By David Keirsey
A committee of medics wrote an article about excessive motion, noise, and intrusion on the part of some school children, calling it "hyperactivity." This article was included in the fourth edition of the manual of mental disorders of the American Psychiatric Association, titled DSM-IV. The committee claimed that there are five "symptoms" of the "hyperactivity" as follows:
- STANDS-"often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected"
- WANDERS-"is often 'on the go' or often acts as if 'driven by a motor'" and "often runs about excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate..."
- SPEAKS-"often talks excessively," and "often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly," and "often blurts out answers before questions have been completed"
- FIDGETS-"often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat"
- INTRUDES-"often has difficulty awaiting turn," and "often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g. butts into conversations or games)"
The committee said that acting this way causes brain dysfunction, then turned around and said that the brain dysfunction causes children to act this way.
Now that's a silly position to take, and I assume, in fairness to the vast majority of drug advocates, that they aren't aware that they're supporting such a position, even those medics that prescribe stimulants to quell this sort of behavior. But only a small minority of them, as far as I know, have repudiated this preposterous idea.
But I'll give drug advocates this much: The five "symptoms" of "hyperactivity" are easy to observe, something that cannot be said of the ten "symptoms" of "attention deficit." Too little work cannot be observed, only inferred, while too much play cannot not be observed, since it forces itself upon the teacher, demanding of her that she attend to it.
Such behavior is disruptive, not only in the sense that it bothers the teacher, but also in the sense that it bothers the child's classmates. Soon such a child is disliked by his classmates, and his teacher comes to dislike him also. In a sense he has fouled his own nest. Ask the sort of medic that traffics in stimulants what can be done about this pattern of chronic disruption and he or she will say there's nothing that can be done about it, except of course drugging the culprit.
Now, it's true that zapping the disruptive child with stimulants has a zombying effect in that it does cut down on forbidden activity, and the zomby effect gives both teacher and classmates relief. But the advocates of stimulants for disruptive children are unable to claim that such children get to work. They stop playing but don't start working. And they don't win friends either.
If you want to find out how to both stop disruptive behavior and start cooperative behavior you might study Abuse-It-Lose-It in this Website. Among many other things, what the article says is that having a teacher and classmates is a profound privilege, and that on each and every occasion that the privilege is abused by any motion or noise made without permission, the culprit is dismissed from the classroom and sent home for the rest of the day, without anybody saying anything to the culprit about why he's dismissed. Of course parents, teachers, and administrators have a hard time imagining how this sort of intervention works, so it takes an expert in the use of the abuse-it-lose-it method of corrective counseling to set it up and supervise its execution. The method, by the way, is based on the principle of logical consequences, a principle advocated for decades by Rudolf Dreikurs, the inheritor and promoter of Adlerian psychology.
Drug advocates have mistakenly linked doing disruption to not doing assigments, calling it "Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder." That done, they seem to feel it's legitimate to prescribe stimulants to all the kids brought to them who don't do their assignments, whether or not they are disruptive in the classroom. In the wake of this irrational link between children that play too much in class and those who work too little in class, Ritalin sales went ballistic at the end of the 20th century, with many millions of children, as young as two years old being caught up in the selling frenzy. Thus selling stimulants has become a megabillion dollar bonanza to medics, pharmacists, and drug manufacturers. As long as it is legal to drug children it will continue no matter how strident the outcry against it. Class action suits against the perpetrators may multiply, and even if there are large punitive damages assessed against them, the evil practice will continue, and for one reason only: MONEY.
There can be only one solution: the Federal Drug Administration must make it illegal for anyone to give stimulants to school children, whether they play too much or work too little at school.