Nature Deficit Disorder?

14
Mar

Nature Deficit Disorder?

Ever heard of this? I haven’t. It’s obviously a term made up by the author of this book. There seems to be a disorder for everything these days, but it did catch my attention. As I read the excerpt on this book, I realized that this guy had a point. I have not read the book to have an opinion on his beliefs, but certainly agree that our kids need to get outdoors! Below is a description of his book. Just scan through it, you’ll get the idea pretty quick.

Book Description: “I like to play indoors better ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are,” reports a fourth-grader. Never before in history have children been so plugged in—and so out of touch with the natural world. In this groundbreaking new work, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation—he calls it nature deficit—to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as rises in obesity, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and depression.Some startling facts: By the 1990s the radius around the home where children were allowed to roam on their own had shrunk to a ninth of what it had been in 1970. Today, average eight-year-olds are better able to identify cartoon characters than native species, such as beetles and oak trees, in their own community. The rate at which doctors prescribe antidepressants to children has doubled in the last five years, and recent studies show that too much computer use spells trouble for the developing mind.Nature-deficit disorder is not a medical condition; it is a description of the human costs of alienation from nature. This alienation damages children and shapes adults, families, and communities. There are solutions, though, and they’re right in our own backyards. Last child in the Woods is the first book to bring together cutting-edge research showing that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development—physical, emotional, and spiritual. What’s more, nature is a potent therapy for depression, obesity, and ADD. Environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade point averages and develops skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Even creativity is stimulated by childhood experiences in nature. Yet sending kids outside to play is increasingly difficult. Computers, television, and video games compete for their time, of course, but it’s also our fears of traffic, strangers, even virus-carrying mosquitoes—fears the media exploit—that keep children indoors. Meanwhile, schools assign more and more homework, and there is less and less access to natural areas.Parents have the power to ensure that their daughter or son will not be the “last child in the woods,” and this book is the first step toward that nature-child reunion.

Something certainly to think about. I was just talking to a friend of mine how when we were kids we were sent outside to play all the time. It’s sad that television, computers, and video games have taken over the wonderful opportunity to venture outdoors, get some fresh air, release some energy and absorb some necessary Vitamin D. Not to mention, when we talk about guided participation, its much harder to guide our children when they are attached to a television screen. Just imagine all the opportunities when we are outside to explore, teach and guide our children! Here’s just a couple ideas:

  • sweep the garage
  • pull weeds
  • build a snowman
  • bring the garbage out
  • take a walk
  • go on a scavenger hunt
  • play a sport
  • go sledding
  • wash the car
  • spread woodchips
  • grow a garden
  • build a fort

The options are endless! It’s time to get out and experience life! On that note, have a wonderful week next week as I’ll be enjoying the beautiful outdoors in sunny Florida making sure my children have the opportunity to learn about sea animals (Sea World), world animals (Disney’s Animal Kingdom), and soak up a bunch of vitamin D as we all hang out by the pool getting some good exercise in the Florida sun.

Until 2 weeks from now!

Michelle

Comments

  • Marni
    March 15, 2007

    It is so true our kids don’t get outside enough, but in our household the obstacles are not TV or videos, etc., but, rather, time constraints. I won’t send them outside unattended in today’s world, so they have to wait until I am available to go with them, and that is a real challenge since I work from home, in between home schooling lessons. Something I need to work on, I guess! I wonder if anyone else out there is in the same boat?

  • Anonymous
    March 18, 2007

    I loved this book. I’m a retired Episcopal priest, my academic training is in ecology, and I’m homeschooling an autistic grandson. We’ve raised a praying mantis this year, we go to Silver Springs and outside as often as possible. I totally agree that we need to get the kids outside. But in our present culture, it does not seem to be safe for kids to wander in the woods like we used to do..and that goes double for spectrum kids. That doesn’t mean it’s any less important, though. We’ve just got to get out there with them. My DGS is growing a vegetable garden out back this spring…turnips, radishes, snow peas and potatoes.

    I think immediate contact with the natural world is VITAL.

    Peace,
    Kathy E.

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