I have just been reading an article about a US family who moved to Norway. They were really brave in that they left their ADHD son’s medication behind. The good news is that the child who had lots of problems in the US school started to thrive in Norway.
The family were delighted to find that the child started to enjoy schoolwork and was keen to do homework. But they were also more than impressed with the school environment in Norway. They noticed that things are done differently there and it seems to help the children a lot:-
- 3 recesses instead of 1
- much less technology in the classroom
- teacher gives undivided attention to the pupils
- the school day is one hour shorter – gives the kid more free time
- child has two hours of playtime which is four times the US average
- a half day field trip is obligatory every week.
- extra curricular activities encourage students to cook and do other manual tasks
- in Finland, every hour lesson has a fifteen minute recess which must be taken outside, whatever the weather! Finland has one of the lowest rates of ADHD in the western world.
Scandinavia scores highly in OECD ratings
OECD ratings have put the Scandinavian countries at the top of the list as regards literacy and numeracy. Norway comes in at 6th in the rankings while the USA is doing very badly at only in the 21st category for numeracy while coming in at the 16th for literacy.
What can we take away from this story?
Well, a change of scene to a Scandinavian country will certainly not cure ADHD and the above story was probably a coincidence and there may have been many other factors at play which meant that the ADHD child was able to stay off his ADHD meds. Lucky him and lucky parents too! But there are some pointers that we can take away from all this:-
- we need to give our children more time outdoors
- we need to reduce screen time
- we must look at alternative ADHD treatments rather than relying on amphetamine meds
- we should organize our homes to be more ADHD friendly.
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