Guest Author - Lorel Shea
School Success for Kids with ADHD is a guidebook for parents, educators, and other adults who work with children. Attention issues may be found among children of every culture and every level of ability. Gifted children with attention deficit are often misdiagnosed or marked as underachievers.
The authors of this book are two psychologists and a veteran classroom teacher. They present up to date research on ADHD along with realistic methods for accommodation. I found myself nodding my head in agreement at many of the most salient points. Kids with attention problems need the support and guidance of the adults in their lives. Even the brightest should not be left to fend for themselves. Left untreated, many ADHD kids grow up to self medicate with alcohol and drugs.
The book opens with an inspirational quote from record-breaking Olympic gold medalist, Michael Phelps. Phelps has ADHD and his mother notes that , “He never sat still, never stopped talking, never stopped asking questions, and had difficulty staying on task.” But Michael did have the ability to “hyperfocus” on swimming, and so she encouraged him to stick with it. Gifted kids with ADHD often seem to be able to hyperfocus this way. I believe that this contributes to the frequent perception that they are merely lazy, as parents and teachers can point out examples of intense attention to detail that seem to belie an ADHD diagnosis.
The first few chapters of “School Success” discuss the history of ADHD, the importance of attention , and the medical perspective. Chapter four is directed at parents and includes information on how to request assessment for attention deficit, tips for managing behavior at home, strategies for homework issues, and support group facts. Chapter five is the practical heart of the book. It contains a 12 point Multimodal Action Plan. This comprehensive plan addresses assessment, medical monitoring, educational support, and more. The plan calls for a network of people and tools to treat the individual.
It makes sense that a single option or course of treatment will be less effective over time than one which treats the child holistically. School accommodations are the topic of chapter six. Small changes such as preferential seating (in the front row or away from distractions) may add up to a big change in school performance. As kids grow older, they have more complex responsibilities and must deal with extensive homework, project planning and implementation, etc. These topics are also addressed. Chapter eight is titled, “College and Beyond.” It emphasizes the need for careful planning and a treatment plan for college. Chapter ten reviews alternative treatments for ADHD, including the Feingold Diet, EFA supplementation, ginkgo biloba, and homeopathy, to name a few. Some of these treatments appear to yield positive results, while others produce little or no effect in controlled studies.
The book wraps up with a nice resource list, a who's who of eminent people with ADHD or learning disabilities, a few reproducible worksheets, and extended research data.
All in all, this is a very useful, accessible, and well written guide.