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Why are children with ADHD drawn to nature?

Kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) usually don’t want to sit in a class learning about nature -- they want to learn actively, in the natural world. Whereas current education systems demand focused concentration on abstract concepts, children with ADHD may be gifted with what author David Abram calls “sensuous consciousness.” Abraham writes about the devastating impact of our disengagement from the natural, organic world we live in. He depicts a culture that has become so absorbed in its own intellectualized abstractions, supported by increasingly sophisticated technologies, that we have become numb to the destruction of our environment. Abram refuses to put forth any utopian solutions to the problems he poses, suggesting that such ideas would themselves invite attention away from our sensuous surroundings.

Abram’s ideas offer one avenue for understanding the gifts that our culture calls an attention deficit -- the style of consciousness that gets called ADHD is precisely what is necessary to reverse the environmental damage wrought by the dulling of our senses. For example, when asked what they are paying attention to in class, children with ADHD often remark that they are looking out the window. They are deeply engaged in observing the trees, birds, or any glimpse of wildlife the window opens up for the child. Often these children are caught by what Abram calls “the spell of the sensuous.” Under such a spell, the child perceives the concrete, everyday world as almost magical, whereas the abstract world of thoughts and books is not compelling. Abram argues that this is a positive quality and entails being enchanted by the world of the senses, often linked to organic natural events.

To Abram, attention to the spell of the sensuous would not be seen as regressive but could in fact show a way of being in the world that would facilitate an ecological mind-set. In Abram’s words, “it is only at the scale of our direct, sensory interactions with the land around us that we can appropriately notice and respond to the immediate needs of the living world.”
The Gift of ADHD: How to Transform Your Child's Problems into Strengths

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The Gift of ADHD: How to Transform Your Child's Problems into Strengths

As a parent, you already know that your child has many gifts. What you may not know is that attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) related symptoms—the very qualities that lead him or her...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.