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I am going to stir the pot here and put out a few poorly developed thoughts. When I was in medical school in the early ’70s there was a fairly new problem described in some children who had trouble fitting in as it pertained to organized classroom activities. These children seemed to be unable to channel their focus or attention in the appropriate way. I don’t think any of the people studying these kids paid enough attention to what these kids were actually focusing on and perhaps because of that, these children were diagnosed as suffering from organic brain syndrome. Yes, that was the best label that the experts could come up with at the time. Organic Brain Syndrome. Robert Heinlein could not have defined it better. He would have adopted that term as satire but this was actually real.
There was certainly good evidence that something structurally different described the behavior and perceptive abilities of some kids. It was most evident in their attempts at artwork. There were kids who could draw a picture that, with a little explanation, could conform to a narrative that made sense, and there were kids who could not draw anything that even they could explain. There were cognitive tests that were developed to identify and quantify these children suffering from their Organic Brain Syndrome. The scientists had a label, they just needed the right hammer to find the nail.
Big Pharma stepped in with the hammer that every pediatrician and educator was ready to swing.
What is attention? Is it what we attend to or is it what we want from others? If I ignore you, you are not getting attention from me. Who is lacking attention here? You or me?Published in