We are told that ADD or ADHD is a deficit of attention. According to Merriam Webster it is:
“a developmental disorder that is marked especially by persistent symptoms of inattention (such as distractibility, forgetfulness, or disorganization) or by symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity (such as fidgeting, speaking out of turn, or restlessness)”
While this may have an negative impact on the quality of life of some people (as there are legitimate diagnosis)
I believe that ADD/ADHD is grossly over diagnosed, particularly in children.
“Experts estimate that 5% is a realistic upper limit of children with the disorder, but in many areas of the country, as Watson found in Virginia, up to 33% of white boys are diagnosed with ADHD.” Harvard health article
What if Attention Deficit was reframed as Abundant Curiosity?
In computer science context switching is when the CPU changes from processing one set of instructions to another. This allows multiple programs to appear as though they are running simultaneously. Yet the truth is that our computers are ADHD machines. They switch from program to program so quickly that it appears as though our web browser, word processor and Spotify are all running simultaneously.
This was a huge leap forward in operating systems and computation in general yet this is seen as unacceptable for a child to do.
Could it be that our frame of mind, is skewing our view of mental health?
Is this perspective an artifact of an industrial society, that needed an educational system that creates thoughtless, focused workers. Simply replaceable cogs in a machine? Much can be said about eduction reform and the need for change, (great article here by Seth Godin) but I won’t get too far into that.. perhaps some other time.
Today a person described as distractible, disorganized, speaking out of turn, or restless could very well be the description of a visionary, an innovator, a creative artist, or youtube sensation.
Are we medicating the visionaries of tomorrow, diluting and pacifying their minds so that they can sit still in a class room? Be a little less distracting?
What if its OUR frame of mind that needs medication, the school systems that need to conform to this dynamic group of children that are emerging and forging a new highly connected and innovative economy?
Lets just stop and consider if we really have a deficit of attention or a deficit of creative solutions to keep our children and ourselves inspired?
Please let me know what you think.