Saturday, August 7, 2010

ADHD and Dancing

First, I would like to answer yesterday's question. David wins for being the closest. The correct answer is 3 because all of the numbers represent how many syllables are in each letter of the alphabet, and the letter "w" is the only letter that has more than one syllable. Unless you count "elemenopee" as one letter, in which case it has 5 syllables. Tricky, tricky. 

Yesterday, while I was at work, I listened to this talk by Ken Robinson about creativity in schools. It was really interesting because he talks about how the public school system focuses on bettering one part of the body, the brain. And usually just the left side of the brain. Math and English are given the highest position in the public school system, then comes Social Studies, and then the arts come in last. There is a hierarchy of subjects within the arts, too. Music is usually given preference over drawing, and then, dead last, comes dance. This is the same in public school systems across the world.

Ken Robinson talks about a friend of his, Gillian Lynne, who would have been diagnosed with ADHD if that was an illness in her time. When she was a little girl, she had a hard time sitting still. She would always wiggle in class. Her mother thought something was wrong, so she took her to the doctor. After the mother told the doctor her concerns about her lack of concentration, the doctor said that he would like to speak with the mother privately in the hallway. Before the doctor and mother left the room, the doctor turned on the radio. Once the adults left, the little girl jumped off her chair and started dancing to the music. The doctor and mother were watching this through a window or two-way-mirror or something, and the doctor said to the mother, "You see? There is nothing wrong with your daughter. She is just a dancer. You should enroll her in a dance school." That is what the mother did. The daughter excelled in that environment. She loved using her body to express her emotions.She continued to succeed in life, was the choreographer for the musical Cats and Phantom of the Opera, and is a multi-millionaire.

Can you imagine what her life would have been like if they repressed that talent and gave her drugs to "calm her down"? I'm not saying that is is never appropriate to treat people diagnosed with ADHD with medication. In some cases I believe it helps the child a lot. I'm just saying that I think it would be good to not always label people as having an illness or a disability, when in fact they are just highly gifted in other areas.

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