Monday, April 1, 2013

Speeding to success

About one out of five high school boys "have" attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which means we are now free to pump them up with performance enhancing drugs.

Make no mistake--Adderall is speed, and it works. If you want to do better at something, anything, that depends at all on alertness and reaction time, Adderall will improve your scores.

And that's what school is all about now.

You can look up the side effects of amphetamines, and find anecdotal stories detailing its occasional horrors. It's habit-forming, can induce hallucinations, and on rare occasions kill.

I was once a doc, even prescribed the stuff on occasion, and none of that perturbs me too much--the whole point of drugs is risk vs. benefit, and if there were no risks, there'd be no need for prescriptions.

Here's the scary part for me--we have a culture that worships competition, that accepts winning at any costs, and simply does not love children (or humans at any developmental stage) as much as it cares about numbers.

Numbers which, paradoxically, are rarely understood in our innumerate world.

Go ahead an dope up your kid. It will help her in school.
With a little luck, it will give your child the edge that gets her into that Ivy.

Hokey pokey parenting: That's what it's all about!


Barbara said...

I had heard (or read) that America produces 100% of the world's Ritalin and 85 % of it was consumed by American children under the age of 12. I guess that means that all other countries on this planet don't have problems with childhood attention.

Jenny said...

I've got a darling little first grade boy this year who can not, for the life of him, sit still, focus, any of the things school expects him to do. Is he ADHD? I doubt it. He's 7. Why can't he be 7 right now?

My student teacher is focusing on him for her teacher research project and looking at how to help him with movement throughout the day. She's astounded by what the research shows about the importance of moving often. I wish more teachers recognized that. Expecting kids (or us) to sit still for extended periods is cruel.

John Spencer said...

When drug companies advertise to patients, give samples to doctors and spread the news through pop culture, we run the risk of shifting from medicine to drug dealing.

doyle said...

Dear Barbara,

I view ADHD as more hyperattention than attention deficit--everything catches my eye, and the one (and only) day I took Ritalin I felt calm, directed, and not my self. Did I cause problems? Yep--but I had a great Mom, more than a few very patient teachers, and I did well in school despite the ants in my pants.

Dear Jenny,

You are one of those teachers! We all need to move more--it's in our DNA.

Dear John,

Drug companies are going to do what makes them profitable--not condoning it, but parents need to be parents here.

Malcolm Chrystal said...

#1 moving is paramount to learning and is what i am basing my next career on!

#2 Jenny...your little boy needs to be 7 until he is 16 and then all he needs to do is focus on what needs to be done to get out of high school!

#3 John...we are way past that. drug dealing is about hooking people on drugs and making money. Some of the most successful companies are drug companies

#4 i got in trouble once when I tried to share with a parent that I was more than likely ADHD (like her daughter). I explained that my classes focussed on everything that is alive..and firetrucks that passed by our window a coule of times a day...didn't go down well with admin...

doyle said...

Dear Malcolm,

If students are seen as hyper-attentive instead of as "attention deficit" the whole paradigm of illness/disorder dissolves.

It is not a negative thing for many (or maybe most) of us. Maybe school is just a drag....