Thursday, November 29, 2012

Inconvenient Student Disorder

Mass schooling not only offers many impediments to true learning, it also actively distorts society's view of what is normal child behavior as it seeks ways to control and modify their behavior purely for its own ends. 

An article from HealthDay reports that "In the past decade, the number of children receiving a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has risen by 66 percent, new research indicates. In 2000, just 6.2 million physician office visits resulted in a diagnosis of ADHD. By 2010, that number had jumped to 10.4 million office visits."

10.4 million represents about 20% of school-aged children  in the U.S. Think about that for a minute. 

Now, examine the list of official diagnostic symptoms for ADHD, taken from the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It includes: 
  • Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace. 
  • Often avoids, dislikes, or doesn't want to do things that take a lot of mental effort for a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).
  • Often loses things needed for tasks and activities (e.g. toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
  • Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat when sitting still is expected.
  • Often gets up from seat when remaining in seat is expected.
  • Often blurts out answers before questions have been finished.
  • Often has trouble waiting one's turn.
These are not symptoms of an abnormality --- it is a laundry list of behaviors that are inconvenient to a teacher trying to manage a large class. The kid in question is simply not docile and passive enough to sit patiently through something that does not interest that child. And it's not the occasional kid that is ill-suited for sitting quietly behind a desk all day and doing what he/she is told. It is about 20% of them! 


And there are literally no limits to how poorly and inhumanely kids diagnosed can be treated in a classroom, once they have been diagnosed with ADHD. This recent article posted on KATU reveals that Mint Valley Elementary School in Longview, Washington put elementary kids (we are talking 6-12 year olds here!) that were showing "behavioral problems" in a padded isolation cell. The school officials claimed this was merely a form of "therapy". But any sane individual should be able to see it for it is --- a punitive prison, a menacing jail. It is an instrument for behavioral control all right, but not one that belongs anywhere in a free, enlightened, society.

After a justifiable outcry after one concerned parent posted photos of it on Facebook, the school district has decided to suspend the use of these cells. I think this incident, given how long and freely the school operated this isolation cell, very pointedly illustrates the dark connection between coercive control in large classrooms and ADHD diagnoses.

(photos from


Here is a trailer for a documentary focusing on the issue of medication for ADHD diagnosed children, called "The Drugging of Our Children":

And the following is a trailer for a 2009 documentary called "The War on Kids," which makes this very point about ADHD being used to exert control in the classroom. This movie also discusses how kids freedoms are curtailed as they are suspended for various minor "offenses" due to excessive zero-tolerance policies:



Alice C. Parker said...

OMG. ADHD symptoms can appear just due to sleep deprivation. And lots of children are simply active and not ready to sit quietly for long periods of time. Others are just bored at the creeping pace of the classroom.

Bhaskar Krishnamachari said...

Yes, indeed!