I prefer to wear bare feet. But I don’t feel the need to make sure that everyone sees the benefit of bare feet. (You know, the simplicity and joy that comes from feeling the grass beneath your feet among other things that I don’t have the time to think of at this moment to try and prove my point.) No, and I can’t imagine going a step further and enforcing that feet go bare in certain places at certain times and then think of a consequence when someone wears shoes. (That would be a lot of work and leave me less time to enjoy walking around in my bare feet!)
A silly example, but I’m trying to make a point. The people who make the official rules and regulations of society are usually a certain kind of person. They mean well and want things to run smoothly and have order. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that usually these people are not people who have ADD.
Just because someone thinks that a certain way is the right way, doesn’t mean that every other way is the wrong way.
People with ADD usually don’t have the tendency to enforce things on others. They are usually working hard to maintain and balance their lives. “The System” doesn’t come naturally to someone who has ADD to begin with and as things become more and more regulated, it becomes harder to break through the system and make changes that would benefit them. It’s like it goes directly against the nature of one with ADD, but if we don’t do it, then who will?
It is hard to imagine thinking in a way that seems foreign to us. We can’t know what it feels like to have someone else’s brain. But it seems like there are enough studies out there that can help us understand different ways to learn and different ways to teach. There is not just one right way, but right now there is only one way in action which could be why there are so many kids on medication.
If there is a group of people who can prove that they have learned specific content by taking a written test that needs to be finished within a certain amount of time, that doesn’t mean that testing someone orally is wrong.
I remember when I was in middle school I had undergone a lot of different testing to try to figure out what was going on with me. We knew I was smart, but we didn’t know why I didn’t look smart on paper. I didn’t have a name for it until college: ADD/I.
My middle school put me in this really ridiculous reading class that was a complete waist of time and they put me in a math class that was far below my skill level. I didn’t understand why they were putting me in classes that didn’t challenge me at all. I was frustrated and bored and felt misunderstood. Looking back as an adult, I can see clearly what was going on, but when I was younger I didn’t know how to express it. So I acted out. I decided if they didn’t care, then I didn’t care. I started skipping class and not doing my homework. I would hang out with my boyfriend and then walk into class 20 minutes late. I remember that my desk was on the far side of the classroom and I walked in and made a big commotion, interrupting the teacher’s lesson and then climbed up on a desk and walked across the tops of the desks over to my seat and sat down and got my stuff out. He wasn’t the best teacher, obviously, because when I was seated he just continued on like I hadn’t done something rude, so I half listened while I drew on my desk.
I knew the math. I knew the math even when I missed half of class and I knew the math without doing my homework. What would it have taken for the school to find a way for me to prove that I knew the math? What would it have taken to find out what I knew and figure out a way to challenge me so that I would actually be interested? Because that’s the big key for ADD: interest. It’s not as hard to concentrate on something when you are interested in it.
So here’s the question: What could we change in public schools to make it more learning friendly for all kinds of brains? I am wondering if there is a way to balance it and make it better all around without decreasing the efficiency. Are the only choices a parent has for their children with ADD 1: medication, 2: home school, or 3: allowing them to struggle through feeling like a failure?
To see the previous discussion about ADD, click here.