ADHD: What does this mean for you? Perhaps you think it doesn’t exist. Perhaps you think it is a medical condition that needs treatment with drugs. Perhaps you blame society or diet or poor parenting. Perhaps you think it means uncontrollable children who beat on their mothers and bash holes in the wall.
Whatever your opinion, amidst all of the rhetoric on ADHD a voice has been missing, that is until now. Brenton Prosser takes us inside the worlds of teenagers with ADHD and takes the reader on an eye-opening journey through the social, political, medical and personal landscape surrounding ADHD.
Prosser argues that by looking at ADHD in black and white terms as either a myth or a medical problem we fail to empathise with those families affected by ADHD and we also fail as a society to provide access to other resources which can help families cope.
I found the book challenging on many levels. It made me feel angry at the political and medical influences on ADHD treatment and it made me feel despair for the children who were hurt by media stereotyping and their school life whether that be by teachers, parents or peers. It also gave me a deep sense of empathy for the parents of these children because most of them have had to endure a lack of real social support and immense pressure to drug their children into conformity.
Prosser explodes many of the myths surrounding ADHD and offers advice to both teachers and parents on how to support the children they teach and care for. He offers 100 tips to classroom teachers to help children with ADHD in the classroom and recommends a more flexible approach to teaching and learning for children and teens with ADHD.
This book convinced me to investigate alternative schooling for my own child (who has been diagnosed with ADHD and Austism Spectrum Disorder) and made me wish my parents had sent me to a small Montessori-style school (I was diagnosed with ADHD at four years old) but I found myself feeling compelled to ask “what about homeschooling?”
Prosser doesn’t explore homeschooling in the book which disappointed me a little but upon asking him about it he explained that the scope of the book was focused on mainstream education (what most children access) and added that there simply wasn’t enough space in the book to branch out into discussions on home schooling. Personally I’d like to see another book following on from this which takes a critical look at home schooling and other teaching and learning alternatives for children with ADHD and other learning disabilities.
For me this book was cathartic because for the first time I felt acknowledged and supported both as a person who has grown up with the ADHD label and as a mother of a child who has been given the ADHD label. It has enriched my understanding of ADHD and why people hold such black and white views about it but it has also empowered me to advocate for my child’s needs and look at the world through his eyes.