Friday, June 1, 2007

ADHD or Creativity?

This is Gillian Lynne, world famous choreographer. She did Cats and Phantom of the Opera. How she got there is a fascinating story and a reason why teaching to the students you have is so much more important than teaching to the curriculum.

In the 1930s when she was in school Gillian had trouble learning- she fidgeted. Today we would say she had ADHD and prescribe medicine, but ADHD hadn't been invented so they sent he to a specialist. When Gillian was 10-years old she and her mother met a doctor and he heard all about Gillian's learning difficulties. After a few minutes the doctor told Gillian he wanted to speak to her mother privately so they left Gillian alone in the office with a radio playing. When the doctor and mother left the room they observed Gillian. She immediately got out of her chair and began moving to the music. The doctor turned to her mother and said, "Mrs. Lynne, Gillian isn't sick, she's a dancer, take her to dance school."

They did and at dance school Gillian saw dozens of other kids just like herself. Young people who had to move to think. Gillian became a soloist, she preformed with the Royal Ballet, she had her own dance company, she met Andrew Lloyd Weber and is a multi-millionaire. Another doctor would have given her meds and written her off.

My point here is that as teachers, and especially teachers in the arts, we must look past the surface and explore the creativity inside all of our students. That boy banging on his desk might be the next great percussionist someday.



denise said...

yes, that would be my son, who is constantly tapping on anything that responds with a noise. great post...

Layla (aka Barbara) said...

This should be required reading for all parents, teachers and doctors. I'm not an artist myself, but am drawn to them and the majority of my friends who are musicians, painters, dancers, actors, writers - every single one of them could be diagnosed as something! I think creative people are cut from a different cloth (sadly that often includes depression, drug addiction and/or suicide). I recently did a post about the many rock musicians who were addicted to heroin.

Maybe this doesn't relate, but its what your post made me think of.