Recently, on The New York Times blog Well, Michael Edwards wrote about his experiences growing up with ADHD and how running track helped him succeed in school and life. He is now a principal...one I imagine most readers here wish our kids had!
I found this article extremely inspiring and wanted to share it with you.
An A.D.H.D. Student Finds Confidence on the Track
My take on this is that all children--not just those with disabilities--need to find a "thing" which they enjoy and at which they excel to develop a sense of self-confidence. Temple Grandin has argued that children on the autism spectrum especially need to be encouraged to find their "thing" and have opportunity to do it. Children--disabled or not--whose achievements don't fit with the verbal/analytical testing model in our schools are particularly vulnerable to falling through the cracks in this. Whether it's sports, art, writing, reading, ballet, video games, crafts, or cooking, we ALL need to feel good about doing something.
It's long disappointed me that the schools focus primarily on verbal/analytical skills while ignoring all the other types of achievements that contribute to a well-rounded world. That athletes like the young Mr. Edwards can lose their right to play from poor academic performance seems particularly bothersome...though I do understand why schools have athletic standards for players. It's become so bad in the schools that even children who learn differently (say, learning to read using whole language rather than the currently hyped phonics) feel the weight of teacherly disappointment as early as kindergarten.
How do you feel about Mr. Edwards' article and this subject in general? I'd love to read some other perspectives and experiences.