shire, who work with special-needs students, give step-by-step
strategies to promote a teen’s independence by building executive skills—brain-based abilities needed to get organized, stay
focused, and control impulses. The book’s game plan—assessing
a teen’s executive skills, using drama- and conflict-free tips to bolster them, and knowing when to fade your supervision before he
rebels—is clear and motivational.
“Being motivated is not enough, though, because ADHD teens
genuinely do not know how to do what we want them to do,” say
Guare and Dawson. They need a plan to learn those vital details,
and the authors give you one that applies to all 11 executive skills:
Identify the problem behavior you want to work on, set a goal, establish a way to show progress, create a plan for achieving the goal,
capture the plan succinctly in a checklist, decide on a trial period,
get the plan up and running, review the plan, and revise it.
Parents should keep one thing in mind: Involve your teen at every step of the way. She’s too old to be told what to do—without
provoking serious blowback—and she’s old enough to bring good
ideas to the table.
Reviewed by ADDITUDE EDITORS.
One of my favorite authors and illustrators, Nancy Carlson, turns
her attention to paying attention in her latest picture book, This
Morning Sam Went to Mars. Grownups are always telling eight-year-old Sam that he needs to focus on schoolwork (or something)
instead of the stories he writes, the pictures he paints, and his cool
ideas for inventions and adventures.
Sam’s doctor explains that he has a powerful brain, and he
needs to take good care of it. Sam works hard to follow her advice.
He eats more super foods, learns to organize his homework, and
gets plenty of sleep. Soon, people don’t have to remind him to
focus as they did before. A note to parents at the end of the book
lists lots of good ideas for helping young children improve their
There’s no mention of ADD or ADHD in this book. Sam’s doctor
doesn’t rush to diagnose him or bring up the possibility of medication. Instead, the book focuses on lifestyle changes that are important to consider before a formal diagnosis of ADHD is made.
It seems appropriate for the four- to eight-year-old crowd, the
book’s intended audience. Kudos to Carlson for not reinforcing
the myth that parents and doctors rush to pathologize what may
be developmentally appropriate behavior, or to medicate kids.
Reviewed by KAY MARNER, a contributor to ADDitude.
This Morning Sam
Went to Mars:
A Book About
BY NANC Y CARLSON
(Free Spirit Publishing: $9.99)