Thursday, August 24, 2017

A Vision for ADHD – Part IV

May 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Education, Our Kids

We have stirred the pot in the area of education for ADHD kids. As a few had indicated, it certainly deserves further thought and discussion. We will revisit education for those dealing with ADHD in the coming weeks.

For now, I’d like to expand the field of view for my vision for ADHD. Let’s move to the area of public information.

Before we can help educate the outsiders to the experience of ADHD, we probably need to re-educate ourselves. ADHD as a disability or disorder, while accurate in today’s context, may also be one of our greatest roadblocks. ADHD is a disability due to the fact that we have weaknesses within the current models and expectations. Take away typical expectations of performance and functioning and it might be possible to see ADHD as a “super”-ability rather than a “dis”-ability. Would we say that a professional baseball hall of famer has a disability, because he isn’t cut out to be a football linebacker? Of course not. Nor would we say that Bill Gates has a disorder because he can’t make a serviceable Bundt cake. (I’m guessing on this one – if Bill rocks in the kitchen, then my apologies to him.)

I look at some distinct Farmer types (non-ADHDr’s) I know well and would not think of living the life they do. A life dominated by safe choices and tedious routines is not for me. I really believe in the adage of “nothing ventured, nothing gained”. There are those who would be happy with a predictable life, varying very little from their routines. One such person that comes to mind lives as I describe above. Imagine working in the same environment for over ten years, without knowing what was on the next block. Imagine never trying anything new – not food, not interests, not meeting new people – because with that comes unnecessary risk. What progress would we have if we never unleashed our imagination long enough to challenge “accepted facts”? I see this as a distinct disability. I believe that I have had more positive life experiences and have come to understand more diverse points of view, in far fewer years. Variety is the spice of life.

So who has the disability? Both? Neither? – We all have weaknesses and strengths. Just because we think and behave differently than most of our peers, does not inherently mean we are disabled or have a disorder. I am not talking in a clinical sense here. This is more about an approach to life. If we want others to see us as equally capable or even superior, on different terms, then we need to start seeing ourselves this way.

Let’s look at the labels: ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder; ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. Why do we wear these labels? Why isn’t it that the others are forced to wear labels? How about NC’s (Non Creatives), or ST’s (Slow Thinkers), or PNRC’s (People in Need of Repetitive Classwork). I am not suggesting that we come up with more labels. What I am highlighting is that if not for us being different, or outside the bell curve, we would not carry these labels. Labels make it easy for us to be pigeon-holed into the normal’s world. But the labels and their wording are subjective.

We need a new labeling, if we must have labels. Before you even go there, this is not a “political correctness” issue. This is more about positioning. Call it “spin” if you’d like. Sounds negative, but almost everything we see or hear has been “spun” to put things in the proper light. We’re not changing the facts, just the way the average person is likely to perceive those facts.

So I ask you, what is the label we should carry as a group? What can we call ourselves that encompasses the various forms of ADD and ADHD, both for children and adults? Once we have come to a consensus on our new label, we can look at “coming out” and “representing” with our peers, speaking with one proud voice, to all of society.

Please take a minute to comment below and add your thoughts on a new label for us. Take a serious approach or a humorous one. It’s OK. We’re open-minded here.

Once again, please stay tuned….

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