Wednesday, March 11, 2009

attention, ADD, ADHD and the hands

I have a student in school who is extremely distracted and impulsive and his parents use the purchase of new video games to buy his cooperation. He told me yesterday that being in wood shop was the worst day of his life (though he had told me only moments before how much fun he was having). So, I asked him when his best days are. "When I get a new game and can play all day."

This blog is not an appropriate place to discuss individuals, but it is painful for me to be in a position to see cause and effect and to not have the ability to bring clarity and change. It is something that we are working on. I have been gathering articles on the connections between ADHD and ADD with television and computer game time to share with parents and staff at Clear Spring School. The widely held assumption among parents is that we are doing a good job for our children if we can provide full access to technology. That may actually be our very biggest mistake.

For many children with attention difficulties, the television and video games are the only things fast paced enough to fully occupy their attention, and to see one's exhaustingly overactive child sitting and fully occupied in an activity would lead one to feel a sense of quiet relief.

But there is an amazing amount of widely disregarded research linking tv and video game time with poor performance in school, problems in attention, behavior, obesity and poor social adjustment. The evidence of these things is stronger than the evidence linking smoking and lung cancer. And yet we do nothing.

There are positive changes that could be made with little cost and huge benefit. Engage children in crafts. Engage ourselves in crafts. Interested in woodworking? I can help.

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