Just yesterday my wife took our oldest boy to have an ADHD test at our local doctors. The doctor who ran the test was a specialist in her field and was asked to come in from another hospital.
In total the test took one hour and both my child and wife was interviewed. My son was asked about his home and school life as well as to describe his parents to the doctor. After the initial test my wife was asked to explain how he was when he was younger and how he acts at home and school from hers and his teachers point of view.
Before I go into detail on what was talked about and what the results of my son’s test I would like to point out that Japan has a bad reputation when it comes to mental disabilities and even physical.
In Japan a lot of specialists are nowhere near to the standards of the west and usually the doctors will just proscribe drugs to treat any type of disability. The worse and sad part is that disabilities are looked down upon by the Japanese and if a child is diagnosed with a disability the families would gather hide it than accept it. Some parents will laughed off requests from teachers to have their children tested as it’s too shameful to acknowledge that they might have a disability.
With the above information I was a bit doubtful that my child would have been tested correctly but after hearing what my wife had to say and the results I was really happy and surprised.
The reason why we took our son to be tested was by the request of his teacher and how he acts at home. He is very forgetful and speaks out of turn at school but basically he acts like a typical seven year old. Japan places a lot of responsibilities on younger children by sometimes treating them like they are going on fifteen.
As I wrote in a few posts in the past my seven year old gets given homework that sometimes I would have believed he was studying at secondary school. The education in Japan is very strict and a certain level of professionalism is expected from children at a very young age which has caused a few arguments in my household over how well he does.
When my wife went to a parent’s teacher meeting at the end of last year his teacher said that he might need to be tested because he shades pencil colouring with his finger when they are doing art. Also he sometimes doesn’t follow the rules when playing and will want to be the monster in a game when one has already been chosen. When asked why he does this he says that there is only one monster and twenty nine other children so it was unfair for the monster to catch the remaining twenty nine students.
From these remarks and how he acts when doing homework my wife jumped at the idea to have him tested for ADHD and a verity of other disabilities. On a personal note I was really against the idea at first just due to the comment about the art incident because I was the one who taught him how to shade with a pencil but I went ahead with the test to appease my wife.
So how were the results?
Well the doctor preformed the test and straight away diagnosed he had no problems and perhaps we as parents are expecting too much of him for his age, which is something that I have been saying since he started primary school. Another factor was that he sat still for the whole hour and never tried to bounce off the walls.
In the end the teachers ability was put into question by the doctor and perhaps this was the first time that the teacher has taken care of a seven year old class. Through the chance to talk to my son it was brought to light that the teacher was very strict and under trained; all comments from the doctor.
The doctor went on to say that perhaps the reasons why my son acts the way he does could be because he is too intelligent for his age but she can’t give a full diagnose as he is still too young.
Now this brings me to the point that a lot of teachers and even nursery carers are well under trained. As when my son first started nursery he was pulling on one of the teacher’s jumper for attention. You know like how a child who is too shy will hang on to a dinner lady at lunch time. This teacher flipped and belittled my son and when it was home time that teacher went on to complain to my mother-in-law about it.
As yesterday was the first time I heard about this incident all I could do was be shocked as if a child was shy or nervous you would expect them to be very clingy and as teacher myself who hasn’t really had real training with children apart from being a father and on the job experience I would have been able to deal with a shirt tugging child without going nuts.
To bring this long post to an end I will say that I am very happy my son doesn’t have ADHD or any other problems and I am very happy and surprised with the service we got but I do now really question the ability of the education system here.