Very interesting article on ADHD children. For parents and educators, this is an important reminder that not every child fits into the traditional mold. The key is to find the appropriate space for an ADHD child to flourish and to tap into his/her unique energy.
In Praise of A.D.H.D.
By Leonard Mlodinow
March 17, 2018
A.D.H.D. is termed a disorder, and in severe forms it can certainly disrupt a person’s life. But you might view a more moderate degree of A.D.H.D. as an asset in today’s turbulent and fast-changing world.
Ten years ago, when my son Nicolai was 11, his doctor wanted to put him on medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. “It would make him less wild,” I explained to my mother, who was then 85. “It would slow him down a bit.” My mother grumbled. “Look around you,” she said in Yiddish. “Look how fast the world is changing. He doesn’t need to slow down. You need to speed up.”
It was a surprising recommendation from someone who had never learned to use a microwave. But recent research suggests she had a point: some people with A.D.H.D. may be naturally suited to our turbocharged world. Today the word “hyperactive” doesn’t just describe certain individuals; it also is a quality of our society.
We are bombarded each day by four times the number of words we encountered daily when my mother was raising me. Even vacations are complicated — people today use, on average, 26 websites to plan one. Attitudes and habits are changing so fast that you can identify “generational” differences in people just a few years apart: Simply by analyzing daily cellphone communication patterns, researchers have been able to guess the age of someone under 60 to within about five years either way with 80 percent accuracy.
To thrive in this frenetic world, certain cognitive tendencies are useful: to embrace novelty, to absorb a wide variety of information, to generate new ideas. The possibility that such characteristics might be associated with A.D.H.D. was first examined in the 1990s. The educational psychologist Bonnie Cramond, for example, tested a group of children in Louisiana who had been determined to have A.D.H.D. and found that an astonishingly high number — 32 percent — did well enough to qualify for an elite creative scholars program in the Louisiana schools.