Friday, January 20, 2012

ADHD or Creativity?

Life with S: Part 1
My dear 7 year old son is looking through an encyclopedia as I type. He is so engaged nothing could distract him right now. Does this child have ADHD? His psychologist seems to think so. I'm not so sure.
We've encountered many issues with this extremely creative, smart, energetic, strong-willed boy. He has always been "more". More sensitive, perceptive, intense. He likes things his way and we've duked it out on many occasions. He can be intensely interested in a myriad of things in one day or totally immersed in one. His current interests range from the Civil War to his little milk teeth named ickle and Lardee. In fact, I could just kiss Inhae Lee for her wonderful book "My Milk Toof". It has inspired so much creativity, not to mention reading, for my son.
So, things have been rough at school. He doesn't like the "work". O.K., I know, everyone has to learn to work, I get that, but this kid can really just check out. You can find him lost in his head not paying attention to anything in the classroom. Why? when he's got a much more interesting adventure going on in his head! He doesn't have any learning problems, but he is a closet learner. He won't show you what he knows until he's got it down. He doesn't like to perform under pressure. He can read, quite well, but his teacher doesn't know it because he won't show her!
Right now he is reading The Cat in the Hat. I read it to him earlier and now he is reading it to himself. And he's also drawing scenes from the book and creating his own Voom, that he placed inside his hat. To S, life is a story. If there's no story what's the point?
So back to the school scenario. His teacher is super accommodating but he still doesn't get his work done. When asked why he will say either "it's boring" or "I get distracted". Which is it? Or is it both? On the Conners scale he showed high scores for hyperactivity/impulsivity, defiance/anger and peer realtions. This was true for both the parents and teachers scale. So at least we are both seeing the same things but what does it mean? Doc says ADHD but that just isn't settling with me.
I'm currently reading some research about the coincidence of ADHD and creativity. It mentions individuals like Thomas Edison, Robert Frost and Frank Lloyd Wright as having problems that are associated with ADHD, but we all know they are well known for their creativity.
I'm not saying my kid is in the company of Edison, but is it possible that he's just a highly creative guy acting just the way God made him to be. The jury is still out.
The most recent question form my dear little guy "Where did Dr. Suess get all his creative ideas?" Good question. He probably daydreamed too!

Thoughts on writing

This was in response to a wonderful post by Patricia Zaballos of Wonderfarm.

As a part time public school teacher and part time home school mom I find myself in the midst of two different worlds. I know what is good for kids but it is very difficult to bring all that into the classroom. We have so many standards!! I really don’t like it that we do, so I try to give them the best and somehow hit the standards as well (not always easy;)
I home school my 7 year old son (2 days a week) as school is quite difficult for him, especially the work part, and writing. He was recently diagnosed with ADHD but I’m not quite buying that label. Dictation is the only way for him to get his thoughts down. If I have him write on his own it’s short, choppy, not much to it. If I offer to be his secretary then bam! I get the whole scoop. He loves to draw and add speech bubbles and make signs on post it notes; that’s writing in my book! His teacher at school, however, expects something a little different! I truly think he gets bored with the read a story do the workbook pages format. Yawn! He would rather look at National Geographic, listen to Magic Tree House books on CD or “read” his civil war books. Now were getting interesting!
Your thoughts also inspire me as a teacher (grades 4-6). We are required to teach several different essay formats (persuasive, narrative, etc). So many of my students can’t think of what to say! The time they had the most to say was when I had them write a persuasive piece about why they should get more recess. They actually came up with some convincing ideas (we need to get our energy out so we can focus on learning and the teachers need more time to eat and prepare) that were presented at a staff meeting. They now have a longer recess twice a week! Why did they write so well and have so much to say? Because they cared. It mattered to them. Why would you write about anything else?