In Your Language

Saturday, September 14, 2013

ADHD in a time we're driven to distraction...

Is it really fair to say to someone that they have a weak level of attraction? How do you expect someone to act when we tell them they can't concentrate? Have you ever been able to do something you've told yourself you can't do; if someone else told you you can't do it?

I think it's wise for us to examine our environments, heck our culture, before we start labeling people with inadequacies. Can we think of a person in the frontier days that would have ADHD being surrounded by nature and pertinent work (clear the rocks from the wagon path, watch out for the snakes, find water so you don't dehydrate)? Whereas today, the world of products and things we digitally consume are DESIGNED to distract us. How could they sell without grabbing our attention?

How can we admonish our kids for being distracted when we saturate their environment with so many sensory and attention grabbing things? Adults have the same distractions and a tad more self control. But if we were honest we could own up to our own weakness in concentration. How many times have you checked on your cell phone in the last hour; how many times have you checked on your child in that same time period? Do you see what I'm getting at?

Don't bring your kid into the grocery store and not expect them to grab at everything. That's what the product designers were employed to do; and they do it well because they want their paycheck! Expect people to do exactly what the environment was designed for. If we bring home lots of bad food and some good food that is less attention grabbing, should we really be surprised that only the bad food will be sought out?

Why do we comment on our kid's extra weight but serve them too much food? They can't concentrate with an open room that connects to the trendy food screaming for their attention and also connected to the room they are used to spending playing video games. Why not change the environment we expect them to do anything productive?

I don't think our kids ask for so much to be expected of them. They expect us to know what they can handle because, by the nature of being kids, they aren't wired like us that they function better when they clear off the homework station. I think we should try taking away things in their environment and see how much better they function. If they are more calm with monochrome surroundings, change it. If they need regular lighting instead of over stimulating fluorescent (energy saving) lights; do it. If we give them a sugary snack and expect them to work on a project, perhaps we could give them a more protein snack and try the same request.

Some people need smaller areas to feel secure and protected, some are more claustrophobic and need wide open less cluttered spaces. We need to take back the control of our environments. We need to be aware of what we are consuming (media and food wise). We need to start doing this more intentionally rather than on auto pilot. Do we want to be the rat going through the maze or the scientist that engineers the environment to help the rat solve the maze?

Don't mistake being ineffective for being defective. There is a way... find it! =)

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