Via haiku, is this insanity or what?
When Dr. Michael Anderson hears about his low-income patients struggling in elementary school, he usually gives them a taste of some powerful medicine: Adderall.
The pills boost focus and impulse control in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Although A.D.H.D is the diagnosis Dr. Anderson makes, he calls the disorder “made up” and “an excuse” to prescribe the pills to treat what he considers the children’s true ill — poor academic performance in inadequate schools.
“I don’t have a whole lot of choice,” said Dr. Anderson, a pediatrician for many poor families in Cherokee County, north of Atlanta. “We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.”
Dr. Anderson is one of the more outspoken proponents of an idea that is gaining interest among some physicians. They are prescribing stimulants to struggling students in schools starved of extra money — not to treat A.D.H.D., necessarily, but to boost their academic performance.
OK, you’re going to say this is insane what’s coming, you’re going to hotly deny it’s anything of the sort. There are three aspects – the short fuse, the unruliness and the inability to concentrate and get down to anything.
In days past, there were expectations on the child that he’d knuckle down and do homework, which was proper homework, exercises on the topic of the day. I was a pretty assiduous student but once I didn’t do my homework and got a detention – first ever. Draconian? I always did my homework thereafter plus took the dux in that teacher’s class.
My father was fearsome on such things and my mother too. Every kid knew he had to do at least some work, even those who found it a slog. We also didn’t eat processed muck 24/7, heading for obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. It was in all the medical texts – overload a person, especially a child, with sugar and precisely the reported symptoms today would occur.
Where are those medical texts today? Been spirited away by the PC Fairy? It was also taken as read that the child exercised – 45 minutes twice a week in the gym and a sports session once a week, with the game on Saturday. Though school dinners have always been dire, the type of fare at home later, when everyone sat at the table to eat, was meat, pressure-cooked veg, a dessert and tea.
You couldn’t get near the other sex in any penetrating way – there were barriers maintained by school and home, there was no internet, a primary age child would never see drugs, he’d manage to get some cigarettes now and then and occasionally some alcohol. I was once in a class of 73 children [the peak number, it kept changing]. Not one child misbehaved and I mean that – not one, not even the roughest boy, the school bully.
Where has the disappearance of authority come from? From relativism in values, from a concerted campaign from the Frankfurt School through to the 60s socialists tearing down all authority and from parents abrogating responsibilities in favour of being the child’s “friend” and never saying no.
And from a marked deterioration in the quality of those authority figures. At school, we had two or three teachers that when they came in that room, the room went silent. One worked for the whole lesson and admittedly breathed a sigh of relief afterwards. There was a fear factor. In my final year, I got to know one of those – the vice principal – and he was one of the most educated and finest people going. And he had a sense of humour. He’d had us fooled. And he loved the kids in a Mr. Chips way.
He set the example.
We misbehaved on the bus going home – someone had to get that pent up energy and it was the poor bus driver. We got hauled up for it. “All those travelling on the — bus at 4:30 p.m. yesterday report to the Headmaster in break time.”
A.D.H.D.? Pills? Pills to enhance performance for underachievers? A pill for obesity? Studies that show that letting yourself go to seed is a gene in you? Matriarchy run rampant and fear in every new thing the child is exposed to? A mother’s angst having no natural checks and balances because there is no father any more?
Let’s not go down that path again.
A.D.H.D. Teach something interesting and teach it well within a culture of industry and respect, teach it with knowledge and love and I wonder how much A.D.H.D. there would be? Always some of course but nothing on this scale.
Special Needs? I saw it done right – the boy had two sessions a week and it was mainly review of the material in a one to one, taking into account the condition the child had. I saw it done wrongly – feely sessions which were meant as a relief from the harsh, tyrannical male teacher and the kid became messed up.
Government prescribed pills in school? Soma, uppers and downers?
Come back, Aldous Huxley – all is forgiven.