Two new books

Andrew Solomon's Far From the Tree: Chidren and the Search for Identity (Scribner, New York 2012) is an opus magnum of 900 pages which doesn't specifically cover ADHD/ADD but delves into the meaning (challenges and rewards) of raising children who are different (deaf, dwarfism, autism, severe retardation, criminality among others).  Each chapter on a specific disability could nearly a be a book on its own in terms of the depth and breadth of the material covered.  In the end Solomon's personal story and the stories of so many other families in this book extol a humanism that is uplifting. 


The ADHD Explosion: Myths, Medication, Money  and Today's Push for Performance by Stephen Hinshaw and Richard Scheffler (Oxford, New York, 2014) is the most recent best survey of the ADHD/medication "scene" to be published recently.  The authors truly see ADHD as a neurological isse but defined with different contexts as problems.  They bring full circle back to the academic mainstream thinking of ADHD as a biopsychosocial disorder (something I stated quite clearly sixteen years ago in Running on Ritalin).  It would have been nice to received a little bit of credit but that takes nothing away from the importance of this book as an up to date exploration of the ADHD phenomenon in America today.

Letter in the New York Times-6/3/11

Your article Re “Too Young for Kindergarten? Tide Turning Against 4-Year-Olds” (front page, May 28) doesn’t mention another implication in increasing the legal age of kindergarten entry: a decrease in the diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and the use of Ritalin-type drugs.

Several studies have shown higher rates of diagnosed A.D.H.D. in children who are not 5 by September of their year of entry to kindergarten. At fifth and eighth grade, these children are nearly twice as likely to be using a drug like Ritalin or Adderall compared with their older peers.

Many children, younger just by several months, are simply not ready developmentally to handle the increased academic demands of the last 20 years on kindergartners. This academic stress translates to increased agitation, inattention and hyperactivity, especially in boys.

California’s enlightened decision to add a state-supported pre-K transition year for 5-year-old children born after September should over time decrease the number of children taking psychiatric drugs.

Two New Books Worth Reading

Two books recently published should be of interest to visitors to this site. The first is Better Than Well: American Medicine Meets the American Dream, by Carl Elliott (WW Norton, 2003). The other book is Raising America: Experts, Parents and a Centruy of Advice About Children, by Ann Hulbert (Alfred A Knopf, 2003). Continue reading for brief reviews of both books.

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