The Clear Link Between Heelys and ADHD

I’ve noticed an alarming number of Twin Cities youth have given up walking. Too boring, I suppose. Takes too long. There are video games to be played, movies to be seen, Justin Bieber songs to be heard. Kids don’t have the patience to walk anymore.

Several studies suggest Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder is over-diagnosed. In fact, a recent study compiled by Notre Dame shows the diagnosis of ADHD is up nearly 500 percent since the 1980s. I do know ADHD is a real thing and it shouldn’t be disregarded due to its overwhelming — if wrongly assumed — prevalence. However, if we want to win the War on ADHD, let’s start by banning Heelys.

Heelys are normal-looking shoes which include a wheel that’s stored near the heel. This allows kids to walk normally or skate wearing the same footwear. That’s right — kids no longer need to waste time changing from shoes to rollerskates or rollerblades. It’s all there.

Heelys have allowed kids to eliminate the walking from their lives. What’s the value of walking? It’s exercise, which our increasingly obese kids need. It requires patience, which our kids apparently lack. Finally, it allows time for meditation. You know — a deliberate thought process, a little time within one’s conscience.

I don’t have kids, so I hardly have the right to comment, but I believe the moment a parent allows their kids to wear Heelys, they might as well seek out a Ritalin prescription. Is there a link between Heelys and ADHD? Of course not. But, when a parent concedes that everything — including walking — should be somehow entertaining, they should probably anticipate kids who constantly need stimulus. You know what else is stimulating? Crack. So, while you’re off buying your kids a pair of Heelys, don’t forget a crack pipe.

Where’s this coming from, Andrew?

Sunday, I was at the grocery store picking up a few things. The store was packed, like any other Sunday, and I noticed a young mother crisscrossing me every aisle. She had two sons, both of whom were wearing Heelys and chasing each other throughout the store. At one point, one of the sons ran into my shopping cart, nearly jarring loose a carton of eggs I had in hand. No apology from the boy and none from the mother, and the charade carried on down the toiletries aisle like nothing ever happened.

Kids aren’t pets. You can’t just throw them a chew toy and assume that because they’re entertained, everything is fine. My mom would’ve yanked the wheels out of my shoes and forced me to apologize. She would’ve apologized, profusely, and there was no way I’d be getting Oreos or ice cream.

This mother — and I have no way of knowing this — probably thought, Time for another Ritalin, boys.

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3 thoughts on “The Clear Link Between Heelys and ADHD

  1. While I try not to judge it seems that children now rule the day. I grew up in a generation of “children should be seen and not heard” and “do as I say not as I do”. I disagree with both ends of the spectrum. Discipline can seem so arbitrary, but without the boundaries and rules how do we expect to teach our children to respect and appreciate those around us? Perhaps the increase in ADHD behavior might be linked with the idea that we as parents don’t take the time or initiative to engage with our children in a way that keeps their precious minds and bodies busy in a positive way. Just a thought.

  2. I agree with Mom, and I would take it one step farther. Kids are so used to having constant stimuli…video games, ipods, phones with texting, and more. Heelies are just ones more crappy thing that makes them feel like they are doing more/getting there faster.

    When I was a kid, there were only three channels on the TV (my kids don’t believe that I was twelve before we got cable in the little town in ND I grew up in). If we wanted something to do, we got up and did something. If there wasn’t some structured/planned activity, we used our imaginations and made stuff up to do. GASP! Yes, I said it…we used our imaginations. I find my self kicking my kids out of the house when it’s nice and they are too absorbed in some electronic thing. Kids need more fresh air, and less read entertainment.

    Good blog post!
    Sparrow (waving hello from Minot, ND)

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