I admit it: I am a bit of an ADHD book junkie. I am always lurking in the psychology sections of Half Price Books, and I jump up and down when I find a good one (I really do jump up and down – it embarrasses my family, which is one of my favorite things to do). It has always been easy to find excellent books about ADHD that are written for parents, but finding a good book that is written for older kids has proven to be as difficult as finding a happy Netflix customer after the price hike.
Look no more. “Take Control of ADHD: The Ultimate Guide for Teens with ADHD”
by Ruth Spodak, Ph.D. and Kenneth Stefano, Psy. D., is a fantastic resource for tweens/teens who are dealing with ADHD. The first thing I noticed was how much information was covered. There are nine chapters, each one laid out with a structure that follows two teens with ADHD, Jake and Abby. I loved that they included case studies – I always think they are a great way to relate to your own experiences. I also appreciated that they included a male and a female example, since so much of what we read tends to be boy-centric.
The chapters are nicely planned out, and the tone of the writing is friendly and easy to understand – even the information about the brain! Most of the time when I’m reading about neuroscience, I start to hear the voice of the teacher in the “Peanuts” cartoons, but I found the brain section to be very relatable. I put myself in the shoes of a teen who has long thought ADHD was a character flaw, only to learn that it is something caused by the way their brain is designed. I can imagine learning that ADHD is a PHYSICAL disorder with behavioral symptoms could be a huge relief.
I especially loved the last chapter: “Putting It All Together.” This chapter helps kids take what they learned and apply it to the big picture of their lives. This chapter also includes an “ADHD Profile.” This is a well-detailed plan of steps that can be taken at home, at school and with friends depending on the type of ADHD your child may have.
I was also very impressed with the focus on self advocacy. Ultimately, we are all hoping that our kids will grow up to be responsible, productive human beings, and when a kid is dealing with ADHD, self advocacy MUST be an important part of their life. We spend so much time managing our childrens’ lives that it’s easy to lose sight of this. I loved that the book really drove home the point that once your child is a teenager, ADHD is their responsibility to manage. For those of you who struggle with control (I’m raising my hand first!!), it’s helpful to read this book and understand what self advocacy really should look and feel like for a kid. Teaching self advocacy is vital, as long as we remember that the maturity to advocate for one’s self may not always be there. Bottom line: you know your child and you know their maturity level. Start training them today in maturity-appropriate ways for them to manage ADHD.
Enough about my opinion – the book wasn’t written for me. I took the book straight to the target audience – my 12 year old son. I told him his feedback had to be in complete sentences and could not just express the fact that the book was “good” (“Good” seems to be his descriptor of choice these days). His first comment was that he liked the book because it helped him understand more about “his people.” His people… how cute is that? I asked him if he thought it was helpful to read the tips in a book written by experts instead of hearing his mom tell him things like he needs exercise, needs to eat a healthy diet, etc. He said that he took what the writers said seriously because “they seem to understand what it is like to have ADHD.” We are still sowing the seeds of self advocacy here, so I will be interested to see how he applies what he learned in this book.
My only complaint about the book is that there wasn’t enough information on the social consequences that can come about with ADHD. They definitely touched on the subject many times, and even offered tips on what to tell friends about accommodations and other issues, but I felt that there could have been more information on how to work with social situations.
The teen years are hard enough, and I can’t even imagine what that path feels like when a teen has ADHD. “Take Control of ADHD”
could be a valuable lifeline for a young person struggling to figure out how to navigate the rough territory of growing up in a world that doesn’t always understand what their disability is all about. If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can find it here:
I would love to hear your feedback on this book. Would you give it to your teen? What do you think is important for teens to know about ADHD?
Related posts: adhd and school, ADHD teenagers, BOOK REVIEWS, high school, homework, Kara Thompson, teenagers