My son spent middle school and high school in Special Ed classes. He suffered from ADD, hyperactivity, learning disabilities and psychological issues. He needed all the help he could get.
So does Donald Trump. Trump’s behavior reminds me of many of my son’s symptoms. He, like my son, could benefit from some of the strategies taught in Special Ed.
People with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) have trouble organizing their things and their thoughts. My son could actually put full sentences together, so, at 12, he was way ahead of our President at aged 70. Trump would have needed extra remedial help, even in Special Ed. But, my son did have trouble staying on topic, in speaking and in writing. His writing was jumbled, random thoughts strung together. He couldn’t organize logical paragraphs. Sound familiar?
Trump’s tweets and speech are really word salads attempting to form sentences and meandering, disjointed words masquerading as coherent thought. Trump would fall at the high-end of the disability spectrum for his thought processes and his ability (or lack) to express himself. And we’re talking middle to high school levels.
In terms of behavior, my son was hyperactive. He couldn’t sit still or pay attention for more than a few minutes at a time. His teachers had to help him reduce his class material down to a couple of pages of bullet points so he could study and pass tests. In the school system, this is considered a disability.
Who’d have thought that our President would require his staff, just like the Special Ed staff, to reduce all presentations to him down to one page, even security briefings! And for Trump, that one page has to be double spaced, in big letters, with lots of graphs and maps.
Another symptom of ADD and hyperactivity, is restlessness and jumping from activity to activity, topic to topic. Trump is known for this. He frequently gets bored and turns on Cable TV News. He goes off topic all the time, with world leaders, in speeches and in interviews, as well as in tweets. It’s hard to figure out what he really thinks about anything because he doesn’t stay on topic long enough to get an intelligent position across. Of course, he may not have one on most issues, so this point may be moot.
My son had other behavioral issues that are associated with ADD and hyperactivity. He didn’t always understand how people would react to what he said or did. He had terrible impulse control and had trouble reading social cues, so he would blurt things out in class, out of turn — all the time — then not understand why other kids made fun of him. He would say inappropriate things and be surprised when he got a negative reaction.
I don’t need to point out all the times that Donald Trump has exhibited these traits. I do need to point out that these are considered issues severe enough to warrant removing a child from mainstream classrooms and giving them remedial help in Special Ed.
My son also had emotional issues. He had trouble dealing with failure and setbacks. He was also very sensitive to criticism and slights. He had to be praised a lot and needed to have frequent, even small, successes to build his confidence. He would often have meltdowns. But. At his worst, he never, ever was as mean or vindictive as Trump is during his twitter rants against people who disagree with him.
If my son had exhibited behavior half as nasty and over-the-top as Trump’s behavior regularly is, the school psychologist would have been called in for a consultation. My husband and I would have been read the riot act by the psychologist and told we needed to teach our son self-control and acceptable social limits.
My son has worked hard over the years and, as an adult, has mastered most of his childhood issues. He’s trained himself to write clearly and well. He writes for work all the time. He has harnessed his energy and focus and can now concentrate on and absorb long papers for his job. It might take him longer to read and write than other people, but he gets through it. He has also matured. Now he can now handle disappointment and opposition and his social skills are well above average.
With effort and special help, a kid with a lot of issues managed to conquer them and become a compassionate, thoughtful, sensitive, responsible adult. So, for the sake of the country and the world, can we PLEASE set up a Special Ed Department in the Oval Office?