ADHD: The Ongoing Controversy
No one will argue that ADHD is a long time subject of controversy. But some question whether it is really a disorder or just a collection of personality traits that may be undesirable. A few conservatives even see ADHD as being an attack on traditional masculine traits.
The online magazine, Slate
, recently published The ADHD-ventures of Tom Sawyer
, suggesting that today, Tom would have been diagnosed as having not only ADHD, but also Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). When Mark Twain wrote his books about Tom Sawyer, the boy’s behaviors were described quite differently than they would be today. Tom had a wandering mind, his heart ached to be free, he had to sit far away from the seductive outside summer scenes, he was unable to take responsibility for his own actions, he aggressively provoked his peers, he ignored rules, defied adults, he was dishonest, and skipped school.
No one described him as having ADHD.
For some critics, the label ADHD is merely an excuse for frustrated parents and teachers and overzealous doctors to medicate away a child's annoying behaviors. Other critics concede that ADHD exists, but believe it is vastly over diagnosed. ADHD and Education
, on the University of Michigan Web site, states one “controversy is that of teachers and schools wanting students to be on medication so that they are not a disruption in class.”
Does ADHD Exist?,
from the archives of Frontline, offers six different viewpoints about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Some opinions are from active opponents of ADHD and some are from true believers of the disorder. Reading these will give you a broader perspective.
In some circles, it is felt that ADHD may be a misdiagnosis. Instead of suffering from ADHD the child (especially a gifted child) may be expressing overexcitabilities as described by Polish psychiatrist and psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski. You can read more about overexciteabilities in Overexcitability and the Gifted
at the SENG Web site.
It is important for parents and teachers to understand that there is not a consensus about ADHD. Before jumping to any conclusions, those who work with young people should educate themselves thoroughly about the topic.
Prufrock Press Selected by "Publishers Weekly" as Small Publisher Standout
I'm very excited to announce that Prufrock Press was featured in the March 1 edition of Publishers Weekly as one of the nation's fast-growing small publishers. The recognition comes on the heels of 21% sales growth for the company from 2007-2009, attributable to Prufrock's aggressive development of new titles, a market-driven approach to publishing, and soon-to-be-released digital editions of our books.
Prufrock Press was one of only 11 small publishers featured in the industry news magazine's annual list of fast-growing small publishers. Publishers Weekly's Small Publisher Standouts list highlights independent presses in the United States who were exemplary in terms of growth in sales, number of new titles released, and number of employees.
A Commitment to Digital Books
I was very pleased that the article took the time to emphasize our exciting plans for growth in 2010. For example, Publishers Weekly's 2009 list focused on small publishers with the "ability to seize opportunities quickly." The article specifically noted Prufrock Press' commitment to digital editions. While other small presses have taken a wait-and-see approach to digital content, we are committed to offering our books in digital formats to our customers. By the end of the second quarter 2010, we will offer digital editions of most of our titles through our website and through all major ebook channels.
Expanded Categories of New Titles
In 2009, Prufrock Press released 35 new titles. In 2010, we plan on releasing 50! We plan on adding new subject categories such as ADHD, behavioral disorders, and strategies for inclusive classrooms to our already growing line of products for parents and teachers of students with learning disabilities. We also plan to grow our advanced learning and gifted education line with exciting new curriculum products, professional development resources, and college planning guides.
I want to thank all of our customers for their ongoing support and feedback. We simply couldn't have grown so fast without the continued loyalty of our customers.
Click here for more information about Prufrock Press' listing in Publishers Weekly's Small Publisher Standouts list.
Addressing Back-to-School Social Anxiety
Education.com just posted a great article on "Addressing Back-to-School Social Anxiety" with your children. From the article:
Many preteens and teens are less than enthusiastic about the prospect of returning to school in the fall. But how can parents know when anxiety about the social challenges of the new school year is more serious than normal back to school jitters?
Is your child just shy and introverted, or does she not want to return to school because she has social anxiety? Is it “just a phase” or does it constitute a disorder?
The article includes several important insights from Dr. Bonnie Zucker, the author of Prufrock Press' Anxiety-Free Kids: An Interactive Guide for Parents and Children. In the article, Dr. Zucker offers great tips for overcoming social anxiety and several suggestions for using the summer months as an opportunity for preteens and teens to work on their social skills.
Recently, the Washingtonian magazine named Dr. Zucker one of the top 10 therapists in Washington, D.C. I'm very proud to have her as one of our authors.
Anxiety-Free Kids - Helping Children with Anxiety Disorders (Podcast)
The topic of today's podcast is one that impacts many children, including those who are gifted. In this podcast we discuss the topic of helping children who suffer from anxiety disorders. Research shows that if left untreated, children with anxiety disorders are at higher risk to perform poorly in school, to have less-developed social skills, and to be more vulnerable to substance abuse.
When do a child’s anxieties cross the line from typical worries to an anxiety disorder, how do you know if your child suffers from anxiety, and what can you do to help?
To answer those questions, I've invited Dr. Bonnie Zucker to discuss this important topic with me. Dr. Zucker is a clinical psychologist who conducts therapy with children and families in both her private practice and at the National Center for Phobias, Anxieties, and Depression in Washington D.C.
Dr. Zucker is the author of Prufrock Press’ recently released, Anxiety-Free Kids: An Interactive Guide for Parents and Children.
Listen to the Podcast
Click here to listen to the podcast
(approximate length: 38 minutes)
Click here to listen to or subscribe* to this podcast in iTunes
(requires that you have iTunes installed on your computer)
* If you wish to be receive notifications when new podcasts are posted, you need to subscribe to Prufrock Press' "Gifted Education Podcast" in iTunes or subscribe to the "Podcasts" RSS feed in the left column of this blog (see "Categories/RSS"). Click here to read instructions on using RSS feeds.
ADHD—A Good Thing or a Bad Thing for Gifted Students?
Many gifted students have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
A New York Times
article, A New Face for A.D.H.D., and a Debate
, questions whether attention deficit is a good thing or a bad thing, giving experts a chance to thrash out the argument. The viewpoint that ADHD may be more blessing than curse has been brought to the forefront since the world learned that Michael Phelps, the Olympic superstar, was diagnosed in elementary school.
“Children with the disorder typically have trouble sitting still and paying attention," the author states. "But they may also have boundless energy and a laserlike focus on favorite things — qualities that could be very helpful in, say, an Olympic athlete.” Some doctors now pushing for a new view of the disorder that focuses on its potential strengths rather than solely on its challenges cite that, often, children with ADHD are highly creative.
If you do a search on “ADHD Famous People,” you will find long lists of historical figures who are thought to have had difficulty focusing coupled with very high energy. Of course the compilers of these lists can only have made assumptions that the people they included had the disorder.
Online Resources for Twice Exceptional Students
An oxymoron it is not—twice exceptional, 2e, GT/LD, gifted with learning disabilities—these are all labels given to people who are very bright, yet have learning difficulties. The phenomenon is much more common than most people realize.
There are online resources to help parents and teachers better understand and work with students who fit into this category.
: Lots of free articles and an online newsletter to which one can subscribe.
: Lists characteristics of children who are gifted but are visually impaired, hearing impaired, or have physical disabilities. Suggests strategies to use with students who are twice exceptional. The Web site also discusses savants, those with Asperger’s syndrome, and gifted students who suffer from depression.
: There are many resources, including articles and personal experiences of both parents and students. A long list of types of disabilities is presented with links to supporting information. Also included are treatments, training, and therapies to use with twice exceptional students. Numerous support groups and email lists are given.
Explore these resources for a better understanding of kids with learning difficulties and suggestions of ways to help them compensate, while taking advantage of their wonderful strengths.
PBS to Air Documentary on Asperger's Syndrome
PBS is scheduled to air a touching documentary about a man struggling with Asperger's syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder that renders him unable to read social cues and makes him prone to obsessions. Nicky Gottlieb was a child of extraordinary talents and odd behavior. Diagnosed at 20 with Asperger's syndrome, he is like a gifted child in a man's body. This sensitive and candid film by his sister chronicles his struggle to leave the shelter of his loving family.
In most areas the film will air on Tuesday, January 8 at 10 p.m. (EST). However, check your local listing. Click here to visit the PBS Independent Lens Web site for more information.