This morning’s NY Times had a truly depressing article in it about how doctors are prescribing Adderall and other drugs to kids, not because they’ve been diagnosed with ADHD but because they are lower income and don’t have money for tutors or therapy. Supposedly the drugs help them do better by “modify[ing] the kid” to fit the demands of the school environment.
All day I thought, “Well I have to write about this tonight. It’s awful! We are now drugging lower income kids because we think that’s the only way to help them ‘succeed’?”
The problem was, when I sat down to write about it, coherent thoughts wouldn’t come. Anger? Yes. Frustration at my inability to reach out and help those families personally? Absolutely. But a well thought out post with a conclusion? Some things are so disturbing that they overwhelm me and settle in as a kind of fury-induced writer’s block.
And then I saw a link (thank you Blake Boles) to “Where the Hell is Matt? 2012”.
I’ve watched it 5 times today. I’ll probably watch it again tomorrow. It has restored a sliver of my faith in the world, and given me hope that we are not on an irreversible path of doom.
Before you watch this video, you should go to the Where the Hell is Matt? website. Matt’s bio is great. My favorite part of it reads:
Matt thinks travel is important. It helps us learn what we’re capable of, that the path laid in front of us isn’t the only one we can choose, and that we don’t need to be so afraid of each other all the time.
Matt used to think you were either good at something or bad at something and there wasn’t much you could do to change it. He wishes he’d learned sooner that you can get better at most things just by doing them over and over again. It really is that simple.
Matt was a mediocre student and never went to college. When he got older, he was pleased to discover that no one cares. [boldface emphasis added by me]
All those kids we’re drugging so that they can be “good” students? Maybe instead we should let them know that school isn’t the end all in life. Maybe we should show them this video and tell them about Matt, who now travels the world, dancing with people and getting paid to do it. Maybe we should read Matt’s bio out loud in every inner city classroom and in every lower income neighborhood where the kids often don’t believe they have a choice in their future.
Maybe it wouldn’t make a difference to anyone.
Then again, maybe it would.