Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Eleven Year Old Arrested...

for being an eleven year old?

Everyone seems to be all up-in-arms (ooops - is that too violent of an image?) about this eleven year old kid being arrested for drawing threatening stick figures advocating the killing of teachers.
"The picture, however, was the product of instructions from the boy’s therapist, who told him to draw instead of act out in class when his attention deficit disorder flares up."
 Before going further, allow me to say that I have ADD, and spent several years teaching 4th grade in a private boy's school.  ADD (my preferred designation over ADHD) is a real biological condition.  ADD's location in the brain can be seen in imaging studies, and the neurochemistry of ADD can be described.

Without going into great detail on the medical aspects, one thing is quite apparent to those who study people with ADD; we lean heavily toward the visual learning side of the equation.  Very heavily.  There were several boys in my classrooms, who in my opinion, had ADD.  They were all exceptionally bright and were very good artists.  One of my tactics to help them focus was to allow them to doodle while I was teaching - something the administration of the school did not like one single little bit.  One of the boys loved to draw battleships with big booming cannons.  I never viewed this as a threat, but only as something boys do. 

When tested the following day, the doodling boys would ace the test on the subject being taught.  The doodling (visual) helped them to focus on what was being said (verbal), because in most cases, words are a waterfall of sounds washing over us ADD'ers that flow into some distant lake with no boat, let alone paddles for the boat.

I don't think any of us can comment on this story without having all the details, although it appears that to arrest him for drawing a "threatening" stick figure drawing is a bit over-the-top.  Particularly in our current culture where violent imagery is everywhere - not just in the halls of the state capitol of Wisconsin (couldn't resist that.)

We also don't know if this boy was on medication, a "solution" that in most cases, in my opinion, is highly inappropriate.  People with ADD have a different way of learning, and it is much more profitable to "teach to their strengths", of which they have many.

I might add that the student perpetrators of every school shooting was on medication of some sort - usually some form of anti-depressant.  We indeed live in a strange world where we line our children up en masse and force dangerous chemicals into their bodies as a way to cover for teaching deficiencies.

Oh yes - find me at a lecture and you'll find me doodling...

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