Sunday, 15 June 2008

Enhanced Stimuli Alternative

disorder noun 1 lack of order; confusion or disturbance. 2 unruly or riotous behaviour. 3 a disease or illness. disordered adj. (from Chambers dictionary)

Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. Attention Deficit Disorder. Both names are valid and both contain “disorder”. And I’d rather to like to change not only the name but how we see and handle it. So, I no longer have ADHD, I have…

Enhanced Stimuli Alternative or ESA

And I don’t suffer from it, it’s a gift I have that’s to be enjoyed and used!

Consider some of the people who have or had this gift

Wolgang Amadeus Mozart – I can’t stand his music but there’s no denying his genius.
Billy Connolly – Irreverent and at times rude but his observation of the human condition is second to none.
Robin Williams – Comedic genius of our day.
Alexander Graham Bell – Appropriate name for the inventor of the telephone.
Albert Einstein – The scientist’s scientist.
Vincent Van Gogh – Handy with a paint brush.
Jack Nicholson – He’s about As Good As It Gets as an actor.
Steven Spielberg – Close Encounters Of The ESA Kind?
George Bernard Shaw – The Importance Of Having ESA?

… and the list goes on, including many statesmen, inventors, scientists, authors, actors and so on. And yes, I know some of that list are guesses, damn shrewd ones though!

The point is that a significant proportion of humanity has ESA, significant enough that it isn’t a disorder but an alternative. We don’t consider red hair a disorder and yet there are twice as many people with ESA as there are with red hair!

Many students with ESA are expelled or suspended from school because they have ESA. I suggest that happens because the education system is set up to deal with the other 95% of students and simply doesn’t know how to educate those with ESA. Those with ESA are seen to be a problem. A lot of schools celebrate students with high intelligence; those who are gifted. It is high time the educators learnt to see ESA as a gift and deal with it accordingly, giving those with it the help an encouragement to excel, as they almost certainly will.

Why is it a gift? ESA minds are like blotting paper; we absorb knowledge. ESA minds are imaginative; from our dreams and imagination come ideas and inventions, we push the envelope way out of shape and, because of that, we come up with things others have never thought of. We are always “on the go”, we are stimulated by our surroundings rather than stagnant.

Take a few of the DSM-IV criteria:

Often gets up from seat when remaining in seat is expected.
Expected for what reason? Does it actually matter if we move around? If the observer was blind, they wouldn’t even notice that we weren’t sitting down. Yes, I know our voices would move around but does that make a difference?

Often has trouble organizing activities.
Often loses things needed for tasks and activities (e.g. toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
Is often easily distracted.
Often forgetful in daily activities.

We aren’t the organizing type, we lose things because our minds are on more important things and we forget the hum-drum of daily life for the same reason. People have secretaries to do the organizing for them. Rather than chastise us, help us. Give us a little help with that sort of thing and, in return, we will give you the fruits of our thoughts, like the telephone and the electric light.

Often has trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities.
You want us to do what you want, not what we want. Why do we have to? It’s your expectation governed by you. We think differently, please, just accept it. I seem to remember that those who thought differently were called heretics and suffered badly for it.

We don’t have a brain disorder, we have an enhanced brain. Be glad that we do, you couldn’t use the phone if we didn’t! Don’t knock us and tell us we’re weirdos, rather say “Wow! You have ESA, that’s cool, ‘cos I know that you could invent something wonderful.”.

We could even have our own slogan –

ESA – the minds that bring you stuff.

Seriously, try looking at us from another angle and see our strengths. You might just be surprised at what you see!


caramaena said...

Hey, welcome back!

melissa said...

Brilliant, Simon! Simply brilliant! I love reading your eloquent and wise take on things. In short, when Simon talks, people (or at least he smart me) listen.