Being a father, former special education teacher, and regular education teacher, I really appreciated this chapter. Small introduces the chapter with an anecdotal scene of our regular "bombardment of technology" - iPods, T.V. with Scrolling Bars on the bottom of the Screen, Computer with multiple windows in action, etc. Many consider this to be multi-tasking. However, at question is the quality of the task performance being done. At a Discovery Education workshop earlier in the spring, one discussion we had was about the differences between "Multi-Switching" and "Multi-Tasking". From my observations, I see students do more "Multi-Switching". Small goes on in the chapter to provide the DSM-IV criteria for ADHD. For the past 10 years, especially since being in education, I have had various criticisms of this diagnostic method. First of all, it is subjective and based on rating scales provided to Parents and Teachers. There is no blood test or other objective technique. Second, unlike other disorders, ADHD does not cross contexts very well. Individuals with Down Syndrome, Arthritis, Crones Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, or Turrets don't cease having these conditions when they are playing soccer, engaged in a video game, talking with a friend on the phone, working on their Mustang (ha!! :) ). Not the case with ADHD - where symptoms pop up in specific contexts, often non-preferred, while in other contexts, the symptoms are non-existent. Small provides some evidence to suggest that technology impacts parts of the brain that link to ADHD through over stimulation. While some stimulation/arousal is necessary for general function, technology can become "maladaptive".
I didn't take particular interest in the section of Indigo children. Again, this seems to be a case by case scenario. I did however find the section on Autism very interesting. I have seen similarities within my own kids. As my oldest is more engrossed in television on a given day, the weaker his social skills become - ceases to verbally communicate, doesn't participate in group/family meals, becomes easily irritable, fixates on programming. However, my wife and I try to take our kids camping/hiking a few times during the summer. On these 2 or 3 day adventures, I'm glad to say my son is completely different. He is social, helpful, part of the group, involved in conversation, makes eye contact and, my favorite part, will put himself to bed [in the tent]. This is also true on days when his exposure to television or video games has been limited. In this way, I can see how Technology is like an amphetamine. When we are on it, it stimulates portions of our brain. We like that feeling and so we don't want to leave that "high". The social world around becomes secondary. I'm not all in that technology causes Autism Spectrum Disorders, but I do see the correlation between anti or non-social behaviors. Correlation doesn't necessarily mean cause and effect, and I'm quite certain, if I took an Autistic child camping, he would continue to show typical symptoms. That being said, I think Small addressed one of the best treatments for initial interventions - "Turn off the computer [or television, Xbox, iPad, etc] and go outside].