Self-Regulation: American Schools Are Failing Nonconformist Kids

For a while, we were part of a homeschool co-op, where the organizer — a parent to two darling girls who happily sat through lessons — would discipline fidgety boys like my Peter by withholding their recess breaks. During a group activity, I overheard another parent say “Peter, don’t work ahead.” We didn’t sign up for that co-op the next year.

20130903-093207.jpg“We’ve been around for a couple hundred thousand years, reading only for the last five thousand years, and compulsory education has only been in place for one hundred fifty years or so. Some kids are going to be thinking, ‘Why is my teacher asking me to do this? My brain doesn’t work this way,’ ” says Stephen Hinshaw, a psychology professor at the University of California at Berkeley. Heidi Tringali, an occupational therapist in Charlotte, North Carolina, offers a hypothesis built on shorter-term influences: Many of the nonconforming children she treats may need wiggle cushions and weighted balls because they’ve grown up strapped into the five-point harnesses of strollers and car seats, planted in front of screens, and put to sleep at night flat on their backs, all of which leaves them craving action, sensation, and attention when they’re finally let loose. “Every child in the school system right now has been impacted. Of course they’re all licking their friends and bouncing off the walls.” New Republic.

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