I was a Ritalin® kid. The drug had come onto the market right around the time I was getting to the part of elementary school where I needed to be sitting down instead of running around. I do not recall if the Ritalin® helped me concentrate or not, but I do remember Ritalin® making me really sweaty and shaky. In retrospect, I do not believe I had ADHD. I think I just needed more time outside and less time cooped up in a classroom.
From a Chinese medical perspective, Ritalin® really only helps people with ADD/ADHD of the Wood-type. Wood is about growth and movement. It can be explosive in bursts. Wood-type kids are moving and going, leading and physical. They can be aggressive, especially when confronted with obstacles. Ritalin® is speed, so it goes with the nature of Wood. ADD/ADHD of different types will react less well. For more on Chinese medicine classifications of ADD/ADHD, click here for an interpretation by Dr Stephen Cowan on Holistic Primary Care.
I was, and still am, a classic Water type. I love solitude and quiet exploration. I have a well developed interior world, and love to seek wisdom and deeper truths. Water is deep and quiet and still. Ritalin® was definitely not for me, and it was not going to help my particular breed of ADD/ADHD.
If I had had the chance to work towards my strengths instead of being forced into a model curriculum that was supposed to work for every kid, I do not think I would have had any symptoms of ADD/ADHD. I needed to explore, to wonder, to investigate. I needed to be set free not made to sit and learn to draw inside the lines.
I also think I had nature deficit disorder (NDD). The perils of growing up in New York City. There are a number of great books on NDD in my aStore. Check them out. They’re really worth it. There is something so wonderful about exploring nature, so many discoveries under each leaf and bush.
In fact, I am not the only one who thinks increased outdoor time would help kids with ADD/ADHD. New research from the University of Illinois agrees that an increase would be beneficial. Click here to read about the study in which researchers evaluated results in over 400 kids.
Maybe after I retire, I will start a Forest Kindergarten.