Month: June 2014

A “Magic Cure” for ADD? A Con Man and PBS

I was watching TV and there was nothing on a lazy Saturday afternoon. I was going to turn off the TV and read one of my Summer reading book Moneyball but something caught my eye.

It was on public television and the caption on the guide was Healing ADD. Knowing me I was like I have to check this out. And it did not disappoint.

I was in shock what these people were saying. With their books, CDS, lectures you can solve your child’s or your own ADD. One of the books they selling was a cook book. A cook book? Yes a cook book according to them, following a few recipes a kid will magically be cured of their ADD and have a balanced meal at the same time. You could also see them LIVE talking about how they cured their sons ADD and many other families who are “struggling” with ADD. All of this and more could be uses for the price of $240 dollars of 12 payments of $20.00.

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I had to remind myself and you that this was on Public Television. You know the channel that tends to try provide really solid research or science backing to their programs. But this? This felt like I was at fair in the 1800’s with a guy selling a magic elixir that can solve: the common cold, head ache, foot pain, back pain, blindness, flesh wounds, dying etc. But in reality does nothing. It really is a jar of nothing, playing on one’s fears and emotions for a quick buck.

One of my favorite parts of the whole thing was when the lady told about her ADD story. Now I am use to hearing stories of strength and embracement of one’s LD/ADD/ADHD. But this women’s stories is both sad and doesn’t do anything to help the LD movement. Here is her story in a nutshell.

She had ADD and everyone in her family had ADD. And she remembers that her life was crazy and had a hard time paying attention. And then she starting following this ADD prevention diet and practiced exercises that she was cured of her ADD. And now you can be too.

Ok pardon my French but this is the biggest thing of BS I have heard in a while. It’s funny to me that people think that a diet can cure one’s ADD like it is losing weight or something. Now I know people with ADD who are some of the healthiest people I know and vise versa and one is not more ADD because of it. And the other thing what is wrong with craziness? Craziness brings life and excitement to people and a house. That is what made our lives so….lively. Without that and by “curing” ADD sure you might be able to pay attention more but you lose what makes you you and a connection that you have with others and your family.

Look I understand the struggles families have with LD/ADHD. The early elementary years are some of the hardest for a number of reasons. But people need to understand that it is not a sickness that a person on TV can cure for 12 easy payments. It is a great part of a person they just have to embrace it and figure out what they can do to succeed.

But it is so easy to want to follow the pack. If you are not apart of it you seem left out. And these cons know this and try to convince you that they have the one cure that nobody else does. But the real “cure” is embracing your disability. I mean really that is what it is. I know first hand I hated my LD for years but now I am in school to work with kids with LD/ADD. And I am working with/leading Temple’s chapter of Eye-to-Eye. So in reality, my LD is more apart of me then anything thing else.

There is always going to be that person that claims that has a cure. But I wish that stations like Public Radio and other outlets hear and spotlight people who embrace their LD and succeeding because of it. If I was a parent that is what I want to see. The reason being is that I can breathe a sigh of relief that hey things might be difficult now but there is nothing wrong and my child and they can still be successful. When I speak about my LD I am treated like a celebrity sometimes by parents and kids because they see a positive image of LD.

So this goes out to all Public Television and other medias I and others want to work with you and share the real lives of people with LD and show parents that there is nothing wrong with their kids in fact they are pretty bright, and creative. I don’t have any special diets just a story to tell of success and embracement. Free of charge.

 

Until next time,

MC

 

PS I decided not to name the people who are selling a cure of ADHD because the attention should be on a positive image not on a magic, fake, elixir.

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Bullied

I was talking to my theorist about an event in my life that I like to ignore. I was bullied. The reason I tend to ignore it because it was a scary point in my life. I lost a lot of self-confidence at the time because of it. And no matter how much I grew when I think about it, I feel like that sacred and week 7 or 8 year old.

I was pretty shy as a kid. On top of that it felt like nothing I did was right. Rather it was reading, writing, talking and evening walking. While others were dancing gracefully through life I felt like I was always walking around broken glass!

I was bullied a lot as a little kid. The first was on my neighborhood. It was a typical suburbia neighborhood where the kids on the street played with one and another. During this summer a new family moved it. The family had two older boys, both in their teens. I was one of the youngest on the neighborhood. The eldest of the boys and his friends picked on me. It was sort of like they saw how much trouble I had walking around the broken glass that they decided to add more around it. They made fun of the way I talked. Constantly. At this point I was talking but I was seeing many speech theorist to help. They also picked on me for the normal reasons that I was younger than them and stuff like that. I felt powerless and unable to advocate for myself. I wanted to tell my parents about what they were doing but I was afraid of what the kids would do to me! I felt weak and unable to ask for help. And instead of fighting back and just took the bullying until the summer was over. Maybe the school year would be better I thought?

And it wasn’t. Instead of being bullied of my lack of social skills and such I was bullied because of my inability to read, write and do math. The moment that sticks out the most for me is during lunch one day in 2nd grade. I was eating with some classmates, who were the lowest in reading and such. And the more popular and smart kids sat down next to us and starting asking us to do math problems. Now I know what you are thinking, Math Problems? But it did not feel like math problems, it felt like I was being interrogated like I was a criminal in Law and Order.

They would ask us one after another. What is 0 x 5 or what is 15-6 etc. And this continued until lunch was over. They knew our weak points on our suit armor and they exposed it one a good laugh for them, while we were left picking up the pieces.

After this Year of Bullying I moved to another school and that older kid on the neighborhood (prob in jail right now) left to do more teenage things.

As a victim of bullying I have a big problem with it. I hate this position that people sometimes take on bullying

Being bullied makes you stronger”

             The reason I hate this position is that the person is supporting bullying! Saying that because of bullying I am a better person? What the hell are they talking about? I became a stronger person for a lot of reason that was not involved with me being bullying. What bullying has done is make it a low moment in my life. That no matter when I think of it, I feel like that scared 8 year old Matt that just was wishing for it to be over. And that it took me over 10 years to start to talk about.

What really made be stronger was having the support of others. From my parents, teachers and nicer classmates and friends, I grew stronger and developed advocacy skills for myself and others. I didn’t grow because I was picked on but when I was accepted and supported by people.

A couple of weeks ago I was asked by my elementary school to speak as an Hero to the students. All the students had a LD/ADHD like me. I went and told my LD story and all the cool things I was doing right now. One of the questions I got asked about a lot from the students was about bullying. Some of them shared incidents of being bullied in their other schools or by their friends for being different. I told them that I was bullied as well as a kid but was questioning on why they were bullied at this school:

“I am not sure why people are bullied at, Stratford Friends School. What is the bullying like, you have a problem with reading. Well everyone here has a problem with reading in here so why make “fun” of it.”

And I think that got to some of the students and teachers because there was a laugher of realization. The reason I know this is that some of the teachers afterward thanking me for giving the students that perspective because bullying has been a big problem lately. And sometimes the students don’t realize that everyone is working on their reading, math and/or social skills.

There is no real solution to bullying. But I have some thoughts on what we can do it to lower it. The first this that I think we need to be more supportive and aware when people are bullied. I know when I was bullied I felt alone and without any help from people to stop it. If we see it we should help the people being bullied and hey that might mean we lose some “friends” in the process but they are not worth worrying about. Because if they live for making others miserable, then they will slowly lose more people than they will realize. Another thought is that we should change what it means to be different. For the longest time, different is a bad connotation. Something out of he realm of normalcy. I have said this several times on this blog but different and different thinkers are good. They have expand how we see and interact with the world. We should embrace them because frankly they make our world a better place. And I know that might be asking a lot of little kids to do but we should be models of how they can be done so they can do on neighborhoods, playgrounds and classrooms across the world.

Until next time,

Matt