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Monday, February 27, 2006



I recently finished reading several books about ADHD. I started researching attention issues after a particularly draining workshop with Grade 1-3 gifted kids. I learnt a lot about sequencing activities and teaching so that all children could learn more easily and effectively. However, the characterisics and behaviours identified as the "symptom cluster" for ADHD could just as easily be a gifted person, acting this way for any number of reasons.

What does this mean? Are all gifted people ADHD? Am I?! I recognized myself in many case studies. It makes my head spin a little. Especially because according to some experts the only way to know for sure if you have it is to try stimulant medication and see if it alleviates your symptoms. About 2/3 of people diagnosed with some form of ADHD respond to meds - so what about the other 1/3? What hope or help for them?

My interim conclusion is that we are in the infancy of all brain sciences and in future people will look back on this time and shudder at our ignorance. There's no doubt that our medications do wonders for many mental illnesses and that we have made enormous progress. But in terms of understanding what is really going on inside someone's mind and soul and treating it by applying chemicals to their brain, I think we have miles to go.

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jo_jo, as a hyper and easily distracted teacher of all sorts of hyper kids, I wonder if we should look at ADD & ADHD as an asset rather than a problem. When students and teachers experience the joy of learning, ADHD or not, they focus and complete tasks extremely well. Maybe school needs to finally change instead of forcing the kids to change. Sorry, if I'm ranting a bit...it is state mandated test week.
"Are all gifted people ADHD?" Unfortunately, I think many gifted people are misdiagnosed as having ADD or ADHD, and are treated chemically to mimic "normal" behavior. There's a parallel one could draw to the world in Huxley's Brave New World...
back in grade two (1983) i was in a grade two/three split class. my teacher couldnt understand why i didnt do anything and was such a problem. they thought i was slow. my mom of course knew that i started reading before i was two years old so she put up a fuss. the testing began. lo and behold it turns out that i was "gifted" to the tune of the 99th percentile. great, yippee . . . what happened after that? not much. they more or less left me alone. they wouldnt even let me join the chess club because i was too young (even though i could beat everyone). he's smart, they said, he doesnt need any help.

i think being labeled as gifted was one of the worst things that ever happened to me. i would have much prefered to have been labeled ADD (without the drugs of course) and have gotten some real attention. what the gifted diagnosis did to me was alienate an already self-alienated kid. all throughout my schooling i was taken out of class for tests and shipped away once a week for special classes where we played games of all things. it was such a waste of time.

my teachers never connected with me and hardly ever made me do anything special and whenever they did it was always a hassle. it really made me feel like i was a burden on everyone. i turned into an anti-social underachiever who ate his lunch in the library every day, alone. . .
oooh. I read somwhere, but I'n not sure that I save the arcticle in question, that one's reaction to ADHD drugs is NOT a sign of whether or not one has a condition called ADHD. Rather, current information suggests that these drugs work in the same way on anybody -- however they do tend to shrink the brain.
To Uninterlaced: What happened to you would not have happened to you in the ostensibly more backwards colonial society I come from. What this implies to me is that the world has lost something -- and it is NOR colonialism. Rather, this contemporary world as thrown out the baby with the bathwater, in its opposition to what it only vaguely understands about "colonialism" and its "elitism".

The lesson today? You WILL be punished if you are not entirely flat, boring and conformist. You will be unconsciously, and unthinkingly flayed.

These ass-heads who will punish you actually believe themselves to be appropriately punishing "elitism".
Sorry for the typo--
NOT colonialism
I have some ADHD tendencies. While I have never been diagnosed I have been treated as if I had some terrible disorder by some in my life. Of course that had to be cleansed. So I no longer am around these people.

I know that when I drink coffee it helps me to focus on things. It also helps my oldest daughter who is probably ADHD. Again I don't like the social stigma that being "diagnosed" gives.

I am not sure if I'd try any other stimulant. I hardly take aspirin for headaches trying natural ways to alleviate the problems.

I think that maybe right now the drugs are just a step. We certainly have a long way to go.
Thanks to all for your thoughtful comments. I really do appreciate your feedback.
Drinking coffee does help humans concentrate. You don't need to be adhd to experience this effect with coffee.
I meant 'affect'.

need coffee
Imagine if they gave Da Vinci or Aristotle meds? Conformity leads to a flat world, not one that goes round. (and they gave Socrates meds and look where it got HIM?)

And, Unsane, you were right with 'effect' ... but have coffee anyway :-)
This is what I have exactly wondered in my whole life in college as a psych major -- ADHD vs. giftedness. Thank you for your interesting posting!!
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