Recently I have been really puzzled by why we are seeing a rise of certain conditions in our children. ADHD, Autism and Aspergers and Dyslexia to name the most common. Is it that schools cannot find a way to deal with these labelled 'problem children' or that parents are absent too much to give the correct time needed to guide their offspring? Is it easier to medicate, label and pigeonhole these children so they slip through the cracks of society and muddle their way into adulthood?
You know what I think it is? I think, it's not knowing, how to navigate the system as it currently operates and lack of knowledge as to what technology, support and new innovation is available. I certainly didn't know until I started doing my research. What I discovered is that we don't have to plod ignorantly or frustratingly along.
I've been investigating this phenomenon lately, asking teachers what barriers they face, parents what frustrations they encounter and generally observing so called 'problem children' in schools, homes and how they interact with others.
Ideas and conclusions:
These children are square pegs that are trying to be made to fit round holes.
Most have no problem doing a task for hours on end if it interests them.
When given coping strategies on how to deal with episodes they become empowered.
They suffer from low-self esteem as they are constantly told what to do, how to behave and everything they do is wrong!
The current education system (in most of the world) is not set up to cope with these 'out of the box' thinkers and doers of things differently.
Research data can prove that most creative minds are on the Autistic / Aspergers spectrum or suffer from Dyslexia.
Most criminal offenders, up to 80% (men and women) have some kind of mental health condition i.e Dyslexia, Austism or Aspergers. Interesting huh?
There is so much software available that can solve or decrease these problems but unless you know where to look or who to ask, how does the parent or teacher find them? Then there's the added problem of training the educator, adult or child to use what's available and of course the cherry on the cake is funding all this.
Another conclusion is that we should develop a way to assess ALL children to discover their strengths and weaknesses prior to them going to school. My dream would be to have different avenues in schools, one academic, one creative. To my mind it's like positive and negative, black & white, ying and yang.....one cannot exist without the other. In a society that is hurtling towards self-destruction I suggest we really get together to ask for such tools, such schooling, such support and facilities for our bewildered children and harassed parents and teachers before things get even more out of hand.
There is nothing wrong with our children. They are not problematic. They are not difficult. They are as talented and amazing as the round peg kids... we just don't know how to develop them and extract their potential.
Dr Nasser Siabi OBE and myself are on a quest to revolutionise our current school system. As is Sir Ken Robinson, Arianna Huffington and Laura and Chris Cunningham. It's a long, long road we have ahead of us but we are prepared to take the journey.
Why am I so passionate about this? well I was one of those children. Quirky. Misplaced. Misunderstood. I was one of the lucky ones that made it though relatively unscathed, due to a loving family and very tolerant friends and staff. Without such an infrastructure, who knows what might have happened to me.
Anyway I wont stop trying to change the world because I found something that can hold my interest other than a computer game ☺