ADD/ADHD has steadily been getting a lot of press lately. So much so that it’s pretty hard not to have an opinion on it as it is variously linked with spiraling morals and the inability of the future generation to harness what they’re about to inherit. Aside from all that fuzziness, there still is the reality that kids growing up today are bombarded/distracted at every turn. Internet, media, BBM, chat, billboards, games, entertainment, mags, highly publicized trends, politically revolutionary times and just general 24×7 sensory overload greets our kids every day. So we blame the kids’ inability to focus on ADD/ADHD.
Kids are growing up in probably one of the most radical times in our short history- and just responding to that. Even, as working professionals, there’s a strong link between our survival/success rate and our (in)ability to multitask efficiently. And by that, I don’t mean just our working life. I’m also talking about overall life balance. Note: highly specialized and focused work is mutually exclusive to multitasking and not to be confused.
My suggestion would be to adapt curricula and more importantly, the mechanisms for delivering educational content rather than drug our kids into a state of submission and destroy their creativity. Spend two minutes reading, then interrupt that with some writing for a few moments, then interrupt that and start a different thread. Sounds like a regular day in the office, doesn’t it? And therein lies a clue. We want our kids to be “successful” in the future, for a career/calling/job which doesn’t exist yet, in an economy not yet finalized. One thing we can guess with a fair amount of certainty is that it’ll contain a fair amount of flux and dynamism. And if anything, the ability to adapt and evolve with trends. My guess is that kids who exhibit a high degree of ADD/ADHD will cope extremely well. Those that resist those changes and expect things to come to them in an orderly fashion will lose out.
So why not guide and lead the kids through a structured program of content, one which might seem haphazard and chaotic; dynamic even, but has un underlying goal and overriding author steering the objectives and the outcomes?
Let’s harness this new found ability kids have to effectively multitask, stop calling it a disorder (due largely to our own ineffectiveness), and embrace it as a super power of sorts, one which is preparing kids for a future we have no real control over. Moreover, let’s help our kids understand and work with this talent, to help them to use it responsibly.
I don’t think the issue lies with kids unable to focus, but rather on outdated 20th century industrialized techniques suddenly finding themselves completely inadequate and at a loss as how to cope with the changes and distractions…