Are we Out of Our Minds? Part 1
What’s the real problem?
In the United States, an average school day is 6.7 hours 180 days of the year. While there are breaks for lunch and recess, this is still a huge amount of time for children who are energized by the nature of physical and mental growth, to remain seated.
So is the real issue Attention Deficit Disorder ADD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or is it something much deeper? If it’s not ADD/ADHD, what is it?
Shall we step back for a moment and consider the big picture? For this discussion, can we forget for our concerns, fears, or challenges at what it seems that our kids can’t do, arent’ doing, or may be missing, and just assume these issues do not exist for now? Let’s go back to before 19___, when ADD/ADHD was first diagnosed but hadn’t yet become an epidemic, and let’s go consider the nature and mechanics of the human body.
Humans, and especially children, were not designed to sit for hours on end. In the acclaimed book, Brain Rules, author and molecular biologist, Dr. John Medina, discusses research that proves how children who exercise more throughout the day do much better with academics, memory retention, test scores, and energy management. Further, Brain Rules explains how humans evolved through—and because of—movement!
In her TEDTalks video, Nilofer Merchant claims that sitting is the smoking of our era. What Merchant meant is that just as cigarette smoking used to be common place and perfectly acceptable in mainstream society until we discovered the health hazards, so too is sitting a widely accepted practice, and yet only just beginning to be recognized for the health hazards involved.
None of us would give our child a cigarette, nor would his teachers. It’s unthinkable, right?! And yet, every day, we send kids off to school where they’re expected to sit for hours, as their health declines. Then, if they have trouble in this unnatural condition, we drug them. Wow!
In a recent interview, Pulitzer Price nominee and writer for the New York Times, Alan Schwarz, said that many doctors are diagnosing children that don’t even have the symptoms of ADD or ADHD.
In the same interview, Alan said: “Nearly one in five of high school age boys in the United States and 11 percent of school-age children over all have received a medical diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to new data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
The mainstream system says that children with ADHD/ADD, or other forms of disorder need some sort of prescription pill to help them stay out of trouble as well as get better grades.
At first glance this seems like a good solution to what we think is the problem. But are we addressing the correct problem?
Given the statements and research of Schwarz, Medina, and Merchant, for starters, should we be medicating children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, or, should we be addressing another issue entirely?
What are your thoughts?