When a friend of mine started telling me about the many kids in KL that are being medicated for ADHD etc, it made me revisit my own experiences with it. Nevermind the boring processes in how I discovered. Genetics is a big part.
If we took schools out of the equation, ADD doesn’t become a problem anymore. If we took all the dysfunctions in our world out of the equation; paper chase, “work”, commitments to mortgages, bills, etc., conforming to social rituals – you know, all those things we were made to believe makes the world go round. Take all of that out of the equation and ADD is not a problem, actually. At least, not for me.
I used to give the benefit of the doubt to all those things about how I need to be like this or like that in order to “get ahead”. Sometimes that maxim feels strange because I don’t really feel like I’m behind. Often, the world feels as if it’s moving very slowly and there’s a buildup of energy which causes me to fidget, doodle,etc. Even as an adult, I find it difficult to plonk myself for an hour in a hairdresser’s chair. However, if I’m watching a cognitively engaging presentation or talk – it goes in. Like what many adults would’ve observed, children may seem as if they’re not paying attention but it all goes in. Forcing them to “pay attention” is akin to asking them to tune out while watching paint dry.
How do I function as an adult? I find work and schedules that play on my strengths, that fits into my abilities. Isn’t that what productivity and creativity is about? If I had been an adult 20 years ago there’d be less working opportunities for me. Most Penang jobs in the 80s and 90s were assembly line jobs. Most functions nowadays call for multi-tasking and a multidisciplinary approach to problem solving. There are things I can spend very long hours engaging in : writing and surfing the net, for instance. When a Baby Boomer friend told me she cannot troubleshoot her computer because she doesn’t have the patience to sit for hours in front of a computer, I chuckled that maybe SHE has ADHD.
See, within an activity which allows us to vary our speed, (our time perspective) we can engage ourselves for long periods of time and get into a zone. There must be a reason why I have ADHD. There must be a reason why hundreds of thousands of people like me cannot “fit” into the classical, unquestioned models of how to live life and succeed in it. The reason is because the new world calls for a destruction of all the old systems we are currently being dictated by.
Growing up in the “still old-world” and going against the grain, I’m benefiting from all the things the old world said I shouldn’t do or be. So I wouldn’t exactly worry if my ADD child wouldn’t “fit in” in the future. By the time they grow up, the world would revolve around them and what they want to re-create and not other way around.
I can hear the fear ,”What if I’m wrong? What if they can’t get a job without a university degree?” – Universities are around for one reason and one reason only : to make a profit. Learning takes second place only if the university is making profits. You can’t possibly buy equipment, fund research and pay professors without financial resources. If there are hundreds of thousands of children the obsolete schooling model of the Industrial Age rejected, don’t you think some smart enterprise would TEACH these kids Information Age skills for a fee and help them get even more lucrative incomes based on Revolutionary Wealth?
I wouldn’t worry about fitting in into work or school. Schools and hierarchical corporations are a thing of the past. It is predicted that the fallout in Schooling will be greater than the fallout in mass media/newspapers. (Seth Godin, Education at the Crossroads). Learning and “getting it”, scaffolding and self-directed learning, social networking, collating, collaborating is the new School of Thought. ADHD people are predisposed to doing well in these 21st century tasks. We live in a Time Paradox and it would appear that ADHD could have its benefits.
I think unless we have an insider’s view of what ADHD is, that is, to have experienced it ourselves, it is difficult to decide what is the loving parental thing to do – medicate or not medicate. The advocates for medicating children are multi-billion dollar industries supporting practitioners who make very lucrative incomes from prescription drugs. Other advocates are crumbling institutions like schools with their Collective Ego. Parents will have to reclaim back their relationship with their children if School fails. And when Parents reclaim that relationship they will grow to love and trust their children at a deeper level unimaginable before. If that happened, would governments have such an easy time squandering our children’s futures?
As a caveat, I have to say that I’m not forcing parents to NOT medicate. Rather, I’m saying, keep an open-mind because there are way too many things we don’t have a frame of reference for, that we cannot understand (how their mind works) exists for a purpose that will only be revealed in time.