Part Two: The Virtual School (The ADD addition)

BUT! I was only concerned until I saw THIS:

Struggling students such as Kelsey-Anne, who suffers from attention deficit disorder, can take more time to finish courses while those who are gifted can go at a faster speed.”

BAAAAAAAAH! If I could run around like Gonzo (the muppet) with my arms flapping around over my head like a cloth-muppet limbs… I would!!
I grew up with A.D.D. It was hard. It sucked. I couldn’t concentrate. I got things wrong. I struggled. I fought. I cried. I was insecure. I was frustrated. I gave up. Everything.
I didn’t know I had A.D.D when I went to Montessori– I simply understood that I didn’t seem to learn like others. Montessori such a free-form joint (I spent a lot of time eating Gerbil food with classmates, writing stories, & playing Cinderella while doing class chores) that I could move at my own speed. I still had tendancies to do things wrong (or just not “get” math), but again, I went to a Montessori– they have noooo problem letting you find your own way.
7th grade: I transferred to an over-crowded Junior High. Hell hath no fury like an A.D.D tween stressin’ out in a new school.
But here’s the thing– all that struggle, frustration, emotional turmoil… it is what gave me:

a) A sense of hard work

b) Creative problem solving

c) Learning my weaknesses and finding solutions
d) Finding success and realizing I can do anything: The world is my oyster and I shall conquer (LOL– not such a bad thing peeps– I’d make cookie breaks a mandetory daily event)

But I was lucky– I had understanding parents who weren’t overbearing, but were strong and supportive. Not every A.D.D kid has that– and there are kids out there that have learning disabilities MUCH rougher than mine were and LESS parental support!

It’s just that– in this day and age where everyone wants the quick fix: give ’em ritalin; blame the teacher; send them to virtual school… I just wish people would take some of the responibility onto themselves. Kids with A.D.D need to know that it IS their OWN problem, but the world CAN help if they ask. They need to learn how to handle situations themselves and NOT have to give up easily to take a softer route. Taking kids out of hard situations to put the in easier ones can sometimes teach them to avoid difficulty and real-time problem solving.

When I was teaching I had the coolest kid named Ryan in my classroom. He had A.D.D and he was in third grade. I know it’s wrong– but he was my FAVORITE kid in the class. Favorite. He would make up the BEST funny stories about Spongebob and he had NO shame when it came to making the others laugh with him.

However– tests in math & spelling? Oh dear. Dear dear dear me. I would have him sit in during recess & after school to study. I had him take and retake and REtake tests. I did EVERYTHING I possibly could to help him aside from doing it myself.

The problem? He was defeated before he began. He had the (dun dun dunnn) A.D.D!!! It wasn’t fair, he didn’t understand, he thought he was dumb— every thing to break your heart. His parents tried everything to help – tutors, flashcards, Sylvan learning Center, etc. But Ryan built a wall. He could not succeed because of the ADD– it was as if that was his mantra. “I can’t do it. I have A.D.D”

I remember being that way in 8th grade. I just didn’t get math. I had A.D.D.

As Ryan’s teacher, and someone who understood how he felt, I did the only thing possible. I sat down with Ryan & his parents and explained my own situation as gently as possible (Because, of course, you don’t want to come out and say “Look, kid, it’s your problem. You’ve GOT to figure out how to solve it yourself with OUR help. Don’t depend on us to do the job for you”).

A.D.D isn’t the end of the road… its a ROAD BLOCK. People get around road blocks all the time– it’s just a matter of finding yourself a path. It’s a matter of owning your situation, taking responsibility for it, and figuring out how to conquer it. Once you learn how to conquer– nothing can stop you. And better than the feeling of success? The appreciation for the path, the lessons learned, the abilities enhanced, the stronger you’ve become.

I’m sorry if it seems I’ve jumped on my soap box – preachy trigger happy. That’s not my intent. I understand that people want the best for their children… and if sticking your A.D.D child in a virtual classroom so they can concentrate on their studies is the best option– it’s your (the parents’) decision. But please people. Give the child a chance to succeed in the face of doubt and difficulty – in the long run, the difficult fight is what will make them a better person.

If any of you would like to open up discussions about A.D.D & technology & learning, let me know. I am very interesting in such subjects. Just shout out.

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  1. September 9, 2007 at 5:06 am

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