In short, people with A.D.H.D. may not have a disease, so much as a set of behavioral traits that don’t match the expectations of our contemporary culture.
Reading this article reminded me immediately of when I read, Teaching as a Subversive Activity by Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner. I think that was about 1982, and I’d been led in a convoluted way to that book by reading Marshal McLuhan’s seminal treatise, ‘The medium is the message.’
The education system itself contributes to, causes, and/or exacerbates the issues of a perceived attention/focus problem. When that same individual is put in a different environment, those “disruptive, unhelpful behaviours” become an advantage. Unfortunately, that “different environment” is often unconventional, non-traditional, unstructured, or just plain whacked. Said individual is still out of step with the rest of the world, but successful within his/her own sphere.
I have no issue with the fMRI showing that the brain of an individual with AD/HD fires differently than someone without, but I have always objected to, and continue to object to, the pathologizing of this difference. School is a “one-size-fits-all” behemoth …that doesn’t.
Instead of laying the blame where it belongs – on the system – we label and medicate the kids. Because, as we all know, sitting in a desk for hours, with 30 other people the same age, being told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it, is such an accurate reflection of real life.