Skip to comments.How America made its children crazy
Posted on 01/30/2012 8:26:15 PM PST by Theoria
Now we know that computers don't help children learn and that drugs don't help them concentrate, because the establishment mandarins who sold us the computers and drugs have conceded failure. In the January 29 New York Times,  a prominent professor of child development shows that attention-deficit-disorder drugs only harm the three million children who take them. One out of 10 American children have been diagnosed with so-called Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and most of them have been medicated. 
Some months ago, the Times reported that test scores lagged in school districts that invested massively in digital education.  It does not seem to have occurred to the mandarins that computers cause attention deficit disorder. The brain is a machine, in the enlightened secular model, and so-called brain science teaches us to tweak its functioning with pharmaceuticals, or stimulate its development through digital approximations of intelligence. The grand result of a generation's worth of brain-science application is a generation of schoolchildren who are disproportionately illiterate, innumerate, anxious, angry, and unhappy.
Professor L Alan Sroufe's debunking of ADD medication in the New York Times contains this admission:
''Back in the 1960s I, like most psychologists, believed that children with difficulty concentrating were suffering from a brain problem of genetic or otherwise inborn origin. Just as Type I diabetics need insulin to correct problems with their inborn biochemistry, these children were believed to require attention-deficit drugs to correct theirs. It turns out, however, that there is little to no evidence to support this theory.''
That is an astonishing statement: in the mainstream view of the academic psychologists, the brain is another pancreas, except that its function is to secrete thoughts as opposed to insulin. That is to say that the psychologists have a pancreas where their brains should have been.
(Excerpt) Read more at atimes.com ...
Excellent article on the sham of modern psychology and education theory.
Except I believe in digital education. The author’s opinion is wrong on that matter.
Homeschool pings, both lists.
Anyone here surprised? Anyone at all?
Didn’t think so.
Welcome since 12-20-11!
20 years ago when I tried scouting in the traditions of my family it was a disaster. Most of the kids were medicated and most of the parents just wanted a place to drop them for a couple of hours. It made the parents feel good like they were doing something to encourage junior into something wholesome or something I guess. They dang sure didn’t want junior to be challenged or disciplined.
One day, my Son and I were working on some project together and both confided to each other that we didn’t enjoy scouts and that we were enjoying our time together much more without having to put up with a bunch of drugged kids.
From that day we built our shop and worked on old cars and built gadgets. We had boys and girls over all the time in the teen years and into college. They always hung out at the shop. The floor will never be clean from all the oil hemorrhages from motorcycles, trucks, cars and an airplane. It is just covered with many good memories. Some of the kids still stop by, they are grown now and many of them have children. Many of them tell us they will build a shop when the time comes.
He went through a phase, like all kids do, of undirected energy. We found him something to do and gave him a reason to do it. We also only had to get the belt out once at about age 6 when he sassed his Mother. Never happened again. It was hard but necessary. I didn’t rest well for days. We like to think we medicated the ills of childhood and the fears it creates over becoming grown up with love.
My Momma and Poppa made childhood so wonderful it is still painful to have had to leave it. We were punished for what we did wrong and loved all the time. I’m sure sometimes the loving didn’t come easy.
One of the best things my Son ever said to me was that he would never do anything to make the family ashamed of him. He has been true to his word for nearly 30 years now.
The best advice I can give to anyone these days with children is HOME SCHOOL.
Actually, the "brain as machine" model is totally discredited by an avalanche of research on neuroplasticity over the last twenty or thirty years, showing the brain is a flexible, adaptive, self-correcting, responsive organ, that organizes itself, grows and changes to meet new demands, and adapts changes in functioning to changes in the environment in ways no "machine" could.
Spengler is simply wrong, as most uneducated lay people would be, and as the author who wrote the WSJ article is as well.
Current models of brain functioning are far more sophisticated than the author acknowledges, perhaps because he has been in his career comfort zone for years, doing what he has always done, and not kept up. Judicious use of medications as well as other treatments have achieved significant advances in treating problems with brain functioning, including adhd.
As far as computers are concerned, there are programs which don't help anybody, and others that are helping people recover from brain injuries, strokes, disabilities of all sorts by retraining the brain and redrawing the neurological maps of the cortex. If Spengler and the rest want a villain to pick on, they should take a look at ordinary television and its effect on cognitive development.
I agree on that premise. One can simply look at the use of TV in society and the decline of Americas knowledge reference and learning.
There are uses for computers in education but having kids build Shakespeare blogs or Facebook pages as described in the article aren’t among them.
Spengler doesn’t agree with the “enlightened secular model”. He doesn’t believe the brain is a machine.
We kept our kids going into things they loved as children. Shoot, they started community theater when they were 5. Imagine encouraging dress up and imagination !! They even suckered me into it when they were teens.
The other thing we did was to insist on being on a sports team all through school - their choice. My son ended up on the bowling team his last two years (the saga of Derek was just beginning :)
And I totally agree. If I had to do it all again, HOME SCHOOLING !!!
Certainly I am NOT surprised!!! The remark that one person made was true-—the administrators are purposely trying to destroy the intelligence of their slaves. Intelligent people are hard to control.
I was working at out local childrens home a year or so ago. I was down the hall from a staff training session and I heard the topic was medication.
I’m thinking to myself, alright, maybe they’re bringing someone in that’s going to tell them they are going about things the wrong way. No more drugging the kids to control their behavior. Do your jobs and deal with them!
A kid doesn’t want to pay attention, make him want to! No beatings of course, but use ever other available means.
Not a freakin’ chance! I could hear the whole thing. It was all about the latest drug therapy and how to make sure the kids were taking the shit. I tell you I wanted to go back there and knock some heads together sumthin’ fierce!
We spanked our kids. Much cheaper and much more effective...
“Adderall and Ritalin, by the way, can’t be found in any Chinese pharmacy...”
Again, it’s because Asian parents SPANK their brats. Parents only need the drugs if they’re not up to being parents.
I am very serious that if I had a child suspected of ADHD my first stop would be a medical doctor. The next stop an Audiologist. If I had an adult family member who suddenly out of the blue developed an unexplainable anxiety issue known as Panic Disorder I'd do the same thing.
The older General Practitioners understood some things that have been lost in modern medicine due too specialization in practices. Inner Ear related issues can wreak havoc on the body and mind. They are hard too prove in many cases but the clues many times lie in getting a very extensive early childhood to current medical history and some detective work asking the right questions including military service and work environments.
The treatment as far as medication goes may shock some as well. No Ritalin. Enviromental modifications in these cases are needed. For ones thing a good old fashion butt busting cures all need too stop and think about what all has changed technology wise since parents who were born in the 50's and 60's had as kids. Yea the TV could have a huge impact on some kids. Watch their behavior after a show especially one with a lot of special affects and vivid colors flashing.
You likely can’t find common items such as antibiotics on a store shelf in China either. Kids are expendable there. The offical government policy is they have too many. I’d be the first too say ADD ADHD is grossly mis-diagnosed and Ritalin over prescribed. But I have enough real life self experience to understand there is an actual medical problem out there behind a lot of this.
I agree that the drugs can be used to mask deeper family and parenting problems. My only point is that parents who choose NOT to listen to Dr. Spock don’t need the drugs.
I got my tail busted if I needed it. My parents did not go by Spock and this isn't about Spock it's about a medical issue. But my parents also got me help. I was diagnosed in the mid 1960's with ADHD. But I didn't use Ritalin.
Read my post on this thread and you'll see what I am talking about The information I have does not come from any mental health associated venue nor for that matter any pharmacutical backed source.
I'm likely out of here till this evening.
I believe in Alvin Toffler's formulation, "High Touch and High Tech."
That is essentially what Apple has been doing. And, in digital education, there is khanacademy.org. The high tech aspect of KhanAcademy is that the Internet delivers the content on demand, and provides sample problems automatically, giving a teacher or coach complete insight into a student's progress and any specific difficulties. The high touch aspect of it is that the lectures, by Salman Khan, are done in a very human and approachable way. Even though it would be easier for him to simply redo a lecture when he makes a mistake while lecturing, he has his team simply annotate the video to correct the error. That is humility, and it makes the experience very human.
The fact that the lectures are short, essentially spontaneous, and available on demand means that the student is unlikely to feel intimidated by the process. Indeed, the "on demand" nature of the video lectures has, according to Khan, made them even better accepted by students than live, interactive discussions with him.
Students can learn from KhanAcademy alone, but an even "higher touch" approach is to "flip the classroom" of a school, having the students view the lectures at home and devote the classroom to human interaction around the practice exercises which traditionally have been "homework."So, yes indeed, very interesting educational work can be done with the aid of computers. I certainly hope Khan succeeds in "flipping the classroom" in education generally. Apple has made a significant thrust into education with its authoring tool, available free to Mac users, to empower textbook authors to port learning tools to the iPad. And with concomitant iPad software to view and interact with the educational content, making notes and empowering drill and practice.
I suppose that it is entirely possible to misuse such tools to the detriment of the child's education. It's not obvious that Khan needs those tools. He is on record as questioning whether textbooks are needed at all with his approach. I think that books are in their own way more accessible than digital content, tho . . .
This article wasn’t the place to argue the case, but to the extent I can speak of philosophy of mind as a non-professional, I sympathize with St. Augustine’s “Divine Illumination” theory. That is, what Kant calls synthetic a priori reason — our ability to understand certain things intuitively and synthesize a concept out of disparate elements — is made possible by participation in the mind of God. Kantian and neo-Kantian epistemology has roots in Augustine, but excises God from the picture.
You are a great man. Thanks!
My girls have used Switched On Schoolhouse since third grade. They have been using Saxon DIVE and Teacher for three years.
They are on their fourth year of Latin. The first year was in classroom (with a fourteen year old teacher, I might add), the next two years the class was on DimDim, right in our livingroom. This year they moved onto Powerspeak. The 11-year-old has a 90% and the 14-year-old is at 93%. There was a period of getting to know HOW the program worked that would have been solved by better technical support so, their grades would be higher with that.
Digital education rocks!
Jan Healy wrote extensively about screens and the developing brain.
I believe, firmly, that there truly are mental disorders such as ADHD. My sister, for example, has severe attention deficit problems. However, her brain scan is not normal, and she has had a lot of inexplicable problems throughout her education. Medication has helped her to a degree.
I have also known some boys who really truly had a problem. Medication helped them.
HOWEVER, and it is a big huge however, MOST “cases” of ADHD are misdiagnosed by those who stand to make a buck off of the hysteria. The article is right in that the condition is overdiagnosed, even though I disagree that ADHD is basically fictional.
Prescribing ADHD medications for attention span problems in school is basically like saying that anyone who coughs has strep throat and should take antibiotics.
My sister and I were both homeschooled and we both are effective learners (even with lil sis’s disabilities, she is pretty good at learning things, if a bit slower. If she can’t remember something she will look it up again).
I agree with the conclusion that excessive use of electronics and the public school system has caused the behavioral and learning problems that we see today.
And the fact that ADHD is overdiagnosed gives a really bad name to the kids who actually have it. That is what makes me the most angry.
The War on Kids