1. Raise your hand if you’ve had this exchange with a parent:

“L’il Einstein has not really been paying attention when I’m giving directions, and that’s one of the reasons he’s not doing well on…”

“Oh, that’s his ADD again! You’ll just have to…”

2. Raise your hand if you’ve been forced to fill out one of those behavioral observational forms from a doctor who want to prescribe narcotics to an 11 or 12 year old. You know, where you circle the numbers from 1-4…

“Easily distracted”  1   2  3   4

Ummm. He’s a 7th grader. Duh.

3. Raise your hand if you’ve been forced to make “accomodations” for “ADD” kids. There are only so many seats at the front of the room and only so many times I can “refocus” a kid in one period.

4. Raise your hand if you have twice as many “ADD” kids as you had ten years ago. By that I mean, “kids with a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD.” Remember, you can’t call them hyper any more.

Are you tired yet?

Way back in the day, I was “diagnosed” with ADD. I don’t think it went by those initials then (they just called us hyper), but the answer was still Ritalin. And Ritalin is still speed. (The wife of the chemist who invented it had low blood pressure, and used to take it as a stimulant before she played tennis. She was named Rita…hence Ritalin.) I remember never falling asleep before midnight and never eating lunch.

And they prescribe it to kids as young as three.

The nuns doled my pill out to me and dealt with the other “hyper” kids with their yardsticks. The ones that weren’t smart enough to figure out how to hide their illicit actions from the good sisters got the special cure. Sister Enda would seat the poor sap near his bestest friends (he’s stoked, and he’s thinking that the Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways), and then lie in wait for him to be tempted by the forbidden fruit.

WHACK!

That always seemed a lot easier to me that sitting through Dr. K’s interminable questioning. Although I did get out of school for those sessions.

I know from ADD.

I think about 10-15% of the kids on meds actually benefit. The rest are being parented by Ritalin.

I think that we’re seeing a lot more diagnoses of ADD because more and more parents are getting their kids into kindergarten early and we’re seeing more and more 11 year olds in 7th grade. Of course they’re fidgety…their eleven freakin’ years old! And I have sat through a lot of my colleagues class. No offense, but I’m fidgeting too.  Oh yeah, I have ADD.

I think many of these “ADD” kids just haven’t been taught to do school. They’ve been accommodated into helplessness. And nowadays they know the lingo, so they can push all the right buttons. Back in the day, I was humiliated when they yelled, “Go take your pill!” Now they ask if they can have some. I have variations of the following parent conversation fairly regulaly:

“So L’il Sporty plays soccer? He’s pretty good I hear. So does he have “focus” issues on the soccer field? Does he have trouble concentrating when the coach gives directions for the next inbound? Does he need his meds to stay focused? Hmmm.”

Or…

“He tells me he plays video games, and spends a lot of time on the computer. Do you find that his attention drifts while he’s doing that? That he needs to be refocused from time to time?”

Hmmm.

(I know it’s been a long time between posts, but I’ve been playing pinball (and learning how to fix it).