By Peter Shankman
May 11, 2016
Source Article: https://nypost.com/2016/05/11/stop-drugging-adhd-kids-and-start-teaching-them-to-use-their-gifts/
This year, Americans will spend more than $8 billion on members of the stimulant family, in a desperate attempt to keep squirmy school kids with ADHD glued to their chairs — or sometimes, even their kindergarten rugs.
But what if, in an effort to get kids to behave like 55-year-old men, parents and teachers are actually drugging the creativity out of our next generation of leaders?
As a New York City public-school kid who grew up with obvious, but at the time undiagnosed, attention issues, I attribute my success to the fact that I was always too fast, too off the beaten track, too squirmy.
I wasn’t put on medication to “make me like everyone else,” and I consider myself ridiculously fortunate to have had teachers at LaGuardia High School of Music and Performing Arts who recognized my creativity and encouraged me to run with it, instead of convincing my parents to shove a pill down my throat to calm me down.
Fast-forward to today, and I’m a best-selling author, an entrepreneur who’s started and successfully sold three companies and a corporate keynote speaker to companies around the world on customer service and the consumer economy. I know a little bit about keeping people’s attention.
I’m also diagnosed ADHD for over 15 years, and it’s because of my ADHD, not in spite of it, that I’m as successful as I am today.
When I got into the real world, I discovered that my creativity and unbounded energy didn’t fit into a traditional corporate environment, so I went out on my own as an entrepreneur — and it was the best decision I ever made.
According to a recent study, students with ADHD are 2.7 times more likely to have dropped out of school before high school graduation. Yet the No. 1 way to lower dropout rates is to introduce students to something they’re passionate about — whether it’s sports, music or any subject. The answer isn’t “Throw them on meds and hope for the best.”
It’s time to stop looking at ADHD as a negative, and start understanding the positives and incredible benefits of being gifted with a brain that runs a thousand times faster than normal. Teachers need to understand that a student with a faster brain doesn’t automatically equate to “difficult to teach,” but rather, that much more interested and able to learn, if the information is presented in a way that reaches that student.
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