You know the kid, usually a boy, tap, tap, tapping his foot. Gets up, gets something, sits down and then taps taps taps some more. Then whatever he is tapping breaks so he falls out of his chair trying to get something out of his desk. By this time, you are not talking anymore, simply staring as this child as he continues to fiddle,stare out the window, and tap, tap, tap.
So you go to your team and whisper ADHD, not for sure, but someone better check. Has this been a prior concern? Are there records? How would parents react? Never once do we stop to ask the kid why he taps, or rarely anyway. We don’t ask “Why do you blurt? Why do you interrupt? Why are you so exhausted and exhausting?” Instead, we assume. We know, after all, we have seen them before. We are the experts, we know kids, this is our job.
But what if we did ask? What if that boy said that I don’t like my chair because it is uncomfortable? Or how about, when the teacher talks too much, I lose interest because I want to do, to touch, to experience, and not just listen and regurgitate information.
Is your classroom set up for tap, tap, tapping? Is it set up for kids getting out of their seats? For the boy fiddling? For the girl staring out the window? Or for those kids we label because maybe some meds will probably do the trick? When do we stop assuming and start asking questions? When will we realize that we do not have all of the answers and some times we have to ask the students? I think that time has come.