The ADHD Advantage: What You Thought Was a Diagnosis May Be Your Greatest Strength - Dale Archer MD



     I have so much to say about this book, I just don’t even know where to start. Well maybe with a huge thank you to everyone that contributed to this book! I think it’s safe to say that most people that pick this book up have a personal interest in this subject, whether it be a medical professional, an education professional (or anyone working with children really), or someone directly or indirectly living with this DIFFERENCE. And make no mistake, that is a much more suitable title for it than disorder. Whichever reason that interests you in this subject, so yourself a favor and please give this book a read. There is a wealth of information, positivity, inspirational stories, and so many tools to help an ADHDer be as successful and confident as they can be.



    Okay, I think the way I will do this is to keep this portion of things kind of straight to the point and non-personal as I can and then if you feel so inclined I will post my personal reasons for being so interested in this subject and very enthusiastic about this book and all that it has to offer.



    I have to say one thing specifically that was brilliantly done in this book was the structure of it. It made this such a fluid read, most especially I would think, for those with a more nonlinear way of taking in and processing information. It’s one thing to talk about things to help ADHDers succeed, and it’s so much more when you actually do so in a way that is actually tailor made for them to be able to absorb all of that information. Kudos to you. The way that you, seemingly effortlessly, blended the facts and statistics, with personal stories, and suggestions/tools to encourage success, you did precisely what you preached and I commend you for that. The changing focus on different aspects constantly kept things fresh and broke up any monotony. I have read countless articles on ADHD and not one of them that comes to mind were actually set up in a way that spoke directly to someone with that difference.



     One of the absolute best things, in my opinion, was how much positivity there was. How utterly refreshing to focus on the benefits of ADHD, and how to enhance those rather than how to tone these exceptional people down. It’s so frustrating to read the statics, and the heartbreaking personal struggles in this book, when a lot of what we need to do as a whole is be better informed, understanding and help build these differences up rather than dull them out with medication. We are failing our kids by not exhausting all other avenues before turning to quick fix in the form of a pill.



     Another thing mentioned numerous times was that there is no “one size fits all” answer/way of dealing with these differences. Thank goodness someone said it! My whole parenting experience is predominately built on loads of trial and error. I have found over the years that not all traditional ways of thinking and doing things can be applied to my daughter. Now some of that probably can’t be attributed to ADHD but some of it most certainly can. What works for your child, most likely won’t work for mine. But that’s also parenting in general, there is no instruction manual and each child is an individual. I think the biggest difference for me personally was learning to adjust my expectations, and shut out those other voices that said that there was this one right way to do things. People’s opinions and advice can sometimes be invaluable, but when they have absolutely no clue about the ways that your child is different than others, their two cents isn’t always worth much, and I found more times than not made me feel like I was a failure. That I wasn’t doing something right. It still can feel like that at times. The sooner you realize that what works for some people isn’t going to work for you, and if you keep trying new things, ultimately you will find things that do work, sometimes it just takes awhile to get there.


       There were numerous ADHDers in this book that told their stories, from the struggles they have had in earlier years or still have as adults, to tricks they’ve found work for them, to the wild success that they’ve had, not in spite of ADHD but because of it! Some of the names you will surely recognize, Howie Mandel, Ty Pennington, Channing Tatum, Chef Alexis Hernandez, Terry Bradshaw, and many more. But there were also everyday people ranging from entrepreneur, doctor, photographer, truck driver, waitress, etc. I was glad for each one of their stories, and most especially their many different ways of doing things that I hope to try with my daughter in hopes of helping her find her perfect way!


       I also appreciated the part near the end that took time to cover ADHD and relationships. It was told for each parties benefit, which was truly nice. The many tips there can be applied to relationships as a whole, not just romantic.


      I really encourage anyone that works with children or has anyone they know with ADHD to pick this up and learn a little something. I can honestly say I have an even deeper understanding of ADHD, and in turn a part of my daughter that I am still always learning about. I really hope that people take as much as I did from this.




   ****As I am sure you have already put together, my main reason for reading this was my daughter. I was really hoping to get a better understanding of ADHD in general, and more than anything learn some different ways that I could help her be as successful as possible and prevent both of our frustrations as much as possible.



      We have had our own share of disappointing experiences because of people’s, I don’t know laziness, or lack of understanding. My daughter’s 4th grade teacher, having never once spoke to me about any concerns, via email, note, or any other standard method of communication between parents and teachers. He never said anything to me about a concern for her learning, or any problems he was having with her in class. But somehow we had jumped from 0 to 10, at least that’s how it felt for me, at conferences when he blurted out that “Your daughter needs to see a doctor” or “I think medication will be key.” Apparently her excessive talking in class was grating on his nerves, which is totally understandable. What is not acceptable, is the fact that it never seemed enough of an issue for him to contact me about it, so I don’t know, maybe we could all brainstorm on some ways to work with her so there were less disruptions. And most of all what I don’t accept is that his concerns never once seemed to be for my daughter, but rather himself, or the good of the whole. While I understand that to an extent, I’m not the whole’s mother, and that one kid you’re singling out without putting in any effort with, yeah that one is my main concern. I was worried about that girl. But along with being angry, I also felt that twinge of oh god, a professional just said that to us, maybe this is a problem. So I did what most people ultimately do in that situation, I took her to a doctor. Which I am sad to say ended up going straight for the good ole prescription pad. It was the last time I saw that doctor. I told him I didn’t feel comfortable with that, and asked if there were any other things we could try before thinking about medication. The reply was “Just give this a try and see how it goes.”. It’s disgusting to me that I felt like drugs were being pushed on my child without anyone really even taking the time to try and figure out what she truly needs. This was an A student, in honors band, btw.


    Ultimately I did not end up ever giving her any medication. And for better or worse we’ve been going at everything in our own ways. There are many road bumps along the way, whether ADHD related or not, but we’re always adapting and trying new ways to work together for the best solution. Even if sometimes that means learning to let the kid do whatever works for her, even when it makes no sense to me. EX. listening to music, Facetiming or streaming video and doing homework. LOL We would argue about this quite frequently, with me constantly being like “You can’t get anything done that way, you need to focus on your homework.” Funny thing was, she was focusing on it, she just did that more easily with a few other things going on at the same time. When I would force her into what I deemed a better environment for learning/being productive, she would struggle to get it done, or rush to get through it and ultimately not do as well most of the time. Her chaotic way, it was what worked for her, and as long as it was working who am I to say it’s not the right way! Everything is a learning experience being a parent in general.



    The ADHD Advantage just gave me a few more tools to try and a better understanding of ADHD and the many benefits that come along with that. And a million thanks for bringing positive awareness to people about ADHD, and also to the fact that there is a real problem with over diagnosing and over medication. Approximatly 6.4 million American children (11 percent) ages 3-17 are being diagnosed with ADHD and over half of those being medicated . This is a serious problem. Especially if you compare us to other countries, France for instance that is around 0.05 percent of children in that range being diagnosed and medicated. 0.05 percent. We can do better America. ****




   I received a copy of this book from Penguin Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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