Today I listened to a broadcast of This American Life entitled “Is This Working?” that I recommend to everyone. It is about prejudice and punishment and revenge and injustice and many things that are broken in our society, especially regarding children and schools.

The broadcast is also indirectly about students with ADHD (though ADHD is never mentioned), because students who are challenged by ADHD can behave in ways that are misunderstood, leading the students to be misjudged and categorized and punished, much as were the young people interviewed in the broadcast. ADHDers can experience prejudice, since people who don’t understand ADHD (or other forms of neurodiversity) can fear and scorn those whom they don’t understand. An important emphasis in the broadcast is that once a child is treated/labeled as a troublemaker, that child begins to feel like a troublemaker and to behave in ways that confirm that label. Was any child anywhere ever helped to become a functioning and contributing adult by being labeled negatively and stereotyped as a child?

Knowledge is the key to opening minds. One reason ADHD Awareness Month is so important is that it puts forward facts about the nearly ten percent of human beings around the globe who have this type of nervous system. If you or someone you care for is dealing with ADHD, look into the multitude of resources found online or in your community (or elsewhere in this blog), not only in October but throughout the year. The more ADHD is understood, the more any misunderstood group is understood, the happier and healthier we will all be, individually and collectively.

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