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The Gift of ADHD: How to Transform Your Child's Problems into Strengths Paperback – 1 Mar 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: New Harbinger Publications (1 Mar. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572243899
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572243897
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 15.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,312,717 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Why has the diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) received so much attention recently? Read the first page
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 22 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
This is just one of Lara Honos-Webb's books on ADHD. Although she is writing from an American context where ADHD may be over-diagnosed the focus on the strengths of ADHD children is a welcome difference from the usual doom and gloom about ADHD here in the UK.
Although there is some theory about ADHD and some academic reviews this book is primarily focused upon how we as parents, carers and teachers can help our children use their gifts to overcome the disadvantages that come from living in an non-ADHD world.
For most children, most discrimination and trouble happens at school. Unfortunately, most schools seem hardly capable of recognising ADHD type behaviour let alone try to adjust teaching strategies and techniques to accommodate the learning needs of ADHD children. Most ADHD children are accused of being 'naughty' in school until perhaps their condition is diagnosed. Reading this book, as well as researching some of the education papers and reports on line, can provide useful ideas to try ourselves and to ask others like teachers to try.
Like all useful approaches the strategies and techniques recommended in the book will only stand a chance of working if we as parents use them consistently. Of course, not all ADHD children are like the children described in the book, and not all the ideas are likely to work with every child, but Lara Honos-Webb's book should provide some if not many solutions for most children.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 5 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
I do not know why the psychologist that diagnosed my son with ADHD recommended this book to me as the one and only book I should read on the topic. This book is so clearly geared to an American audience that I do not know why it has been translated to Swedish or is recommended by a Swedish psychologist. There is basically nothing I can use from it in our daily life. Everything it talks of is the American school system, rewards and items that exist on that continent, describing their life style and so on.
Example: Cut out pictures from magazines of surfers and surfboards to teach your child how to surf on his emotions. Excuse me but are all ADHD sufferers in her mind people from California USA? My child is 6 years old and does not even know what surfing is so how can I encourage him to imagine himself surfing when he is throwing a tantrum and our magazines certainly do not have pictures of such things since that is not a sport we are able to do in our waters.

Other complaints I have about the book is that where are the pre-school children in this book? And why does it feel that this book is for single mothers only? She gives no information on what to do with siblings of the child. How to teach them to not tear their sibling down when I try to change his behaviour and build something up. She mentions nothing of siblings' frustration with their ADHD diagnosed sibling.
This book seems to assume that you are a single mother with one child who has been diagnosed with ADHD, that the child is about 12 years old and that everything is just a mess in school, all teachers negative. There is nothing about pre-school children and how to prevent problems arising in school or in for the school start. What one can do to prepare the child and future teachers.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was skeptical when I ordered this as the reviews weren't great and although I liked the positive title, I was unsure if a diagnoses of ADHD could be a 'gift'.
However, I am pleased to say I was wrong.
This book helps you turn the negative associations of ADHD on their head. If you are facing a diagnosis for you child and you feel powerless to against the clininicians prescribing meds, then this book will help you to understand ways in which you can view the condition positivity, feel confident in your decision not to medicate. The book deals with ways of empowering children and young people to change behaviours rather than to take a tablet to mask the symptoms.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 33 reviews
108 of 114 people found the following review helpful
A Breath of Fresh Air 17 Feb. 2005
By M. A. Celentana - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you have already tried many of the conventional approaches for "managing" ADHD or if you are simply tired of the way professionals speak of you or your loved one as needing treatment to remedy some "deficit" in character then read this book. Unlike many popular theories that view ADHD as a difficult-to-treat brain condition that adversely affects school performance, social relations, and self-esteem, Dr. Honos-Webb reframes ADHD as an opportunity for growth and exploration. At its heart, this book challenges the reader to view a child diagnosed with ADHD as possessing such "gifts" as creativity, interpersonal intuition, and keen emotional sensitivity. I found myself easily pulled in to the deft way that she weaves existing psychological research with her own personal and professional experience to argue for a more progressive approach to working with those diagnosed with ADHD.

As a psychologist who works with children and adolescents diagnosed with ADHD, I find that there exist two diametrically opposed camps with respect to how best approach diagnosing and treating this condition. The first camp argues that ADHD is all about brain chemistry and requires medication. The second camp argues that ADHD is a wildly overdiagnosed condition and may be nothing more than society's discomfort or dislike of certain behaviors or individuals. The middle ground between these two positions is the territory covered in this book. Advice for working with mental health professionals (who tend to populate the first camp) while maintaining an advocacy role for your child is a particularly strong emphasis. After reading the chapter entitled, "How to Become Your Child's Advocate, Not Apologist" I felt compelled to photocopy it and send it to everyone I've known who has felt a sense of powerlessness in dealing with insensitive school personnel, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc.

It is evident that Dr. Honos-Webb honors those diagnosed with ADHD. This book is definitely for those who want to get active in their child's care. I particularly enjoyed the number of exercises designed to increase self-esteem, parental involvement, and the parent-child bond. With titles such as "Force-Field Control," "What Went Right?," and "Gamma Ray Bursts" you are sure to find something that works for you and your child. I suspect some exercises will feel too hokey to some but there probably is something for everyone.

All things considered, I found this book to be a persuasive argument for approaching ADHD as a gift rather than a nuisance. The writing is generally crisp with tons of examples; as such, it flows nicely and makes for an "easy read." If you are committed to transforming your relationship with your child and those responsible for his or her care then this book will move you in that direction with confidence and a new sense of compassion. A standout addition to the ever-expanding collection of ADHD books!
65 of 70 people found the following review helpful
Dangerous Messages Inside 14 Mar. 2007
By S. King - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
While I appreciate the attempt to shift my paradigm, as an adult with ADHD I see much of this book as rubbish. The author makes unsubstantiated statements such as "drugs work not by fixing brain pathology but by making children high so they are more motivated and feel better about themselves and their behavior improves." The implication and much of the message of the book is that if we feel better about ourselves, we will be better students. She clearly has not been in the thoughts of an ADHD person on stimulants. We're not more motivated because we feel high; we notice the mess, we think about organization, we filter out inappropriate remarks, we worry about deadlines and we ignore distractions. Much like those nongifted, unexuberant, normal folks do. I felt great about myself just before I made a silly remark that cost me my job. Perhaps my boss and the people I offended simply needed to change paradigms and be more accepting of inappropriate behavior...Lara, if you read this, please rethink the messages you are sending people. They are dangerous and unethical.
79 of 89 people found the following review helpful
ADHD is NOT a gift...straight talk from a "former child" who still has it.... 31 Dec. 2006
By Misanthrope - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I'm an adult with ADHD but still remember being a kid and living every day with it. This book talks about how ADHD kids are "special" and "gifted" and really trashes medication. Well a lot of kids, including me, would have given all the "gifts' and "specialness" and creativity back in a cold second if we could have had a decent night's sleep. Or made friends with other kids. Or could have just lived a regular day like normal people. IT IS NOT A GIFT, AND QUIT MAKING YOUR KIDS MISERABLE BY TELLING THEM HOW GREAT IS IS!! Please get your kids to a doctor and put them on some meds. They will feel better. They'll sleep better. They'll make friends easier. I say this again, they will feel better!! Please listen to me. I and many others say this from personal experience. Tney will not become zombies, or loose their creativity if they're put on medication. It will allow them to blossom all the more. It makes me furious to hear these parents go on and on about how they'd never medicate their kids when they have no idea the ABSOLUTE HELL their kids live through every day. I had the best night's sleep in my entire life the first day I started my stimulant meds. Your kids will thank you for it.
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Keep the strengths but lessen the problems 31 Aug. 2007
By N. Hetherington - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I, too, applaud this book for the way it reframes difficulties that kids, adults, and families with ADHD experience. But it takes a lot of energy to keep that perspective all the time. My concern about this book is that it perpetuates the view that there are just two possible (and seemingly conflicting) answers: medication or coping skills. Besides a mention of neurofeedback, it doesn't fully describe the benefits of this well-researched and very effective therapy.

My daughter had such severe ADHD that she finally had to drop out of high school and take a GED degree. After several years she very much wanted to go on for higher education but felt afraid when she thought of the attentional demands it would make on her. She did about three months of neurofeedback and entered acupuncture school. Now she calls me and says that she is learning, remembering very complicated details, more organized, completing assignments on time, and extremely happy. The most important thing she said was that the neurofeedback "didn't change her personality and abilities but it took away the behaviors that kept her from being who she was."

Instead of seeing ADHD as a chemical imbalance or a gift, another perspective is that the behaviors are produced by a brain that is under or over activated. Neurofeedback is totally non-invasive and consists of a person playing a computer game with their brain. It is accomplished by the use of several electrodes placed on the head that measure frequency and amplitude of the brain waves at the site of the electrode(s). Nothing is done to the brain. The game simply makes suggestions as to how to shift the balance of brain arousal and gives feedback (rewards) to the brain. As it learns, the result is modification of the person's behavior. After a number of sessions, the behavior usually becomes permanent. And the person gets to keep her or his abilities and uniqueness. Now, that's a GIFT.
73 of 83 people found the following review helpful
Only for "perfect" ADHD children 8 Sept. 2006
By Claire Ziamandanis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If your child truly deals with ADHD in combination with any other conditions (RAD, OCD, etc), this is NOT the book for you. The author clearly deals with children with a singular diagnosis.

Page 29: "The bias of this book is that ADHD is a gift that is misunderstood in this culture, and that eliminating this gift by medication does not make sense."

So if you have had success with Ritalin or any other medication, you are doomed to be the "bad" parent, presumably not recognizing the beauty in your child.

My son began taking Ritalin after 2 years of play therapy, modification of food intakes, counseling, etc. At the time, he was receiving speech services for a language processing deficit. The first day he took Ritalin, he walked into my room and held a conversation with me, with 5 changes of turn. He stayed on topic, and his sentences were clear. It wasn't a language processing issue. It was that his brain could not filter the simultaneous 5 + thoughts to come out with a cogent sentence. Ritalin slows his brain enough so that he can communicate.

This is the difference between a PhD and an MD dealing with the diagnosis. One is subjective, based on client base, the other is medical and more trustworthy.

If your child has multiple diagnosis, stay away from this book.
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