Love this NYT article (A Natural Fix for ADHD) about ADHD and how it was an evolutionary advantage back in the days of nomadic living. ADHD is NOT an illness — it’s our culture that makes it so.
Interesting theory about the recent “rise” in diagnosis:
I think another social factor that, in part, may be driving the “epidemic” of A.D.H.D. has gone unnoticed: the increasingly stark contrast between the regimented and demanding school environment and the highly stimulating digital world, where young people spend their time outside school. Digital life, with its vivid gaming and exciting social media, is a world of immediate gratification where practically any desire or fantasy can be realized in the blink of an eye. By comparison, school would seem even duller to a novelty-seeking kid living in the early 21st century than in previous decades, and the comparatively boring school environment might accentuate students’ inattentive behavior, making their teachers more likely to see it and driving up the number of diagnoses.
Why are there not so many adult cases? Because adults get to choose their careers. You don’t choose a desk job of routine tasks if you are ADHD. You chose to start a small company or do something stimulating, like an ER doctor or firefighter.
School gives kids so little choice. It forces them to sit still — awful — for far too long during the day. They are fed information, and sit passively in school — no wonder kids with ADHD have trouble. Even kids without ADHD have trouble.
As the article suggests, let’s put kids with ADHD in situations in which they can thrive. And they can. Reinforce the positives of this, take advantage of it. Don’t keep crushing these poor kids by putting the round peg in the square hole!