There is certainly a lot of information out there right now. The problem is, so much of it is too superficial, biased, or jargon-laden to be of any real help. There are great resources out there too, but they can be hard to wade through. In my book, I've tried to gather together in one place relevant, up to date information and strategies that I've learned over the years. I know that the book can help parents help their kids. I use real, plain speaking words wherever I can, and explain the technical bits when I need to. I'm not writing as a representative of any particular drug company, agency, or retailer, so I can share my beliefs and opinions openly and without any hidden agendas. Best of all, I've got 20 years experience of working with kids to know what works, and what doesn't. Like it says on the label, the book is full of real, useful advice you can use right now!
Have you always been a specialist teacher?
No, I started my career as an high school English teacher. Prior to that I had worked with at-risk youth, and with special needs adults. When I started teaching, I quickly realized that my passion was working with kids who struggled in school. Figuring out how to help them succeed, and to show them just how capable they could be was as much a joy to me as it was for the kids to realize when they realized they weren't stupid after all!
Do you think kids can grow out of ADHD?
That's a really good question, and one that I know many parents must lay awake at night thinking about. I think that the most important thing to remember is that ADHD is not a phase, and not something a kid is just going to get over. It's a neurodevelopmental difference in the way the brain is wired, producing symptoms that can lessen - or worsen - depending on a host of factors. Of course, as children grow and their brains continue to develop, managing ADHD symptoms can get easier. I believe that in general, a healthy lifestyle coupled with a supportive, structured environment allows ADHD brains to flourish. The ability to multi-task, to think out of the box, and to be hyper-aware of one's surroundings can be a huge asset if harnessed correctly, or a real deficit if not. I hope that many of the techniques in the book help achieve the former!
Describe your desk
Managed chaos! What do they say about teaching? "Do I as I say, not as I do?" Well, that just about sums out my approach to my desk. Seriously, though, I do try to have lots of labeled baskets and file folders so I can store - and retrieve - the things I need in a timely manner. I'm actually quite organized electronically, because I let the computer do all the work of keeping track of everything. And yes, just like 99% of most people with ADHD, I do squirrel away scrap paper, bent paperclips, dried out pens and lots of other flotsam and jestsam in the drawers!
What are you working on next?
I've had so much great feedback and support from this book, I'm going to write a guide for adults with ADHD next. It'll be in the same format, but the focus will be on living with ADHD as an adult.
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