Whether or not your child is diagnosed ADHD, if they struggle with focus, memory, problem solving, procrastination, organization or one of the other common executive function skills common to anxiety, brain injury and other issues, these four books should be on your shelf.
If you only read one book on the subject, this should be it. It is the most up to date and comprehensive book available for parents. In addition to a gaining a thorough understanding of the nature of ADHD, it offers tons of practical steps you can take at home to help your child succeed. If you skipped the rest of the book it would be worth twice the purchase price just to read Chapter 11. In that chapter Barkley lays out 8 steps that parents can take over a two month period that will significantly improve your child’s functioning and create peace in your home.
Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary “Executive Skills” Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential
I love this book and its companion for teens because it looks at the symptoms instead of just the diagnosis. We can help the child build the skills they need for success even if we don’t know exactly why they have those struggles. It takes time to decipher if a child is acting a certain way due to a dopamine regulation problem, anxiety or if it is just due to a personality trait. This book has a short checklist which will help you discover your child’s executive functioning strengths and weaknesses in these 11 executive skills:
- Response Inhibition
- Working Memory
- Emotional Control
- Sustained Attention
- Task Initiation
- Time Management
- Goal-Directed Persistence
- Metacognition (problem solving)
It then gives practical steps to take at home to improve the skills and some ways to accommodate for weaknesses.
Healing ADD Revised Edition: The Breakthrough Program that Allows You to See and Heal the 7 Types of ADD
This book adds to our understanding of AHDH in that not all kids labeled ADHD are wired the same nor should they be treated the same. I especially like his section on medication selection as a treatment option. It helped me to understand why some kids react so well to medication and while others get worse. For example, he mentions that if a child has a problem with overfocused ADD, then a neurostimulant like Ritalin, Adderall, or Vyvanse may make the problem worse and so he treats with alternative methods. He offers a free online assessment to discover your ADD type as well.
I love this book because of its alternate approach to the medical model of ADHD. Instead the author views ADHD as a great and necessary gift. In the hunter/gatherer model hunters are needed to sustain a society. People with ADHD, the hunters, are needed in society, but do not fit well into traditional classrooms so they feel like inferior citizens. Instead, he argues, we should celebrate and encourage their gifts. This is a refreshing perspective because a child may have ADHD symptoms because they were exposed to harmful substances in utero, others because they have a very highly adaptive skill set.
Have you read other interesting books on the subject? If so, please share them in the comments.