Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a disorder characterized by excessive activity and difficulties with regulating emotions and focusing on specific tasks. Recently, there has been a lot of debate about whether ADHD is a disorder or a different cognitive ability. Indeed, ADHD causes behavioral problems in children and can become an obstacle to their comfortable social life. However, it can also be considered a cognitive feature, for which a special developmental approach is necessary.
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This idea is explicitly described by Stephen Tonti, who was also diagnosed with ADHD as a child. In his talk, he remembers his childhood, when he was engaged in numerous activities, such as playing several musical instruments, doing different sports, and assisting in the theater. He suggests that ADHD is not a disorder but a difference in cognition: for example, such people can hyper-concentrate on something that interests them and tend to look at the bigger picture (TEDx Talks, 2013). Indeed, ADHD cannot only be considered a usual disease that should be treated with medications. Stephen explains that this cognitive diversity should be accepted by society (TEDx Talks, 2013). With necessary support and assistance, people with ADHD are able to become prominent in their chosen spheres.
I do not know any people with ADHD in person; however, many examples can be found among well-known figures. For instance, some successful actors and athletes of the modern time are diagnosed with ADHD (Madd Medic, 2014). Moreover, this list includes Leonardo da Vinci, Picasso, and many other geniuses in art and science (Madd Medic, 2014). These examples prove that even though coping with ADHD can be challenging for people, after finding their fields of interest, they can fully realize their talents.
Unfortunately, there is not much awareness about how to deal with children with ADHD. In order to assist parents and teachers, therapists tend to prescribe excessive medication. According to Stephen Tonti, twelve and even sixteen-year-old children are too young to be treated with medication, the effects of which are sometimes difficult to handle. (TEDx Talks, 2013). He suggests that it is necessary to shape a different attitude towards ADHD and promote acceptance of such people in society. He also emphasizes the importance of parents’ and educators’ support and encouragement, whose patience and readiness to learn together with the child can make prescribing medications unnecessary (TEDx Talks, 2013). An excessive amount of pills can be unhealthy for children with ADHD, and sufficient effort from parents and teachers is the most appropriate solution to the problem.
In addition, many problems related to dealing with ADHD children remain in schools. In many cases, these students have to leave school because of their behavioral problems, such as hyperactivity and aggressiveness (WMUR-TV, 2014). Therefore, current learning environments cannot be considered appropriate for such children. However, new approaches and techniques are created to organize comfortable learning conditions. One of the solutions was suggested by the Hunter School in New Hampshire and is referred to as energetic mindfulness (WMUR-TV, 2014). This educational program is described as raising children’s awareness of their thoughts and consciousness (WMUR-TV, 2014). A usual school day includes both academic and open-air activities. Since it is impossible to eliminate pills, which can be necessary, this integrated approach is designed to help children self-regulate, as well as reduce the amount of medicine taken by them.
In conclusion, ADHD is a widespread behavioral disorder, which, however, can be considered a different cognitive ability with its benefits and disadvantages. Medications remain one of the most common solutions to this problem; however, their excessive amount can harm a child. Therefore, it is necessary to raise awareness of parents and teachers about how to encourage and educate such children. In an accepting environment and with sufficient support, people with ADHD can learn how to control their behavior and become successful members of society.
Madd Medic. (2014). Famous people who have ADHD [Video]. YouTube.
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TEDx Talsk. (2013). ADHD as A difference in cognition, not a disorder: Stephen Tonti at TEDxCMU [Video]. YouTube.
WMUR-TV. (2014). School takes unique approach to teaching kids with ADHD [Video]. YouTube.