There are so many that have ADHD and yet are misdiagnosed, often over medicated in order to subdue their over active impulses and actions that Beyond ADHD brings into focus, slows down the process of over medicating as the one solution, not taking different steps and getting opinions of those that really understand it and helping someone like our author move ahead with his/her life in a positive way. There are many valuable points and issues discussed at the author begins with his own journey and how finding Dr. Royer was problem the start of finding out what was really going on in his brain and how he needed to deal with have ADHD. Sharing with readers the medical, social, and numerous ways to handle living with ADHD it helped me to understand why my nephew has focusing issues, is so overactive and how I can help him more readily with his homework when he calls for assistance.
Many doctors over prescribe, quite to take the easiest route to diagnosing and prescribing for ADHD but included within this book are many other conditions, which I will list that seem to indentify with ADHD but are attributed to other disorders.
Decoding ADHD is at the heart of several chapters and talking about how people are wired with ADHD is included. Diagnosis is crucial but one of exclusion as I list some of the other disorders that can mask itself as ADHD: Anxiety, autism, vision problems and even allergies are just to name a few. The one area that interested me the most was Pharmaceuticals and ADHD since my nephew when he was seven or eight was put on Ritalin and the side effects were many and when he was not too tired he became wild and uncontrollable. There are numerous mental and behavioral concerns and sometimes I noticed when the guidance and psychologist teams in my school that they behaved one way when taking these drugs to suppress their hyperactivity diagnosed some of my students and when off the drugs totally different. The book reveals that often schools require students with ADHD to be placed on some type of pharmaceutical and that parents often comply to please the school so that teachers do not have to deal with this behavior. When diagnosing students in school they parents needs to take them to a qualified professional and not a fifteen or even twenty- minute assessment. Over diagnosing is discussed and done as stated at an alarming rate. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by 2003 the 100th anniversary of Dr. Still’s diagnosis of a patient for “defect of moral control,” now considered the historical genesis of the ADHD diagnosis, 7.8 percent of those under 18 in North America received the ADHD label.” Believe it or not by 2014 that numbered increased to 13 percent –a 60 percent increase. The author gives the explanation and asks the question: Are we growing more dependent on the meds that we accept of the diagnosis at face value, rather than diving deeper into what troubles and concerns us as kids? Chapter 6 focuses on the important issue of why personal history matters in diagnosing followed by the larger problem of misdiagnosing and the reasons given at the close of the chapter as a huge list of symptoms or traits can be often thought to be ADHD: pages 79-80 lists them all.
Sharing his own history of when and how he was diagnosed and his years becoming an ADHD advocate the author is definitely more than qualified to help parents, teachers, doctors and other professionals understand ADHD. Sharing his own testing and allowing us into the testing room with those involved and hearing Dr.Royer’s assessment helps readers and this reviewer understand ADHD and the importance of proper diagnosing. Ritalin is one drug and Adderall is another given. Even people with PTSD, vitamin B deficiencies or low blood sugar are diagnosed as ADHD. Where to go from here, as the chapter titled New Ways Working with ADHD is enlightening and a great place to begin. But, first the questions at the bottom of the first page of this chapter: How do children exhibit ADHD symptoms that require strong prescriptions when they are three years old? Do doctors consider the changes to the brain that occur from taking these stimulants? Do health care providers consider the individual gifts, talents, quirks, and personality traits of the people they diagnose- and other ways in which their energy can be channeled and attention better focused? These are just two of the four questions that need to be addressed before parents can deal with their child’s diagnosis.
New approaches are discussed like EEG Biofeedback, spending time outside, exercise, more engaging activities, behavioral therapy and even Yoga. Chapter 15 talks about collaborative diagnosing care and there is a chapter on diet and nutrition asking does diet reflect mood, eating a balanced diet and the importance of water. I think the chapter dealing with how to shake off the label is the one that is most compelling as the author reminds us of how his approach to the label began differently than most and that he wanted to know as much about the diagnosis as possible and not just as he stated from the doctor treating him. Social media helped him connect with the ADHD community, doctors, parents, educators and talk about the disorder. This chapter is filled with ways to shake off the label and the last chapter focuses on the world beyond ADHD AND THE NEED FOR AN OVERHAUL.
As an educator I can understand the need for education systems to be changed and evolve in new ways rather than special needs labeling and adding unnecessary stigma to diagnoses and lives. More educational options for families that work toward a strengths focused approach while teaching the basic fundamentals needed for self-stability and efficiency in society and life.
Paying more attention to nutrition, address technology and fractured focus, bring back exercise and creative outlets and even slowing down are just some of the important changes that need to be addressed and added to helping children and adults deal with ADHD in a more positive way. With a nephew with ADHD I learned a lot about misdiagnosis and I hope that by reading and rereading different chapters and really understanding was his parents can help him focus and learn to ignore the label and soar this is one book that I feel should be on every doctor’s bookshelf, guidance counselor and school SBST team, educational evaluators, parents that have children with ADHD and young adults wanting to understand ADHD better if they are diagnosed. Authors Jeff Emmerson and Robert Yehling present the information in such a way that the reader feels he/she is taking the journey along with Jeff and is experiencing it first hand as you feel he is talking to you, the individual reader.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine