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Some Disabilities Are Actually Quite Good For Society

It's time to shift our thinking about what constitutes a disability and what doesn't.


When my younger son was diagnosed with ADHD, the school psychologist ticked off a list of symptoms (hyperactivity, impulsivity, distractibility, etc.) and recommended medication. "Why," I asked, "Do you consider his learning issues a disability?" With an air of medical certainty, he responded that "these qualities are inappropriate for his age and will make it hard for him to function in a school setting."

But what if the disability in question actually has value to society? What if our economic well-being demands more people with that disability? It's time that we rethink our concept of disability.

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The Great Adderall Shortage of 2011, and the Natural Alternative

It's not endorsed by doctors, but the wheat-free approach is increasingly popular.

News of the Great Adderall Shortage of 2011 scared up trend pieces in Salt Lake City and Grand Rapids before spreading to the stimulant capitals of America—New York, Miami, Los Angeles—where shit got real. One user of the ADHD-prescribed drug described the lack of pills as “a horror.” Some people cried.

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Do Elimination Diets Really Eliminate ADHD?

If the artificial dyes in food cause behavioral problems in kids, should we eliminate food coloring altogether?



If the 15 million pounds of artificial dyes approved for food use in the United Sates—some of which were derived from coal tar and petroleum—are being implicated in behavioral problems, especially for those kids already diagnosed with ADHD, should we eliminate foods containing added food coloring altogether?

Presumably, you'd have fewer kids bouncing off the walls. As early as the 1970s, Dr. Benjamin Feingold, whose organization has been lobbying the FDA to change its labeling rules, advanced this hypothesis. Forty years later, there's still no scientific consensus on the benefits of eliminating food coloring.

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