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Survival Guide for Kids with ADD or ADHD - review

The Survival Guide for Kids With ADD or ADHD is very practical and user friendly. There are eight well defined chapters, beginning with “What is ADHD?” and ending with “Eight Ways to Deal with Strong Feelings”. A glossary helps with clinical vocabulary, and there are many reproducible pages that can be useful in tracking progress and understanding which traits are most troublesome for the reader.

John F. Taylor, the author, presents attention issues to the reader as a challenge, but not as an insurmountable obstacle or an excuse for bad behavior or poor academic performance. Taylor is a PhD and founder of ADD Plus, an organization dedicated to helping individuals and families affected by ADD or ADHD. He is the father of three ADD kids.

Taylor spells it out for kids who may get a lot of negative messages. “...Having ADHD doesn't mean you are stupid, lazy, crazy, bad, or ill. It means that there are some differences in the way your brain works that make you show some ADHD traits.” Chapter end quizzes reinforce each section in a lighthearted manner. At the end of chapter one, for instance:

“Sam has ADHD and thinks that reading books is boring. What can Sam learn from reading this book?”

A. How to speak with aliens from a planet named Zatar
B. Where to find a stash of buried treasure
C.Ways to deal with ADHD at school, at home, and with friends

There are many effective coping skills that kids can learn that may offset the need for medication or enhance pharmaceutical treatment. The KITE decision making plan is one such tool. K is for knowing the situation, I for identifying choices, T for try the best plan, and E is for evaluation of how things went. KITE and other strategies are discussed in detail, so kids can work on making positive changes.

I particularly appreciate the information on the importance of diet. Chapter four is entirely about diet and how it can affect mood and behavior. Many children with ADD seem to be very sensitive to food dyes and preservatives which can exacerbate attention problems. Just drinking more water may help with concentration, and the author suggests that even a few small changes may be beneficial.

I find this a very wise and accessible book for kids 6-12. There are tips for staying organized, getting to sleep, and getting along with others. Links for ADD related web sites are provided as well. I'm very pleased to recommend this book, brought to us by the very astute and child friendly people at Free Spirit Publishing.

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