I’d like to tell you about a book that was published in February 2016. You’ll probably recognize the author because he is one of the most highly respected authorities on ADHD – Dr. Russell Barkley. Dr. Barkley is a prolific writer. He says this is his first book designed especially for educators, but in my opinion the information in Managing ADHD in School: The Best Evidence-Based Methods for Teachers, can be valuable to anyone dealing with ADHD, whether or not you are connected with the education system.
Just so you know, I don’t have any vested interest in the book. I’m recommending it because I find it to be an excellent, accessible source of important information about ADHD. It is concise, at only 89 pages, including the references at the end. I read it from cover to cover in a busy 24-hour period.
Barkley starts with the basics in chapters called “What is ADHD?” “The Facts about ADHD.” “And What Causes ADHD?” Each of these chapters is no more than six pages long and includes helpful diagrams and tables. Later chapters address topics such as managing executive functioning deficits, rewarding good behavior, improving self-awareness, etc. The information is accessible and clearly presented.
Anyone who reads this concise book would have no doubt that ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition that is highly inherited. It involves developmental delays, especially in the prefrontal lobes of the brain where most executive functions live.
Barkley explains that 10-34% of children with ADHD will no longer have symptoms in adulthood. Obviously that means that 66-90% of individuals will need to deal with ADHD and executive functioning challenges throughout life. This book can be valuable to many of those adults, especially those for whom reading a longer book might be a challenge.
If this book is widely read, many misconceptions about ADHD will be corrected. The result will be more enlightened thinking about ADHD in the world! The chapter on managing ADHD medicine, for example, should be required reading for everyone, but especially for people who have strong opinions on that topic without having much actual information.
The blurb on Amazon says that there are more than 100 “evidence-based recommendations” in this book. Even though these recommendations are written for students and teachers in a classroom, they are applicable in many other settings. For example, I know many adults who would be helped by creating their own home-made “nag tapes” which Barkley describes as “a digitally recorded set of encouragements . . . with reminders of the rules for on-task behavior.” I wonder how many of us adults could also benefit from a “Daily Behavior Report Card” or “Behavior Contract.” Some of us, I’m sure!
Managing ADHD in School by Dr. Russell Barkley is easy to read while being a terrific reference book. I strongly recommend it. If you read it, let me know what you think!