I've always been drawn to the surreal, to the creative, to the mental spaces not confined to the rules of the universe. I just never realized that there was something wrong with that.
When I first read the New York Times article, I figured it was an accident. I thought it was an article from the Onion. However, it turns out that there is a push for a new disorder called Sluggish Cognitive Tempo. In children, it is characterized by lethargy, daydreaming and slow mental processing.
I think I once suffered from SCT, or as I like to call it, "being a child."
Other "red flag" symptoms include things that were true of me on a regular basis as a child: skipping questions, failing to pay attention to detail, daydreaming excessively, frequently forgetting one's name on the paper, a thought process that goes off on different tangents, a slower mental process in basic computation.
And yet . . . that's why I can hold a fictional world in my head and write a novel. That's why I can comfortably live in my own mental space. I don't think I have a slow mind. I don't think many people would accuse me of it. However, as a child, I was often slightly behind and slightly . . . off. I shudder to at the thought that I might have been drugged for the very identity that enabled me to be creative.
A friend of mine responded with, "This is legitimate. You're not a doctor and you have no idea." He's right. I'm not a doctor. This might be a real disorder and the last thing I want to do is blame a child for something out of their control. There is already way too much stigma attached to mental health in our nation.
However, he also said something that I have heard in way too many parent meetings with a hyper child. "A child shouldn't be diagnosed unless it is getting in the way of schooling."
That's what terrifies me. We're asking children to fit into school rather than asking school to fit the child. I'm concerned with the fact that so often instead of schools being adaptive to children, we create systems that are so narrow that children just barely on the spectrum of a narrow definition of normal end up struggling. It doesn't help when Big Pharma (in this case Eli Lilly) are the ones funding the research and will, no doubt, be helping fund the testing and implementation.
For what it's worth, I'm not all that concerned with the child who is excessively daydreaming. I'm more concerned with the kid that sits still for four hours at a time filling out packets and somewhere along the line stops daydreaming entirely.