Books related to ADHD are a bit of a temptation for me. I probably purchase more than necessary, so I have quite a collection. Some I have read front to back, but many are bookmarked or hold pencils marking the pages where I left off reading. Most likely I didn’t dislike the partially unread books. It’s probably the case that something new came along and appeared more interesting in the moment, so I switched.

This past Tuesday I was creating a resource list of books for a presentation we gave at our local library. I came across a book that has been around so long that I don’t remember purchasing it. Since it was published in 1995, my guess is that we purchased it around the time Neil was diagnosed with ADHD about twelve years ago. At that time we were looking for anything that would educate us.

The book is ADD Success Stories: A Guide to Fulfillment for Families with Attention Deficit Disorder by Thom Hartmann, with a foreword by Dr. John Ratey. It’s paperback and our copy looks a little old, but it also looks unread–or at least it did until the middle of last week when I picked it up and have had a hard time putting it down.

This book was written in the relatively early days of the internet. CompuServe (remember CompuServe? I do!) offered an ADD forum that at the time had 40,000  members in dozens of countries. Hartmann, a ADDer himself (and a man of vast interests, knowledge, and talents) was the head systems operator for the CompuServe ADD forum. He sent out an “electronic mail message” to the list asking for success stories for use in his presentations and in an upcoming book. The brief testimonials that make up a large part of the book were apparently submitted in response to that request.  They are stories of how ADD (as it was then called) affected the lives of the writers. But more importantly, in these short accounts the writers share how various strategies helped them.

The individuals who responded used pencils and paper and watches and alarm clocks rather than smart phones and computer tablets, but the strategies that helped them nearly twenty years ago are in large part applicable today. Certainly some of the reference material is irrelevant because much has changed in our understanding of ADHD during the last twenty years. But ADHDers of today struggle with the same challenges experienced by ADHDers of the mid-1990s, so there is a lot to learn from their examples.  It’s fascinating to see how differently each individual resolves his/her challenges!

Amazon still sells this book. I recommend it. If you decide to read it, please post your thoughts!


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