November 13, 2007

Disruptive kindergartners don't end up as worse students.

A study shows. Does this mean we can stop drugging them? The article suggests it doesn't, but I don't find the explanation very convincing.


Anonymous said...

I suppose not. They drag the rest of the class down with them.

Ann Althouse said...

Give them a special class that fits their style!

KCFleming said...

Not all boys are girls, it seems.

Boys mature later in bladder continence, another process requiring neurologic maturation, and therefore have more problems with bedwetting. Boys mature later in behavior as well. Maybe separate classrooms for the poorly-behaved and rambunctious could reduce the need for drugs. All-boy schools are an idea; with male teachers (if you can find any, given the men-who-like-to-teach-children-are-probably-pedophiles mentality currently active).

Or starting a year or two later. Or attending in intervals of 30-45 minutes, interspersed with play (I mean, we live into our 90s now ...what's the hurry?)

Maybe having more parents stay at home with their kids and teach them correct behavior, instead of learning via their peers in the barely-controlled chaos of daycare, would reduce the need for drugs. But I venture too far, I think.

MadisonMan said...

Pity the teacher who gets the class full of kids who need a class that fits their style. That teacher has probably pissed off the principal in some way and is being punished.

The disruptive kids in my kids' classrooms in elementary school usually had parents who were absent from most classroom activities. I think parental involvement is a much better indicator of student success than classroom disruptiveness.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm not saying that, Madison Man. I'm saying that may be a need for classrooms oriented toward physically active children who can't concentrate too long, run by teachers who aren't unnerved by that style and who don't have a conflict of interest in needing to make things work for the kids who aren't like that.

Ann Althouse said...

And the kids that get diagnosed with ADHD shouldn't be further stigmatized with the assumption that their parents don't care!

MadisonMan said...

I'm not trying to stigmatize the ADHD kids, I'm trying to stigmatize the laissez-faire parents.

AllenS said...

I have a good friend that teaches at the alternative school, which is a building 20 feet from the high school. According to him, most of these problem children come from some dysfunctional crappy families. Although the two teachers are very strict, the students are allowed to smoke. 20 out of 28 of those kids smoke. The school district is trying everything that they can to keep them in school. I say whatever it takes.

al said...

My son was one of those disruptive kids. Turns out he was bored with the activities and needed something to keep his brain engaged. The teacher never suggested drugging him (well not that I'm aware of at least) but did ask us to help figure out what was going on. Once we did things got better. At least till third grade when the teacher told us that Shawn and his best friend Mike would end up in jail by the time they were 15.

Pogo is on the right track - more male teachers are needed at the elementary level. And more parents need to get involved with their kids schools - no matter what level their child is at. Shawn ended up in a pull out program for gifted kids and lots of parents showed up. My daughter is a special ed student and, at most, 2 to 3 parents (out of a class of 20) show up for open houses and conferences.

Funny thing about Shawn and Mike - both are now seniors in college studying to be teachers.

Laura Reynolds said...

The mere prevalence of drugging large numbers of young children for behavioral reasons tells me that it’s not a good thing. That large numbers of professionals seek to justify that action tells me they are worried that it’s not a good thing either. There are a significant number of young children who are helped by such treatment, but often its parenting and unrealistic expectations placed on them, that’s at fault.

When I taught school the joke pertaining to being evaluated was for the kids to be “in their places with smiling faces” and failing that, let’s just make sure they are in their places.

Peter Hoh said...

First off, I absolutely agree that more male teachers are needed in elementary schools. Boys and girls would benefit from having more balance in the faculty.

But I disagree with this that Pogo wrote: Maybe having more parents stay at home with their kids and teach them correct behavior, instead of learning via their peers in the barely-controlled chaos of daycare, would reduce the need for drugs. But I venture too far, I think.

From what I've seen, daycare is highly controlled. One of the benefits of having a stay-at-home parent is that it allows young children to spend more unstructured time. And it allows kids to have more self-directed time. When the preschool class visits the library or goes on a field trip, there is a scheduled time to leave. When I took my kids, if they found something that kept them occupied, we could stay an extra hour.

TMink said...

There are a handful of people who go around saying that ADHD does not exist and not all of them are Scientologists. They never discuss the brain scans. They can't. Follow the link for the scans.

Now, too many children are misdiagnosed and put on drugs that they do not need. And frankly, too many children are kept of medical treatment that would give them MUCH more success at school.

And classes are set up for aural learners who prefer to quietly listen and think to consolidate new information. NONE of those learners have ADD and most of them are girls.

Schools set up for an active learning style rock and the kids that are placed there correctly thrive. Maybe once we get some school choice those school will be more available for students who do not have rich parents.

School choice, it is for the kids.



KCFleming said...

You're correct. Both kinds of daycare exist, as does the spectrum inbetween. Anarchy and regimentation compete, but both occur en masse.

It goes back to the fundamental question: what is the best way to raise children: one on one (or so) with a primary caregiver parent? Or in large groups with a nonrelative more-or-less trained adult? That is, family, or institution?

Bruce Hayden said...

I don't think that anyone denies that there are hyperactive boys. But most boys have nothing wrong with them, except maybe an attempt to feminize them to not show young male behaviors. Many boys need a much more active learning style than is provided them right now.

So, you get a lot of them drugged and recesses eliminated. After all, someone might get hurt during one, and the girls don't need them, so why should the boys.

I do believe that a good part of the problem is that there are almost no male teachers in most elementary schools. And there are likely to be fewer as child molestation fears push the remaining few out.

TMink said...

Bruce wrote: "But most boys have nothing wrong with them, except maybe an attempt to feminize them to not show young male behaviors. Many boys need a much more active learning style than is provided them right now."

Bruce, once again you have written cogent points in an economical, though pleasant style. I appreciate both. Many times in recent days I have sat to write something only to find that you have already done so.

If run for office, you have my vote. Here, you will have to be satisfied with my agreement and admiration.


SGT Ted said...

We were involved parents.

My son was "diagnosed" in kindergarten because he couldn't sit still.

Our advise to the teacher was "Learn how to deal with little boys, rather than doping them up."

No medication needed at all.

He is now 25, a combat tour under his belt and a junior at SFSU and in ROTC. Brain scans aside, most of it is psychobabble not allowing for boys being..well, boys.

Kirk Parker said...


"I'm trying to stigmatize the laissez-faire parents."


jeff said...

My mom was a LD teacher. There is something to be said for about all of these points of view. There were the inactive parents who warehoused the kids in school, the kids that were over medicated, the kids that could have used medication and then kids that were bored. Other teachers would do their best to send ANY kid that wasn't controllable to the LD room. She finally got tired of dealing with the administration, and especially the parents who took no interest in the kids education until the grade cards came out, who then would take it out on the teacher. And this was 18-20 years ago. Who knows what its like now.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Children can be disruptive for many reasons that have nothing to do with ADHD or any other type of brain "disorder". Notice the scare quotes: being an active child with or with a short attention span isn't always a disorder.

My brother was a disruptive child in kindergarten, fortunately before we started drugging our children. Instead of attempting to try to find out why or handle the problem the teacher would punish him (this is when the teachers could still spank) and complained that he was disrupting the class. I was disruptive too, but as a girl found other ways to create havoc :-)

As it turned out the reason for his behaviour is that he was bored out of his mind. My parents told the school that he was more advanced than his age because we had been basically home schooled (they didn't call it that then) because we traveled a lot and hadn't attended any single school for more than a few months at a time. Nevertheless, he was put with his age group. He was reading on a 4th grade level and could do math problems on a 5th grade level, so naturally "See spot run" and playing with finger paints didn't hold his attention.

After testing both of us, at my parent's vociferous insistence, he was skipped from 1st to 3rd grade and I was skipped from 3rd to 5th and enrolled in what we now call the Gifted and Talented program. Today we would diagnose my brother and myself with a mild form of Asperger's Syndrome. In those days, we were just a pain in the butt for the teachers.

No more boredom problems. However, a whole new set of age related problems, especially in high school and especially for my brother.

What is the answer? Dunno. We don't have the resources to create individualized learning programs. If we don't do something, many talented and advanced students will be stifled and stunted by being drugged or labeled with the disorder du'jour.

TMink said...

Srg. wrote: "Brain scans aside, most of it is psychobabble not allowing for boys being..well, boys."

Agreed. It is interesting, I have worked with a few servicemen with ADD. They are HUGE assets in the field and often walk point on patrol because nothing gets past them. We are very good under pressure.

They would have some problems adjusting to a slower paced life as a civilian or away from the action though. We would work to find a way to catch their interest. When we are interested in something, we can focus with splendid results.


Ruth Anne Adams said...

Althouse: What does your experience as mother of two smart boys suggest here?

Ralph L said...

I went to an all boys school for 1st & 2nd grades in '66-68. I don't remember much misbehavior in class, but once (and only once) I had to put my nose on the blackboard for talking. Of course, at a private school, parents have expectations and no one was particularly dim.

I don't remember any disrupting students in public schools until 6th grade. One was a preacher's physically-abused son, another a five-year POW's son.

reader_iam said...

Do they necessarily drag the others down? Sometimes those are the kids who ask the most interesting questions, stuff that might not even occur to the others, or if it does, it doesn't get voiced. Sometimes they're the most enthusiastic (placidity doesn't necessarily mean more learning's gong on). Sometimes they have a real curiosity and knowledge they bring to the classroom and are bursting to share. Sure, kids need to learn how to deal with being bored without acting out excessively and to express themselves appropriately--those things, themselves, are life skills. But then, so is learning how to cope with/work despite distractions and the different personalities around you.

"One size fits all" is just a slogan. It doesn't, really.

The Drill SGT said...

One additional factor in the equation beyond the ones already discussed is that families have fewer kids now, thus there is less at home socialization and more pampering of only children, thus when the kid gets to school, there are additional lessons to be learned.

blake said...

They used to sit me in the back of the room. I finished the work faster (way faster) than everyone else and then I would get up and pace. Or I would read a book while they were learning the alphabet.

I developed intense doodling skills in school.

Drugging children because they don't conform to the soul-crushing grind of school is criminal.