A teacher’s aide tells the story of “David,” an exuberant 9-year-old student and so-called problem child. Marked by his teacher’s impressions of his family, David is described as restless, impulsive, and unfocused. The aide felt all the descriptions were unfounded, seeing instead a young man with a keen sense of humor, the ability to communicate well, and much to contribute.
Per the teacher’s instructions, the aide soon became “David’s shadow.” She observed and interacted with David closely for several months. For the most part, David was engaged, interested, humorous, and respectful. The aide noticed that boredom led David to a cycle of misunderstood privilege and discipline, characterizing him as disruptive and bothersome to his teacher.
David behaved early in the day, with the aide’s one-on-one support. The teacher reported that he behaved inappropriately with her, after the aide went home.
So, David’s mother was brought in for a meeting.
The “meducation” of America’s school children comes at “too high a cost”
Soon, the teacher and David’s mother concluded that David should be assessed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In less than a month, David was on medication. The aide watched a child who simply expressed a lack of interest, in her observations, become a child managed under the guise of a “disorder.”
She lamented the trade-off made for a modified, docile student. How many bright, insightful students would be lost to incorrect assessments by overwhelmed teachers? How deeply will the social issues surrounding it affect education? Single-parent households, income, and race and class biases compete with classroom dynamics; all playing a part in “fixing” a child’s perceived developmental and academic problems.
Following her time with David, the teacher’s aide hoped that he could still fulfill his potential. She recognized the supreme amount of effort schools and parents have to make to turn the tide away from psychotropic drug solutions, and toward the one-on-one attention that will better fill many students’ needs. Still, these untapped futures are worth the work; we can’t afford to withhold the required time and necessary money.
Read the entire article here: David’s Shadow: Reflections on a 9-year-old’s ADHD Diagnosis | Integral Health Resources
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