This week I couldn’t shake singing to myself, “One Man’s Ceiling is another man’s floor,” Paul Simon’s song reminding us it’s all a matter of perspective and relativity.
What inspired this song running through my head?
Let me tell you about Bradon, an 8 year old brought to see me because the school kept insisting in subtle and not so subtle ways, that while they were not “doctors and could not diagnose,” they suspected something may be happening with Bradon that only a medical doctor could detect. (Translation – “Your child is ADHD and should be on medication.”)
When I met Bradon I was immediately charmed. From the greeting in the waiting room to his energetic pictures drawn on the board (“wow, a white board, can I draw?”), to playing with cars and engaging with the structured activities (“These blocks are really cool.”), what I got from Bradon was unbridled enthusiasm.
As I worked with Bradon, it was clear that he needed some redirecting and his attention wandered a bit at times, (some of the tasks are flat out boring), but I was just seeing him as a fairly typical 8 year old boy who was on the spirited side of the continuum.
At some point in the assessment, I started to look at the teacher’s comments and ratings:
- Fails to follow directions.
- Calls out and interrupts
- Doesn’t sustain, “mental effort.”
- Acts quickly without thinking.
The teacher went on to say, “Bradon, has trouble with self-governed behavior which can interfere with his learning.”
I finished my testing of Bradon.
Did he have some rough edges that needed smoothing out? Were there times when Bradon may have been better served to turn down his “enthusiasm dial” a bit? No doubt.
Did I alter my view that he was largely a spirited 8 year old boy and not “disabled?”
“Remember, one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor”