OK – I’m really fired up this morning. Sometimes fake science just goes too far and you have to shake your head. There’s a new “study” from the CDC (Center for Disease Control, no less!) about how 20% of our kids suffer from some form of mental illness (!). And it’s rising!

Here’s the article:

CDC: 1 In 5 US Children May Have Mental Disorder

ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) – Nearly 1 in 5 children in the U.S. suffers from a mental disorder, and this number has been rising for more than a decade.

According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 20 percent of American children are suffering from mental disorders such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression and autism.

Read the rest of the article – click HERE.

Way back in the early 90’s in a galaxy far, far away, my second ex-‘s daughter brought home a note from her teacher requesting a parent/teacher meeting where she promptly declared Natasha to be ADD and needing immediate medication. (I think it was Grade 2.) Thankfully, my ex- was really pushy (sometimes good, sometimes bad…) and decided to check things out a little more. So one day, she walked into the classroom during recess and there was no one in the room. She peeked in the teacher’s top drawer (<ahem> – like I said, she was pushy) and found individual pill bottles with ADD meds for over half the class!

This teacher had been recommending drugs to over half the kids’ parents and they simply believed her without question, dragging their kids to the doctor and getting a prescription! This teacher wanted to medicate her class for better control! She reported this to the principal and the PTA and the teacher was subsequently investigated and fired. And this was in the rich, little city of Naples FL where you’d think people would at least be a little more sophisticated enough to look deeper into any teacher’s claims about your child. And this has already been going on for many years in classrooms all across the country.

Anyway, as for Natasha, it turned out she was having eye and visual focusing problems which caused her problems with reading. One simple solution? I dug up one of my old IT rulers (Anyone remember those? They had these little clear “windows” which you could slide down from one long line of code to another so you could read them on those wide computer printouts back in the day.) Almost miraculously, she was reading like a champ and absolutely tickled with herself! (Of course, it helped having one parent around who gave her the patience she needed instead of yelling at her…)

I’ve also been shaking my head over the past year after reading about how genius director/producer Steven Spielberg got diagnosed as dyslexic only recently. Dyslexic! This was the same guy who’s produced and directed Oscar-winning movies over an incredible storybook Hollywood career that’s spanned decades already. Can you imagine if some idiot had simply tagged him early on in his childhood as dyslexic or ADD and then shoved him into Special Ed classes? Or can you imagine how many Einsteins we’ve already allowed to be mis-labelled and medicated for life. Reading fake science like this really pisses me off. Is typecasting or pigeonholing someone is nothing more than another form of bigotry? And almost everyone wants to be accepted and “normal” so most people will do anything to be “normal.” Wow! I can take a drug so I’m not ADHD? And now 20% of kids have mental issues? WTF? Are you serious? I for one would be looking more at their sources and searching for potential causes.

My point is that it feels like we’re now on the cusp of an amazing age of discovery and advancement in brain studies. Some of the studies I’ve been following on concussions and hyperbarics (among many things) are only scratching the surface of how little we know about our brains. Soon, I suspect we’ll also be looking at potential cures for brain injuries (hopefully without the meddling of pharmaceutical companies). But more important: Maybe – just maybe – society might start defining how each of us uses our own brains to address better ways to teach and learn without allowing psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies to label everyone so they can sell a lifetime of drugs to an unwitting population. We should start with a complete re-boot in how we teach our children. With all the tools and tests we now have available, why not test each child at different stages of their development to see how that child actually learns and then tailor programs that suit their brains better? Some of us are clearly more visual learners while others are auditory learners. This stuff isn’t rocket science – we’ve known much of this  for decades and done little with it. And those are some early thoughts just to get the dialog going. What would you think might help advance our education system? And what can we do to stop this constant cycle of trying to medicate our problems away in Western “medicine”?

It all starts with learning as much as we can about how our brains work first.

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