This week for the book club we read chapters 4 through 8 in the Last Child in the Woods. The more I read this book the more I realize how much children in general really need to spend as much time outside in nature as possible. The 8th chapter is really what struck me the most. This chapter is about how nature can possibly help in treatment for ADHD. My son was diagnosed with ADD in 4th grade and struggled throughout his academic career with it. We tried medication for about 6 months but the side effects just weren't worth it. Trouble sleeping, no appetite, and for every year of taking the medication you had the possibility of not growing a 1/2 an inch, he was already the smallest kid in the class. He is now 22 and through maturity has learned to control some of his focusing problems or to just work around it. But how great it would have been to realize some of the relation between nature and being outside with the treatment for ADD and ADHD back during the really rough school year. Now with my younger child we are lucky in the area that we live that all we have to do is walk out the front or back door and we are in nature. Plus windows throughout the house that show us nature even when we are hitting the books.
Something else that stood out to me was some of the children used as examples in the book that haven't been in nature all their lives. The children that live in the inner city that haven't traveled farther than the next suburb. It is quite sad. I really enjoyed reading about the inner city kids that traveled to Alaska as a form of punishment. Most of these kids had not been anywhere and were very amazed at the sights they were seeing for the first time. Can you imagine being a child that had never seen a mountain, waterfall, wild animal, or a beautiful meadow. Interested to see what else this book shows me in the next 4 chapters.