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Book Review: The A.D.D. Book: New Understandings, New Approaches to Parenting Your Child

By William Sears, MD, and Lynda Thompson, PhD
Reviewed by Gina Gile-Maves
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 35 No. 4, August-September 1999, p. 88

Available from LLLI, No. 72-7

What a wonderful roller coaster ride life turns out to be! You grow up, fall in love, give birth to a child and wait for that magic moment when life is peaceful and serene like an image in a television commercial. Only sometimes the dream doesn't become reality; sometimes that little bundle of joy turns out to be a whirling dervish of energy, defiance and turmoil. You have been blessed with a child who has A.D.D. or A.D.H.D.

The A.D.D. Book by William Sears, MD, and Lynda Thompson, PhD, is an excellent book for parents of children with Attention Deficit Disorder with or without hyperactivity. The book is a comforting, practical and empowering resource that offers many suggestions for making sure that your child is given opportunities that maximize his unique abilities and character traits, allowing for more successes in his home life, school life and social life. Sears and Thompson share insight, support and information that make navigating the maze of A.D.D. management a positive journey.

Parenting a child with the challenging personality traits that make up A.D.D. can be maddening, leaving a parent feeling helpless and ineffective. Loving guidance suffers as parents blame themselves, while listening to teachers, family, friends and "experts" who tell them that they just need to be more forceful with their child. This book offers encouragement to parents whose children often make positive parenting seem impossible.

The book begins with a detailed description of what A.D.D. is and what it is not. Many times children are tagged with labels that diminish their uniqueness and work to make them conform to standards that dull who they are. Although bright, many children with A.D.D. are simply "square pegs in round holes." Sears and Thompson are careful to define A.D.D. as an attention difference and not necessarily a deficit. They also share descriptions and examples of the many positive traits that are common to someone with A.D.D.

A healthy pregnancy, breastfeeding, good nutrition and attachment parenting are all mentioned as important components of building a healthy brain. Sears and Thompson point out, "The reason we stress the importance of building brains is that A.D.D. specialists have observed that smarter children with A.D.D. are better able to compensate for their attention or behavioral differences. High intelligence is a protective factor" (page 70). When a child is raised with a high-touch, high- commitment style of parenting, the chances of developing problems due to A.D.D. are reduced.

The authors are very careful to point out that attachment parenting and breastfeeding won't protect your children from developing A.D.D. According to Sears and Thompson, A.D.D. is a brain difference just as left-handedness is. A.D.D. affects approximately five percent of the population. Attachment parenting is suggested as a way to help nourish your child's brain and increase your understanding and commitment to your child's special needs.

The LLLI concept, "From infancy on, children need loving guidance which reflects acceptance of their capabilities and sensitivity to their feelings" does not say, "unless the child is really hard to parent." This book offers support that parents need to live loving guidance, even when their child may seem most unlovable.

The chapter "Medications to Help A.D.D. " includes a note to parents and professionals reminding them to "consider medication in addition to but not instead of other treatments, such as behavior and learning strategies." The chapter goes on to discuss the pros and cons of many common medications used to treat A.D.D. Personal stories and questions from parents give "you are not alone" support and encouragement to parents in the trenches.

Other excellent chapters in The A.D.D. Book discuss nutrition, neurofeedback and alternative A.D.D. treatments. Parents will also appreciate the chapter "Understanding A.D.D. Laws."

People with A.D.D. are creative, energetic and spontaneous. Without people who have A.D.D., the world would have fewer inventors, leaders, artists, explorers and entertainers. Imagine the world without the gifts of people with A.D.D! You would be reading this by candlelight and certainly wouldn't have Mozart music playing soothingly in the background. In fact, although undiagnosed, Dr. Sears says in his introduction that he is fairly certain that he would have been labeled with A.D.D. as a child.

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