My good friends Steelman and Flipper sent me this link last week, leading me to an article that I read with both horror and recognition. Doctors have come forward to identify a new condition affecting children worldwide. Read this eye-opening article, and I guarantee you will recognize symptoms in your own children, whether they be yours biologically or in the classroom.
Here is an excerpt from the article, describing this growing epidemic:
"Youthful Tendency Disorder (YTD), a poorly understood neurological condition that afflicts an estimated 20 million U.S. children, is characterized by a variety of senseless, unproductive physical and mental exercises, often lasting hours at a time. In the thrall of YTD, sufferers run, jump, climb, twirl, shout, dance, do cartwheels, and enter unreal, unexplainable states of ‘make-believe.’”
Sound familiar? Indeed it does. We see multiple cases of each of those aspects played out on the playground at recess time. Now picture in your mind that same scenario unfolding simultaneously at thousands of elementary schools every day, and you began to see the scope of this pandemic.
I have been a teacher for three years now, and it is scary to think how many children with YTD have passed through my school, undiagnosed. Thinking back on the actions of several of my students, I realize now that what I mistook for silliness, frivolity, even tomfoolery were really just the early warning signs of a severe medical disorder. I am ashamed of my rush to judgment, based on my preconceived notions.
I used to get so upset that these kids could recognize every single entrance theme of every single professional wrestler, and yet if I asked them to name the current Supreme Court Justice -- a man who makes decisions that affect the very way we live our lives every day -- they couldn't answer.
The good news is that foreign scientists are working around the clock for a cure. Again quoting from the article, "Help for families struggling with YTD may soon be on the way. At last month's annual AMA Convention, Smithkline-Beecham unveiled Juvenol, a promising YTD drug which, pending FDA approval, could reach the U.S. market as early as next spring. Already available in France and Sweden, Juvenol, the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reported, resulted in a 60 percent decrease in running and jumping among users."
But until this miracle drug is perfected and readily available to the American multitudes that need it, we as teachers will have to continue to face this issue. At least now we are armed with the knowledge that it is not the kids' faults; they have a documented condition. And the more we can raise awareness of this disorder, the faster we can help our children.