Can you spot the kid with ADHD?
On YouTube, there is a video “ADHD Child vs. Non-ADHD Child Interview”. Two children were interviewed and asked the same questions. Both children are six years old, in the first grade, and have the same family structure, but their answers are very different. The reason? One of them has ADHD.
In the intro the interviewer asks the viewers if they can spot the child with ADHD.
Before you read on, give it a try:
I knew after the first question. Not because of observing the kids’ behaviours. If anything the boy seems more fidgety than the girl. The question is one that kids get asked all the time, but which is a dead giveaway in this context: “Do you like school?”
Lots of kids do like school and lots of kids with or without ADHD don’t like school, but kids with ADHD rarely do like school and it’s not only because of poor performance in school. In fact, the girl in the video seems to be an A student and sometimes ADHD students do excel in school.
If you continue to watch the video it becomes obvious why the girl with ADHD doesn’t like school:
- She often finds homework unbearable and it takes her a long time to finish it
- She has no friends in school
- She sometimes gets bullied
- She sometimes misbehaves, at least that is what she is told (ODD)
Anyone who knows a child with ADHD will be aware that these are patterns commonly found. These children are told that there is something wrong (dysfunctional) with their brains. If they aren’t diagnosed they will become aware of it anyway: they are different, they don’t fit in easily and they are just not good enough.
The truth is, there is nothing biologically wrong with the girl in the video and many other children who are considered neurodiverse. Thom Hartmann, an American radio presenter, who had a child with ADHD, hypothesised in the 80s that these children have “hunter minds”, that may be easily distracted, but hyperfocus when they find relevant stimuli.
Hartmann’s observation was spot on. What first was only meant as a metaphor is increasingly turning out to be the literal truth. Not only do hunter-gatherers have a different cognition from farmers and herders, they also have a different social structure and social instincts. Hunter-gatherers are highly egalitarian and do not form alliances (hence the girl has few or no friends) and being highly egalitarian they do not fit into hierarchical structures. Kids start to form cliques with clear alphas around kindergarten age. Hunter-gatherer type children have no instincts when it comes to forming cliques and often remain outsiders as they tend to stay away from the alpha kids, exactly those kids who are popular with everyone else and who tend to attract most friendships.
Having egalitarian hunter-gatherer minds also gets ADHD children into trouble with authority. Egalitarian minds and authority do not In the worst case, this may manifest itself as ODD (oppositional defiant disorder). The girl rebels when her teacher or parents try to force her to do schoolwork when she doesn’t want to. Hunter-gatherers have no coercion when it comes to child-rearing. Children are free to do whatever they want to do. Typically they learn all the necessary skills by playing (just like all other mammals do).
One of the questions in the video is “How do you feel about A grades?”. The girl answers “normal”. Good grades are no reason for her to be proud of herself. Hunter-gatherers do not show pride, on the contrary, successful hunters show humility by downplaying the importance of the catch (a practice called “shaming the meat”). Nor is she motivated to learn by good grades. In contrast to the boy who is extrinsically motivated to study (good grades make him feel proud), the ADHD girl is not extrinsically motivated to study and if there is something she is completely not interested in, it will be tough to motivate her and she might fail a subject because of that, thinking she is not good enough in that particular subject.
The girl in the video is a perfectly normal girl with a hunter-gatherer operating system. However, what she experiences is anything but a normal human experience. During her childhood and teens, she will
The risk of bullying will increase around the time her peers experience puberty. Suicidal ideation is about five times higher in teens with ADHD than in teens without ADHD. What is the common explanation? The impulsivity that is part of the disease:
What a load of bullshit. If a teen with ADHD commits suicide it’s not because of an impulsive decision, it’s because of a lifetime of misery. Kids with ADHD are among the most misunderstood human beings out there. As someone who has lived with ADHD for my whole life, I am amazed by how little people have learned about it. Consider the following answer:
Yes, it’s true. I spend most of my time in my head. I have done so since early childhood. But it’s not our alleged disease that makes us feel lonely and defective. It’s the world we live in.
Originally published at http://the-big-ger-picture.blogspot.com on December 6, 2021.