Monday, January 26, 2009

ADD, ADHD, and all the hyper-s הפרעות קשב + ריכוז

I blame neighter the schools nor the teachers, for kids not being able to concentrate, and I don’t deny the phenomenon of hyperactivity (not the clinical disorder known as hyperkineticism, but the term as it’s widely used today). I simply believe that in the vast majority of cases, it’s not a congenital condition with a medical solution, any more than abused children becoming abusive parents is a medical condition. Both are RESULTS. Of what is hyperactivity a result? Of –surprise, surprise — an entire generation of kids having been parked in front of the TV set from the moment they can sit up alone―that, combined with absent parents and / or doofus-y, spineless, clueless parenting.

From my experience and observation, it generally takes two years to master literacy in one’s mother tongue. Ditto for arithmetic skills. There’s no magic formula: Reading is a skill that demands sitting still and concentrating on a linear, sequential task. No amount of Sesame Street or Multiplication Rock bells ‘n’ whistles is going to make that happen.

So why are we so surprised that kids who’ve been nursed on TV can’t read? Yes, hyperactivity exists. Yes, it manifests itself just as the checklists describe. No, I don’t agree that it’s a congenital condition. My suggestion: Pull the plug on the tube and get parents back into the picture, and perhaps we’ll start seeing six-year-olds who can sit still long enough to learn the alphabet.

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