Monday, November 19, 2007

Quickie News Roundup

There's been another explosion in our newspapers lately about the prevalence in ADHD in our kids. I read one staggering figure, that one in ten boys in the US is taking some kind of medication for ADHD symptoms. That's a lot of kids. That's a lot of medicine. That's a lot of money.

Anyway, I believe this was brought on by a recently released study showing the academic acheivement of children with ADHD, which is below the 'typical' child at the start of elementary school, generally catches up to the general population by 6th grade. This is interesting on so many levels, and encouraging for me on many others. Principally, it promotes the view that ADHD is not necessarily a mental illness, but a developmental delay. A maturity delay. For me, that worldview is a big deal. That the medical community is catching on to this and may change methods of treatment is exciting.

Reading around about the issue, I stumbled upon this op-ed/article in The Times out of the UK. The thesis, basically, is that we have forced our children into structure so early, that some are incapable of handling it, hence, ADHD. She comes at it from a kind of anthropologically Marxist kind of view, that as culture has become more technological, and as our culture has become an environment to excel and succeed in skyskrapers rather than as hunter-gatherers or even as farmers, we have alienated the boys of the world from access to what they need most: a good wrastle, risk-taking behaviors away from the eyes of overanxious moms, and a day spent less fearful and more exhuberant. It's an interesting way to see things, mostly because it is the antithesis of the message I get as a mom of one of these 'disturbed children' (you should be more stern with him, he needs more structure and discipline). Instead, her point of view says, boys will be boys. Let them be boys.


jaci said...

uh, totally. i think that boys are just slower to mature. their whole lives. it's okay though. everyone can't be as serious and mature as us ladies. in all seriousness, i remember the days when my little brother was a crazy kid, doing all sorts of insane things just to see what would happen. it was fun because i was all into reading and whatnot.

Peggy said...

I hadn't thought of the idea from an anthropological perspective, but find it intriguing.

As a related tangent - look up this book on Amazon: "The Dangerous Book for Boys"

It was originally published in the UK, too (like the article you mention). It reintroduces boys to the games and crafts and skills that boys amused themselves with for at the most, hundreds of years, - before the digital age and the imposed structure your op/ed writer mentions.

I'd get it for The Kid for Christmas, but I think he probably could have written it - which is a good thing.