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Robert Winner

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1 in 10 US children has ADHD says the CDC

When I read this headline that 1 in 10 has ADHD in MSN Healthy Living on 11-25-13 I immediately thought of Ali Carr-Chellman and her talk : Gaming to re-engage boys in learning. If you are a boy you are 10 times more likely to be diagnosed as ADHD and even higher if you are poor or black.

Why would this be true? Do we really have that extreme of a problem? Has the education system contributed to this issue? If your child is diagnosed and takes the popular meds for ADHD ... Ritalin or Concerta .. are there consequences later in life like elimination of jobs or careers.

Granted there are always extreme issues that need meds ... but not all. Should we be looking for alternatives ... what are some alternatives?

Teachers ... parents ... adults previously diagnosed with ADHD chime in.

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  • Nov 29 2013: It used to be called ADD, then it was called ADHD. When I was a child growing up it was called "an active child".

    ADD and ADHD are legitimate diagnosis for individuals. I have worked with students who are severely ADD and ADHD in my classes. They were easy to spot, difficult to teach, and yes, medicine worked miracles for those students. Those students were the exception, not the norm though.

    ADD and ADHD is extremely over-diagnosed by parents and yes, teachers. School has gone from an active and vital place to sit on your backside in the desk and learn. Brain research screams that the worst thing you can do for the brain is park it in a seat and reduce physical activity to zero. But, for some parents, if my kid is off, there must be something wrong. If my kid is below average, there must be something wrong. ADHD is easy to diagnose and prescribe pills for, issue resolved.

    Good research is coming out on the benefits of physical activity and limiting the effects of active children distracting in the class. And of course, there is good research available that shows that inactive kids cause more issues and are less attentive. Why? Because they don't do anything in class and they need to be active.

    No, I am not a fan of medication for students in general. There are many other good options out there. But, there are cases where a child truly does need medication. Those times should be limited to the times when a student truly needs help and we would take it far more seriously.
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      Nov 29 2013: Thanks ... that you care is evident in your response. I agree that meds are needed in SOME cases. The same old problem will always be with us .. the parents you need to talk to ...will not show up ... when they do it is to threaten on many levels. Seldom to work with you.

      Federal and state interference has changed much since we were young ... some good some not so good. Does your school put the ADHD students into special programs for behavioral treatment? Or do they just medicate and ignore?

      My teachers called me "fiddgity" and disruptive .... my dad whipped my butt and like magic I was cured. Perhaps some of "Doc" Winner's seat applicators could be used on those not medically in need of treatment.

      I can track a lot of this problem back to Dr. Spock child advice of the 40 and 50's. My dad was not much on change though he allowed that the quickest route to my brain was through my back side. He was not cruel of excessive ... he really wanted the best for me.

      How do you see Ali Carr-Chellman's talk? Interesting to get another teachers read on her thoughts.

      Appreciate your reply. Bob.
      • Nov 30 2013: Bob, I just watched the video and honestly, I went in to it with a fairly negative attitude based on past experience with videos like this. Thankfully, I was surprised to find exactly the opposite of what I expected.

        I find her information to be accurate and correct. These are things I said repeatedly when I taught elementary school and things I have seen as I have taught. The discrepancies between boys and girls is significant and accurate. The changes she suggests are good and positive and I find them to be quite refreshing.

        It is refreshing to hear a female voice stating that males are not being treated or educated in a way that meets their needs. That voice has been missing in education as it is a female dominated profession. Males have been saying these things for years and I think you would find that a school with a high number of male educators has less of an issue with some of these items she mentions.

        My one point of contention with her was the issue of video-gaming. I think there is a tendency to speak ill of video games just because of what they are. But I also think that there is more to video games that can be quite negative if not taken in moderation, like all other things. Plus, as I have spent most of my career in Health and Physical Education, I strongly advocate for turning the computer off and going outside or at least being active. That and the last "advocate" for online gaming I saw was pretty much a poor presenter.

        Overall, more research like this needs to come to the forefront of education and be listened to. We can have positive healthy cultures in schools where boys and girls are taught and respected for their similarities and differences. Thanks for recommending this video.
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          Nov 30 2013: Thanks for the reply ... glad you enjoyed it. I coach and find there are two separate groups those who want to be there and try their hardest and those who have parents who are living their lives vicariously through their kids and force them to sign up. Play their kids and your a hero and bench them and your a goat. LOL.

          Quick story: The Army was not getting the high scores they wanted in tank training. They developed a tank war game ... modeled after the actual controls .. etc .... the graphics were great ... They placed it in the enlisted bar on base and the students lined up to pay a quarter to play and fought for the highest score. The real life training scores went up to unexpected highs .... and selection of the honor grads became the hardest thing for the instructors as the whole class was in the running.

          The point here is games are here to stay ... educators MUST come down from the ivory towers and use the tools that are the most effective. When I went to school (with my stone slate and chisel) everything was rote memory ... now there is a theory or rule for everything ... gaming is the next logical step ...

          The problem I see, IMO, is that all controls are in the hands of the state and federal government ... politicians not educators. The educators hired by the feds to advise are lap dogs and there for the big bucks and save their soft job ... not the kids. Textbook writers and test developers are totally in charge of what and when will be taught ... and the big brass think that high states test is the thing.

          The last meeting I went to the teacher used unknown terms and expressed her issues with administration .... she may have been 25 and did not want to be there ... she is right she should not have been there ... she did not return the next year but was the teacher of the month twice in efforts to keep her.

          Teacher, principals, and superintendents have a slippery slope they are working from.

          Tanks again. Bob
      • Dec 1 2013: Bob, I agree with all that you have said here. I am not a big fan of video games mainly from what I have seen with kids who get addicted and sit in front of them for hours at a time day after day. Some students become addicted and spend hours and hours in front of the computer, not active, which leads to a myriad of health issues.

        That being said, I am also not opposed to video games. I enjoy playing a game now and then just simply because they are fun and a release. I think some of the online games now, which are generally free or inexpensive to play, are a great way for kids to connect and enjoy a group activity while building community. I don't feel that there is a direct correlation between video games and violent acts either. But, I do see that the video games that boys really enjoy are the type that most in the education world don't like and see as counter to what should be taught in schools. Because they are violent and full of cool things blowing up and lots of lights and a story line of sorts. I have heard, in past schools, the arguments against these games and how they are teaching boys the wrong things.

        What she said is right though. Video game companies have big budgets to spend on video games and school games just don't. In my master's class, one up and coming teacher did her thesis on what video games teach. She had the research to support it which was interesting. She talked about teaching history, team work, problem solving skills, etc. Things we want kids learning.

        The problem is as you said, those in charge don't see them as valuable at this point. Change will come but slowly.

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