not be constantly sidetracked with distractions. I wish that fear wouldn't keep me from expanding, from trying new things, from leaving my comfort zone. I wish I could be more impulsive and not think everything to death before acting, which usually consequently never happens - the acting, I mean.

Let's see: boundless energy, need little sleep, hyperfocus on my passions, fearless, impulsive. Wait a minute! I wish I had ADHD!!! But isn't that a learning disability? Isn't it a "terrible" thing to have? Isn't it a curse? Why? And I ask again, why?

The only negative thing about people with ADHD is that as children they don't make good students. They don't sit quietly while being lectured. They don't demonstrate real, or feigned, interest in what they are being taught in school. They can't stop reacting, physically and verbally, constantly to what they experience. They want to grab life by the handful and not wait patiently while it is doled out in lesson plans.

And before you lecture me on how I know little about ADHD, let me remind you that I am a high school teacher and principal and have been for many years. I have spent hours, days, and years of joy with these so called "disabled" children. They are truly amazing. The key is to work with them. To find, as with any child, their strengths and to help them work on their weaknesses. Do they talk too much and not listen? Show them the value of listening. Help them see when their talking is interesting to others and when it is just babbling. Is their impulsivity dangerous to themselves or to others? Teach them how to judge actions and consequences. Teach them responsibility. Guide them. Nurture them. As we should do with all the children under our care. But don't suppress those very assets that will make them successful in life. Boundless energy, need little sleep, hyperfocus on their passions, fearless and impulsive.

Our future leaders in politics, entertainment, business, and social advancement will have ADHD.

If our school system doesn't destroy them first.

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