|On Being ADHD
||[Oct. 24th, 2010|03:29 pm]
Kelly J. Cooper
I was listening to "On Being" on WGBH today, before work, and they were replaying Krista Tippett's interview with Adele Diamond (which I missed the first time around). Krista notes,
Her work is scientifically illustrating the educational power of things like play, sports, music, memorization and reflection. What nourishes the human spirit, the whole person, it turns out, also hones our minds.Specifically, we don't learn very well in a passive environment. We learn well when engaged with the material in a full-body way. We develop the different aspects of our executive function through these active engagements. One of those elements of the executive function is inhibitory control. In Adele Diamond's own words:
You need inhibitory control to stay on task when you're bored or when you meet initial failure. You need inhibitory control to focus in on something in the environment so that you're not overwhelmed by all the other things around. You need inhibitory control — for example, let's say you see an old friend that you haven't seen in years. And your first reaction on seeing your old friend is, "My god, how much weight you've gained." But you don't say that. Instead you exercise inhibitory control and you instead say something to make your friend feel good.What if the vast majority of ADHD was simply due to the neglect of cultivating the executive function in children's minds? I'm not saying there's no such thing as ADHD on a physical and neurochemical level, but what if the explosion of diagnoses of this condition is only partly due to improved diagnostics? What if we're creating ADHD kids by neglecting thousands of years of traditions (that include music, story telling, dancing, etc.) and leaving their executive functions atrophied?