National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Book Review: Taking Charge of ADHD
By Sara Battista, NAMI Communications Intern
Taking Charge of ADHD: The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents
By Russell A. Barkley
Written by leading ADHD authority Dr. Russel Barkley, Taking Charge of ADHD: The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents combines everything parents need to know about raising a child with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) into one comprehensive book. From current research, to effective behavioral management strategies, to treatment recommendations, this book is a must-have tool for parents seeking expert guidance on how to help their child cope with the challenges of ADHD.
Taking Charge of ADHD is divided into four parts, each dedicated to empowering parents with a different set of tools they will need to manage their child’s ADHD. Part I aims to inform parents, providing a valuable synthesis of the most current research, along with the subsequent treatment implications. Here parents can find what to expect from children living with ADHD, how the disorder develops over time, and why their child has trouble self-regulating. Once parents gain a deeper understanding of the nature of the disorder, parents are offered guidance on how to prepare for future challenges in part II. Part II also includes advice on how to seek evaluation, handle the diagnosis, and cope with the daily stress of raising a child with ADHD. Also included is Barkley’s list of strategies for managing children with ADHD, as he clearly outlines in his 14 guiding principles.
Part III focusses more on helping the child succeed. This section explains to parents how they can aid their child in overcoming social, academic, and behavioral difficulties. Dr. Barkley describes successful methods for consistent behavior management through the use of techniques that minimize frustration. Implementing the tools offered in this section will also help children develop problem solving skills that will ease their daily routine both in school and at home. Finally, Part IV switches gears, giving an overview on different medications used to treat the symptoms of ADHD. The last section provides valuable clarity on a method of managing ADHD that has become somewhat controversial, addressing the myths, potential side effects, and different forms of ADHD medication.
Parents will benefit from reading Taking Charge of ADHD as they explore the most effective ways to make sense of their child’s symptoms. This book answers critical questions about how to get an accurate diagnosis, gain support from school and health care professionals, and use parenting techniques that promote good behavior. All of these tools will help alleviate parental stress while strengthening children’s academic and social skills. Dr. Barkley hopes that the guidance offered in his book will empower parents to effectively manage their child’s ADHD, ultimately restoring a sense of harmony at home.