Saturday, June 29, 2013

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? Maybe Adderall Would Help.

She's so impulsive! And she can't sit still!

I was watching The Sound of Music last night with some other homeschooling families, and I realized that, in today's world, Julie Andrew's character would probably be on medication.

Look at her behavior! She has no time sense, she's very impulsive, she daydreams constantly, she's always singing and moving, and she's fairly disorganized. She'd never last in a modern American school setting. 

Yet, if she had been on Adderall, she wouldn't have stuck out at the abbey. She'd never have met the von Trapp children or touched their lives.  And the same traits that made her such a disruption to the highly ordered and structured life of the abbey made her the ideal governess for a troop of depressed, lonely children.  Taking an impulsive picnic in the Alps is a bad thing when you're a postulant. It's an awesome idea when you're a governess.  And would someone on medication have made play clothes from drapes?

Are there other ADHD traits that we're medicating out of existence, but that really just need to find their proper home? The modern elementary school is as structured as Maria's Abbey, and most kids go on to daycare or activities.  But maybe that compulsive doodler just needs a chance to draw graphic novels, and the day dreamer who acts out her fantasies would excel if you stuck her on stage. The kid who takes everything apart? Maybe some engineering classes would help. And for the child who talks nonstop, an activity like debate might give her an outlet for her energies.

I know that some ADHD kids need medicine to function on any level, but for some kids, the answer might simply be to find a new environment, one where their disability becomes a super-power. Maria was a problem in the Abbey, but she was a Godsend in the von Trapp family.

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