By Hwaa Irfan
For some first impressions are the lasting impressions, but in reality first impressions tells one very little about a stranger. For those unfortunate enough to have a sticky label slapped onto defining who they are their entire lives can be shaped by those first impressions. If they have enough self knowledge and self worth, it might be a way of thanks that, that they have been bequeathed with that man-made label, because it inspires them to do great things – one is not caught up in the narrow definitions of social acceptability, and so one has the freedom to explore the things that really interests one. But others are not so fortunate because their sensibilities allow for that label to disable their potential, and may find themselves caught in the struggle between the true self, and the desired self.
For those who fall under the acceptable label of “Attention Deficit”, especially when at school in these times when children are supposed to be seen and not heard, the battle is greater as the education process has fallen down the gully of endless information, void of real knowledge. More so now than ever, societal expectations arise from a paranoia that …”if one is not like me…” then the “other” is rejected or worse stigmatized because one does not “fit into” the prescribed way of existence. If Tesla, Leonardo Da Vinci or St. Francis of Assisi were born today, how much would you bet that they would be categorized with having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD along with the long term side-effects from the medication.
In the U.S., this is a real problem for young people because it has a psychological implication being designated as a neurological disease – a medically illegitimate classification, with the kind of implication that begins at school, ending up on debilitating medication. It is with hope that the findings of research carried out by researchers from the University of Michigan and Eckerd College, U.S. have found that adults who have been designated with having ADHD are more creative than those who have not. The researchers also found that ADHD designated people had preferred thinking styles, and were good at generating ideas, but for whatever reason ADHD designated people were not good at carrying out tasks. Their preferred thinking style is referred to as “divergent thinking” one wonders if this “divergence” is in relation to the status quo which is successful at the kind of thinking that maintains the status quo that many are suffering from today!
Sixty students participated in the study, half of whom were designated as ADHD sufferers, and they tested higher in the subjects: humor, music, visual arts, culinary arts, invention and writing. Whereas non-ADHD designated students preferred the problem/ideas to be clarified, i.e. set out for them, ADHD designated people preferred to develop the ideas, to define and structure the problem.
If one looks at Waldorf/Steiner education where the child’s natural developmental processes structures their learning process, one will find that ADHD designated people are in fact quite normal, probably more normal, but as a ADHD designated child in the schooling system i.e. mainstream factory education, that child is entrained to believe there is something wrong. For far too long, proponents of the natural education process have argued that mainstream education is unnatural, and has little to do with the child. Learning words and the meaning of those words is what makes education today reducing the world of knowledge down to an endless unlived stream of information. The mainstream modern education process remains the same despite much like modern western medicine, meaning that as long as most get by without measuring the human and societal loss, that modus operandus remains the same. One can just add to the burden of proof the 2010 study (University of Minnesota’s College of Liberal Arts and College of Science and Engineering ) which established what is known by natural educators and children themselves that the first stage of the learning process is visual.
“When I think of my childhood days, I am reminded of Shri Sivasubramania Iyer who taught me when I was studying in 5th class at the age of 10. He was the great teacher in our school. All of us loved to attend his class and hear him. One day he was teaching about bird’s flight. He drew a diagram of a bird on the blackboard depicting the wings, tail and the body structure with the head. He explained how the birds create the lift and fly. He also explained to us how they change direction while flying. Nearly for 25 minutes he gave the lecture with various information such as lift, drag, how the birds fly in a formation of 10, 20 or 30. At the end of the class, he wanted to know whether we understood how the birds fly. I said I did not understand how the birds fly. When I said this, the teacher asked the other students whether they understood or not. Many students said that they also did not understand. Our response did not upset him, since he was a committed teacher.
Our teacher said that he would take all of us to the seashore. That evening the whole class was at the sea shore of Rameswaram. We enjoyed the roaring sea waves knocking at the sandy hills in the pleasant evening. Birds were flying with sweet chirping voice. He showed the sea birds in formations of 10 to 20 numbers. We saw the marvelous formations of birds with a purpose and we were all amazed. He showed us the birds and asked us to see that when the birds fly, what they looked like. We saw the wings flapping.
He asked us to look at the tail portion with the combination of flapping wings and twisting tail. We noticed closely and found that the birds in that condition flew in the direction they desired. Then he asked us a question, where the engine is and how it is powered. Bird is powered by its own life and the motivation of what it wants. All these aspects were explained to us within Fifteen minutes. We all understood the whole bird dynamics from this practical example. How nice it was?
Our teacher was a great teacher; he could give us a theoretical lesson coupled with a live practical example available in nature. This is real teaching…” – A.P.J. ‘Abdul Kalam, the third Muslim president of India.
The above account of demonstrates the power of learning visually, i.e. from life/the environment in which one lives. Instead we have findings like that of Citizens Commission on Human Rights, International, CHRR, that 20 million American children are taking psychiatric drugs with one study conveying that 1 million children are misdiagnosed as having ADHD, and another study finding that the youngest in a class is more likely to be diagnosed, probably because they still have some developmental stages to go before being stuck behind a desk with a teacher who is probably more demoralized by the education process than the students are!
“The psychiatric/pharmaceutical industry spends billions of dollars a year to convince the public, legislators and the press that psychiatric disorders such as Bi-Polar Disorder, Depression, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, etc., are medical diseases on par with verifiable medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Yet unlike real medical disease, there are no scientific tests to verify the medical existence of any psychiatric disorder. To counter this obvious flaw in their push to medicalize behaviors, the psychiatric industry will claim that there are certain medical conditions that do not have a verifiable test so this is why there isn’t one for “mental illness.” This is frankly a lame argument; Whereas there may be rare medical conditions that do not have a verifiable medical test, there are virtually no psychiatric disorders that can be verified medically as a physical abnormality/disease. Not one.” – CHRR
If you are a parent concerned about the way your child is being designated, and medication is involved, check out www.cchrint.org/psychdrugdangers/. It will provide information on the drug prescribed, what it is for, how it is being used, the side effects, and your rights!
“1 Million Misdiagnosed ADHD Children for $80B Drug Industry.” http://www.opednews.com/populum/print_friendly.php?ok=y&p=What-is-Informed-Consent-by-MedicalWhistleblow-100901-118.html
University of Michigan (2011, March 17). Adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder score high in creativity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 20, 2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2011/03/110311153543.htm
University of Minnesota (2010, November 12). Scientists find learning in the visual brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 14, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2010/11/101110113048.htm