Blake Taylor

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/23/art.taylor.jpg caption=”Blake Taylor, 18, is the author of ‘ADHD & Me: What I Learned from Lighting Fires at the Dinner Table.'”]
Yes, he set fire to the dinner table with contact lens solution. Yes, he stayed in on the weekends because he had no friends. Yes, he had to clean the urinals as punishment for acting out in class. But Blake Taylor is done being punished and finally ready to proudly say to the world, “Yes, I have ADHD.”

According to the CDC, 4.7 million Americans 18 or under have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Now 18, Taylor is the youngest person to write a memoir about living with it. He says his book, “ADHD & Me,” is the guidebook he never had growing up – a way to deal with the daily struggles from someone who has actually been there and not just studied the disorder.

Taylor is now a freshman molecular biology major at the University of California, Berkeley, where his book is used in the curriculum. Professors tout it because it’s the first time academia and the general public can see the once-taboo disorder being tackled with candor, since diagnosis only really started to spike in the 1990s. Through anecdotes about taking tests and dealing with tics, Taylor aims to tackle the often-stigmatized side effects of the disorder, which if left untreated, he says, only worsen when someone gets older. “You wouldn’t want to set fire to a table ever, but especially not when you’re 30, right?”

Update: Watch the CNN.com Live interview

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210 Responses to Blake Taylor

  1. Donna says:

    Blake,
    As the parent of a 15 year old boy with ADHD and Tourette’s Syndrome (very mild tics), I wish I could get inside his head to figure out what and how he thinks on a daily basis. Having been diagnosed a year ago he is still in denial, doesn’t think medication helps, has daily troubles at school, is irratable and rude and we are at a loss on how to help him until he wants to help himself. I would love to have him read your book hoping that he could relate to someone having gone through similar issues. Do you think even if he reads the book he is at an age to actually accept what you’ve written and maybe consider using some of the ways you suggest to deal with day to day struggles? He’s a smart kid and it kills me to not be able to get through to him to try and help himself.
    I think its great you wrote a book on this topic. I hope it does well.
    Thank you, Donna

  2. Mr. Happy Crappy says:

    I love that guy is a stud. Rock on man.

  3. Samantha says:

    I have a son who is 8yrs old and has been diagnosed with ADHD. He has had difficulties similar to those described here – getting in trouble, having problems controlling his impulses. I finally decided to put him on medication hoping to enable him to succeed at school. He is an “A” student, but lacks friends due to his immaturity. I hope to find a copy of this book to help me with my son. He really is a sweet, obedient and faithful boy . . . others just have a harder time seeing that.

  4. Dawn McCarroll says:

    Way to go Blake! I am 37 years old single Mother of a six year old named Sam. He has been diagnosed with ADHD in the past year and are on our way to managing his condition. Although Sam hasn’t set the table on fire he has had many adventures in impulsive behavior and hyperactivity.

    I’ve been able to understand him more so than the general population since I can remember doing the same sorts of creative and intelligent mis-behaviors (it is an inherited condition). I have gotten a copy of your book and sent it to my Mom since she seems to think that I am selling Sam out by letting the pediatrician and child psychologist help me help him with his ADHD. I can tell you from experience that writing ten thousand punish lines and being punished weeks at a time in my room did nothing to curb those impulsive ideas or speaking a mile a minute in the most unopportune moments.

    There is a whole generation of kids that will thank you for giving the rest of the population a window to look through. On behalf of me and Sam I thank you!!

    Sincerely,

    Dawn E. McCarroll

  5. ADHD Mom says:

    I’m glad a book has been written from a teen perspective; now get an ADHD girl to do the same! Girls and boys DO NOT share similar ADHD gifts or demons. I think it would be wonderful for either gender to read a peer’s story, however.

    I didn’t know I had ADHD until 3 of the doctors working on diagnosing my then 8 year old son said it was clear he got it from me. So, I decided to get tested too, and yes, I am ADHD. As I’ve since learned, I was a fairly typical girl with ADHD- intelligent but apparently not “working to potential” , a little too chatty, but more inclined to get lost in my own little dream world. I was never in trouble but I know I frustrated the crap out of teachers with erractic academic performance.

  6. Kim says:

    at 42 I have lived with ADHD all my life, it was very hard in school when no one knew about it and I was female anyway so doubtful they would have figured I had it. My teachers used to make me sit on my hands in class or leave the room entirely and go to the library. I got in tons of trouble in school and was always acting impulsively. I never had any friends and I was often depressed because no one seems to like me and I did not know why. When i got treated as an adult my whole world opened up for me and I graduated with high honors form college and I am now a very successful analyst with the US military. I have two sons with ADHD and my father also had it. I advise parents not to wait if they think thier kids have adhd– get them tested BEFORE they start school. My sons are both gifted btw but it took medical treatment to bring out the talents they had all along but were too distracted to discover on thier own.

  7. Melissa Sodetani says:

    Blake,

    Thank you for sharing your life of living with ADHD to America. My little brother (11) and sister (7) have ADHD, and I’m looking forward to reading your book so that I can better relate to the lense that they experience life through.

    Good luck at Berkeley!
    Melissa

  8. Hopie says:

    People with ADHD have a harder life…😦 !
    Im not going to take everything i live for granted!
    ~HoPeLeSs~

  9. L.A. says:

    As an adult living with (and having grown up with) ADHD, this is very encouraging. Unfortunately, too much of the literature on ADHD comes from those on the outside, and seeing a book written with an inside perspective on what we go through, especially from someone younger, is very exciting.

    Having fought many small battles with ADHD, and finally learning to manage it in my own way, I would like to congratulate Blake on having the courage and foresight to write this. And as someone who lives a succesful and happy life (I’m a federal law enforcement agent), I would like to say that no matter how tough it can be sometimes, life with ADHD can be very rewarding. Although our different way of seeing and doing things can be frustrating in doing some ordinary tasks, it also gives us extraordinary abilities in other areas.

    Good luck, and thanks for writing this.

  10. Kris says:

    If you notice, most ADHD cases are young boys. I was diagnosed with ADHD, I turned out fine. this gentleman seems to be doing just fine also. It would require attention to write a memoir not to mention study molecular biology. ADHD is way over diagnosed. I’m not saying the people on here don’t have it, but I am saying that it is unlikely.

    When a teacher told my mom to put me on medicine my mother took me to a doctor just to see. He diagnosed me with ADHD and my mom laughed and said to both the doctor and teacher “Why, because he’s being a young boy? Young boys run around and play with frogs, it’s what they do. So please excuse my 5 year old son for not sitting quietly sedated while he does his math. As interesting as it might be, he would rather be playing, talking and running around.”

    The teacher said something to the effect of “we’ll see how far he gets in life.” Well, here’s an update, which I went back to the school and let the teacher know: I’m 21 years old, I own a house and a car. I’m in my third year of college working towards a bachelors in Electrical Engineering and planning on a doctorate. I have zero debt other than my house and car. I maintain a 3.9 GPA along with working full time, and I have a fiancee with whom I’ve been dating for three years. I have retirement savings not to mention 8 months worth of bills in an emergency savings and I’m paid well ahead on all of my bills. Not too bad for someone diagnosed with ADHD?

    I have a couple of friends that were in similar situations. Some took the medicine and became very zombie-like, others didn’t take the medicine. Not everyone came out exactly like me, but that’s the nature of life. Kids just do dumb things sometimes, it’s part of growing and learning. They want to see what happens if… This doesn’t mean they have ADHD, it means they are inquisitive, or they’re not interested on other things going on around them. How often we’ve opressed people for doing things outside of the box.

    I rue the day that children are diagnosed with ADHD out of the womb because they can’t do differential equations. If we keep perpetuating this overdiagnosing problem that’s where we’ll end up. Then when we are unable to produce tears because of our chronic dry eye syndrome we can get a prescription for cyclosporine, then after we leave the hospital, to deal with our outdoor allergies we will take some Ceterizine HCI, and before we get into our car we can take some Benzo-diazepines to fight our anxiety about driving, and in order to combat the drowsiness of Benzo-diazepines, we can take some caffeine pills, and so on.

  11. ADD Nurse says:

    I am 53 and was only finally diagnosed with ADD in recent years. What an eye opener! After dozens of frustrating years as an adult of being diagnosed with a variety of mental health disorders and desperately undergoing treatments that naturally didn’t work because they didn’t address the real problem – I so, so sympathize with children who go undiagnosed correctly and lack the independent resources I had to get the correct diagnosis and treatment. The assault ADD makes on a person’s self-esteem is undescribable and increasingly difficult to reverse as the years march on, especially after so many personal and social failures have accumulated as a result of ADD. There are many useful books written by and for adults with ADD, so I say hooray for this young man with the courage and – for someone with ADD – the amazing focus to finally write such a guidebook for those under 18.

  12. Amy V. Haas, BCCE says:

    Interestingly enough my 18 yr. old son just wrote an essay on his struggles with ADHD, and his success in managing it without drugs.
    I think we could all learn a lot from him as well!

    When told that my son would not succeed without drugs, I did my research, and took the time to figure out how to help him learn the skills he would need for life. We insisted on having him assessed for learning disabilities. It turned out he has a processing disorder in language, and a learning disability in reading. By employing behavior modification techniques, having an IEP, a great resource room teacher, and taking the attitude that paying attention is a skill that needs to be practiced, he has succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. You can do it, but you need to be your child’s advocate and do your homework. Don’t just accept the automatic diagnosis, and attitude from the teachers and doctors. I highly recommend Dr. Thomas Armstrong’s book “The Myth of the ADD Child”.

  13. Scott says:

    ADHD…what a terrible diagnosis, and by that I mean it should not be made. These kids are overactive there is nothing wrong with that. Why do we medicate everything in this country. If you are just outside what society’s normal is than we feel like we need to change you and typically not by talking about it. Instead we say “here’s a pill…you’ll be more like the rest of us miserable people tomorrow” What a great idea! Let people be themselves. Let people live the lives they want. We don’t want people taking illegal “mind-altering” drugs so why do we prescribe so many legal “mind altering” drugs!

  14. Pam says:

    My nephew who is 13 has ADHD and has a real difficult time making friends. Social interactions are difficult and I believe he may be bullied at school. What advice can you give that would improve his social skills and help him to bolster his self esteem?

  15. Amy Gilbert says:

    Way to go!!! We have a son, who is 11, and he has struggled. His sister is 15 and has never struggled with school. That has made it even harder for him and for us. His issue is more ADD (without the hyperactivity). He is now on a Daytrana patch and is doing much better, but is still not where we want him to be academically. We are trying to be patient and we are helping him as much as we can, I take 80 mg of Strattera everyday and can’t even begin to tell you what a difference it has made in my life. I wish that I had been able to get help at a younger age. Thanks for telling your side of the story!

  16. Jan C. Detmar says:

    Where do I buy the book????!!!! I am the grandmother of a 14 year old ADHD wonderful boy who has struggled so educationally and otherwise until he (thankfully) found the Cottage School in Atlanta. I know this experience has saved this young man’s life. I look forward to reading your book and good for you for writing the book to help others!

  17. amy mason says:

    we have a forter child seven years old ,he has a d h d he does things that are inaproperate , he doesnt know why he does these things.i can only wonder what this will do to the rest of his life.

  18. Angela says:

    When you sit in a classroom, how much of your time is spent really listening to what the teacher is saying. In other words, how often does you mind drift away from what is being taught and how do you get it back on track? What techniques do you use to stay focused.
    Thanks,

  19. Debbie says:

    I also have a freshman in college who was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of four. We had many trials through elementary and junior high – but we’ve made it – he was accepted at two different colleges (only applied to two). Thank you for writing a tale of your ADHD adventures (as I prefer to call them). There is a definite lack of knowledge about the condition. I had one junior high teacher – after giving my son three detentions in three days, tell me it had nothing to do with a medication adjustment – it was just my son’s disruptive behavior????? She had no clue about ADHD – even after the counselor and I explained it – she still was non-responsive.
    Thank you for sharing your life!

  20. Renee says:

    Bravo to you Blake! You are an inspiration to all kids with ADD! My son too has ADD, and struggles each day. I feel it is the parents who are the best advocate for children with this disorder. They are the ones who have the patience each and every day to keep these kids afloat.
    It is sad that we parents have to fight with educators to make them see that ADD is REAL!
    A few years ago, my son’s 6th grade teacher,(who’s husband is a pediatrician), told me my son will never make it in the next year’s class. She didn’t believe in IEP’s, and told me that IEP’s aren’t fair to the ‘other kids in the class”. My son is now in a college-prep high school, making the honor roll!
    Unfortunately, there are alot of ignorant people out there, who are still very ‘old fashion’ about teaching, or else they just don’t believe that ADD is a real thing.
    Blake, you will help open doors for children who are in the same boat as you, and hopefully, open the eyes and ears of people who are very closed minded to this disorder.
    Thank you Blake, your book will certainly help many!

  21. Liz says:

    I have finally become willing to try ADD drugs on my son when I realized that the condition was doing a number on his self-esteem. Since I have tried the drug, he has become different, and paranoid. The doctor says to try a new type. I am very torn on whether to continue trying different brand of drugs. I find his normal, quirky qualities (without meds) very endearing because I love him so much, but I know the world doesn’t accept him this way and tells him he is weird. Do successful ADD people do the drugs or not? What is your experience with them? Do you think they are the way to go? My child has a very high IQ, but is not doing well in school (7th grade) and just isn’t happy.

  22. John says:

    Blake
    Thanks for the book – we’ll be sure and find it.

    My 13 y.o son has ADHD. One of the hardest things for my wife and I to see is the alienation that seems to occur as a reult of behavior. Lack of friends, alienation by his peers and tangible scorn by some of his teachers. We’ve had coaching sessions with his teachers so this year we think we have a good group who are understanding, encouraging and are working with him better than in the past.

    I have a question for you though – is there anything you’d suggest to parents to help our son increase his ability to make friends. We hear stories about real alienation by his peers due to some of our son’s in classroom conduct, acting out etc.

    It’s hard to watch that but I’m not sure what we can do. We’ve tried having sleepovers with a couple friends he’s told us about, but, there’s little follow up later let alone reciprocation.

    He’s a sweet sensitive young man at heart, but his behavior prevents some people from seeing through …

    Thank you.

  23. Jeff says:

    I am a 24 year old with ADHD and if it wasn’t for those in the education system who took the extra time for me to learn, I wouldn’t be where I am today. With unrelenting determination I graduated with a bachelors in Business on the Dean’s List and now work as an executive for a major media company. Not bad for anyone at age 24.

  24. Carrie says:

    Kris –
    I denied ADD/ADHD existed, too. I was diagnosed with ADD as a 13 year old. I thought it was a bunch of psycho-babble and refused to take ritalin. Even though the ritalin wasn’t the best solution for me, I have come to realize that so much of my difficulties in life had something to do with this ADD thing. Hindsight was 20/20 for me.

    This ‘disorder’ is real. It’s so much more than being hyper or easily distracted. It has to do with impulse control, interpersonal relationships, social interactions, and simply just how the person’s brain works.

    Since I didn’t doubted its validity, I resisted help. In addition, there was not nearly the amount of information available in the early 80’s (when I was diagnosed). As others have stated here, ADD/ADHD is different for girls. It is often missed because girls often don’t display the hyperactivity. I was a perfect example of this. Teachers didn’t know whether to place me in gifted programs or to offer learning disability help. I daydreamed, I didn’t get along with other students (was a complete social outcast), lost assignments, had the messiest desk, performed brilliantly on some tasks while failing miserably at others, and blurted out bizarre comments. Life would have been SO MUCH easier if i had known about other people like me and how they coped.

    Just because ADD/ADHD has been misdiagnosed (I suspect in Kris’ case) for some children and mismanaged (‘doping’ kids up) doesn’t make it less real for those dealing with it. Medication has helped some people cope and overcome, as well. One of the most frustrating things about having ADD has been that people don’t believe it even exists. Believe me, as much as I didn’t want to believe it existed, it is very real.

    I look forward to reading Taylor’s book.

  25. mamapeter says:

    I leaped in my seat to see a young man write of his own experiences with this disorder! Good for you, Blake! I will be tracking down your book. My son is 18, finishing high school, successful but oh, it’s been an interesting road! He is ADD, not hyperactive. But he cannot sit still on the inside. He is intelligent, creative, full of life. And yes, he takes medication, a non-stimulant type. In the next year or two, we hope to go it without that, see how it goes. I am not convinced it’s a must, but we will see.

    ADD/ADHD presents itself differently in different people. Just as no two people are the same, neither are two people with any condition identical. The disorder is real, and help is needed. Each person needs the help they need, not just the same as someone else. Parenting requires parents to know their kids, and get them the specific help they need. And a whole heck of a lot of perseverence to find what that is. We avoided medication for quite awhile, we saw several doctors, and I read a lot. It’s a maze of information with a whole lot of opinions and biases.

    Bottom line for us: let’s help our son see success, know he is a person of value, able to go forward with the challenges of life. We have gotten him help and now it’s time for him to take the challenge himself.

    Thanks for your book, Blake. All the best to you!

  26. John says:

    I am 36 years old and grew up before ADHD was a disorder. As a young boy doctors suggested putting me on medicine but my parents refused. If you read all of the comments above all of the kids are very smart. The reason they are acting out is they are bored. They finish their work first and they get in trouble when they do not ahve anything to do. I set the dog house on fire and nearly killed myself as a 6 year old boy. Why, because it was fun to play with a lighter. My parents did not run to the doctor and ask him if I shoudl start taking drugs the tore my tail up.

    I have a five year old little boy that is smart and very active and I am teaching him that there are consequences for his actions. He decided to build a wall in his room the other night and removed everything out of his closet and stacked it across the middle of his room. He thought it was funny and we thought it was ingenious to come up with stuff to build. But, he had to put it all back before he was allowed to do anything else.

    When you take these young kids and teach them that when they have a problem they can go get drugs to fix the problem what do you think they are going to do when they grow up. They will be a DRUG ADDICT.

    Discipline and rules is what it takes and not drugs. you take a child that was raised with the understanding that drugs fix all of your problems and you do not have to learn to deal with the things that life throws your way and then they become an “adult”, 18, and they get their drugs removed they start killing people and cannot help it.

  27. Naheed Nasrin says:

    My son is in second grade and has been diagnosed with ADHD. I would like to ask you, how you feel living with this disorder and how it has impacted your life positively or negatively?

  28. Warren's Mom says:

    Blake,

    You rock! My soon to be 12 year old son has ADHD, and so far, the emphasis is only on the Distraction. I am look forward to reading about your experiences, and sharing your story with my son.

    Good luck in your studies. Your parents must be so proud of you (I am, and I don’t even know you!)

  29. liana b. galligan says:

    QUESTION: DO YOU TAKE ANY MEDICATION FOR ADHD? WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ABOUT MEDICATION & SIDE EFFECTS?

  30. Warren's Mom says:

    Blake,

    You rock!

    My soon to be 12 year old son was diagnosed with ADHD (emphasis on the Distraction so far) in 4th grade. I can’t wait to share your story with him.

    Good luck in your studies, your parents must be so proud of you (I am and I don’t even know you!)

  31. David says:

    I am 40yrs old. I have a son 9. Thank you Blake for your work. I didn’t find out until I was thru college that I had ADHD. A living hell for 20 years. My parents were told early on that their child needed to be checked out. Something was definitely wrong! My parents disagreed and suggested that it was the “not their child” but the teacher that had a problem. Little plug here for the teachers…can you imagine having 15-20 of us rugrats with ADHD. Educators need to be compensated in comparison to their value to our society. They spend more time than some of us do with OUR own kids.

    I’d like to add that for parents with children of ADHD please please please be patient with your child. Get him/her help. If you don’t have it yourself you have no idea…NO IDEA…what that kid is going through. ADHD still haunts me today. I feel I have underachieved greatly. I have been on and off medication trying to control this stupid thing on my own. Funny irony is I go days lost in space when I’m on meds and realize I have something that will help me focus. My wife bought me a pill organizer to help Dad and son to remember to take their meds.

    I still have my life ahead of me and I’m not going to let this thing beat me. It’s a good thing that people with ADHD are so bright. I don’t know what I would have done without my persistence.

  32. Brian says:

    ADHD, what a joke. What about the people who have had to live with this “disease” before it was even being diagnosed. People with ADHD should not be drugged so that they can live their life through a haze. They should be allowed to live their lives and then maybe one of us will become the next Bill Gates, or be able to find a way to fix our environment, or our economy, or one of the other million things that are ruining our world.

  33. David Myers says:

    I must echo the sentiments of Kris. I too was diagnosed with ADD as a child and my mother would not have it. She would not drug her child, thank God. I acted out in a million different ways, setting fires, breaking things, etc. etc. I never achieved properly in school, but I always scored in the 90th percentile on tests. Ultimately, I learned to channel my energy into constructive things. I am now happy in my life, married, and well adjusted. I think that ADD/ADHD is real, but so over-diagnosed that we are drugging our little boys into oblivion. I ask every parent with an ADD/ADHD diagnosis to PLEASE consider alternatives like structured activity (sports, boy/girl scouts, etc.) before jumping to the drugs. In some cases there may be no other choice, but without definitive medical tests to diagnose, it is just your doctor’s opinion, and he or she is not infallible.

  34. Cecilia says:

    Blake,

    Good For You! You don’t seem to let having ADHD get in your way of succeeding in life. What I hope to learn from your book is how to pass that determination down to my son, who is almost 11, and has ADHD. Medication helps him enormously. For people who believe that this condition should not be treated with medication, I say you have to do what is best for your child and your situation in life. We have had many misadventures because our son cannot control his impulses, including a trip to the ER. I don’t think anyone wants the Stepford Child–I just want him to be able to function in the world, with as few ER visits as possible!

    Good luck, Blake! Thank you for this book. I will purchase it as soon as I can find it!

  35. KayP says:

    As an educator with 30 years of experience, I know that a teacher can make or break a child’s spirit, especially when that child has “issues” with behavior. What are some specific things that teachers did to help you succeed? On the flip side of that, what did teachers do that made things worse?
    Parents who need resources to help their children understand what ADHD is should check out Free Spirit Publishing. Their book “The Survival Guide for Kids with ADD or ADHD” is an excellent resource for kids. Its a practical, kid-friendly book that helps them learn how to cope with the frustrations of these disorders.

  36. Brian says:

    When I grew up, ADHD was just called being a kid. Forcing our children to live life in a drug-induced haze only ruins the future for all of us. Maybe today’s parents should actually disapline their children instead of giving them medication or a “time out”.

  37. Belinda says:

    Blake,
    my brother has ADHD, but it’s really hard to control him he’s not on any medicine and it’s really hard for my parents to get him back on track.. I’m glad you wrote this book i will defently share it with my brother..

    Thank you so much

  38. Kevin says:

    I laughed out liud when I read this. I will definitely go out and read this book. It’s funny, people seem to think that when you have ADHD, youo cannot succeed in life. That is far from the truth. I am 20 years old and heading to medical school, but I have struggled with ADHD my whole life. I have taken many medications and tried several ways to force myself to concentrate. ADHD does not lower your intelligence, but it can affect your abbility to concentrate. People fail to realize that these are two very seperate things. I can remember having my mouth taped shut in fourth grade because I just HAD to talk to the kid next to me. Despite my struggles, I was able to graduate second in my class in high school

    To Kris: Congratulations, you seem to have done well in life. Perhaps you do or do not have ADHD. It is tough to say because it is overdiagnosed. Only you can say whether you actually suffer from it. Unfortuantely, your ignorance to the reality of ADHD is exactly the reason why a teacher taped my mouth shut or why countless kids are told they will go nowhere in life. I will be the first to admit that children and teens need to eventually learn about their struggles and take resposibility for their actions, because it is not OK to continuosly disrupt class or eventually a job site. The reality of ADHD, however, makes it clear that adults and educators need to take a little extra time to give these kids the attention they need to learn to cope with their set back.

  39. David says:

    Brian – you have no clue. It’s not about discipline. All the discipline in the world didn’t stop my impulses. It’s a chemical imbalance in the body. Medication when taken has helped me tremendously and has helped my son to go from space cadet to a straight A student. I realize that not everyone is the same but for this Father and Son it has made life a lot more enjoyable.

  40. KimS says:

    What an accomplishment! COngratulations Blake! As a mother of a 15 year old son who was diagnosed by a very loving, and observant teacher in second grade, I know the many many hurdles you’ve faced in your quest. This teacher by the way is listed on his grade schools marquee outside as TEACHER OF THE YEAR!!! I can tell you as a parent that ADHD is not a joke, and that I’ve tried everything from changinig schools, to requesting different classes to special education services. The only thing that’s working for us right now is medication. Its not what I prefer but it gives him some control over his impulses, and it gives me some peace of mind. I will be sure to show him this article of your accomplishments! My prayer is that he too will one day be able to write or share his story of what this ordeal does to not only the patient but to the family as a whole. I love my son unconditionally, and whatever a medical professional suggestions that doesn’t kill him, can only help him. Its worked for us.

  41. Gloria says:

    Blake, I was so excited to see this story. My 9 year old son has ADD and correlating behavior problems due to impulsiveness. He has done remarkable well in the past year because of great teachers and the right medications, but I know it will be a lifelong struggle. I am going to run out and get your book for him. You are an inspiration. Thank you.

  42. Tommy says:

    I can understand why some people think ADHD is made up. It makes sense to write it off as bad parenting or lack of self-discipline, but I can say firsthand that it really extends far beyond that. There was a commercial for some drug treatment that showed a woman at a meeting, and her mind flipped through thoughts like rapidly changing radio stations, and that’s one of the best examples (albeit exaggerated) that I’ve seen regarding the thought patterns of ADHD. I agree that proper diet and exercise can reduce the extent of symptoms, as well as good parenting, which means promoting understanding of the condition. Do NOT let your child think that they can use ADHD as a cop-out for poor grades, but rather work with them to see what situations they function best in. I’m not sure what say about behavior, to be honest. When I was a teenager I couldn’t be stopped. I still have the symptoms of complete lack of focus, but I’ve learned to restrain my spontaneous behavior. And adderall helps. I know that it “helps” anybody who takes it, but if you could understand the stark contrast between my cognitive function with it and without it, you’d understand why people medicate. It is a powerful drug, though, and I’ve seen it become a source of depression for those who feel like they depend on a pill to function on the same level as others, which is why it makes me nervous to see children prescribed at such a young age. I’ve been taking it since I was around 17, I’m 21 now, and I never took it daily because aside from its gloriously potent focus-enhancing effects, it is a stimulant and carries a lot of side-effects, and I only took the relatively low dose of 15mg. I’ve seen my friends’ little siblings at doses of 30mg and higher, which is very worrying. Anyways, I thought I would just share some perspective as somebody with ADHD. I’m sick of people unfamiliar with it writing it off because they’re ill-informed.

  43. Terri says:

    ADD and ADHD are real. I can’t help but think they are cousins to autism. so why is there so much of it?

    My ADD son struggled with the educational system his whole life but is doing just fine in the work world and socially because he/we focused on his strengths (and superior intelligence which these folks often have) and social skills and had some help from a great counselor.

    Teachers and administrators are cut from a mold (personality preference) that tends toward routine, methodical, and more rigid behavior. Therefore they run schools that way (put your papers in a notebook, keep a daily journal, use note cards) which means trouble for any of the students who are not wired like that.

    Schools and colleges SAY they accomodate but they DONT. They basically treat these students as problems and therefore school is hell for ADD and ADHD kids. I am so happy my son actually survived with his self esteem still in tact.

  44. Stonebridge143 says:

    In 1984, my son was 3 years old when he was diagnosed with ADHD and was put on Ritalin. He started out on 10mg a day and increased to 60mg (Federal Legal Limit) a day over the next 15 years. YES…15 years he was on this drug.

    He was one of those true Ritalin kids. We strongly believe that Ritalin was a god send for him. He was a good student and active in football, basketball and bowling. He was well liked and had lots of good friends…as long as he took his medication. For 15 years, I had to fight the school system in metro Atlanta, GA about their lack of information of the condition and the effectiveness of Ritalin for 15 years. There was a School Administrator tell him that he needs to make sure and take his “Good Boy” pill everyday so he can stay in school. Needless to say…she’s no longer in the school system. In high school, one of his advisor who was doing her thesis on ADHD for her doctorate, tried to direct him toward a Vocational Program instead of a College Prep and we never knew it until he was setting up his classes for his junior year. He had to go to summer school that summer and the following summer to make up for her mistake. She too is not longer in the school system. Nevertheless, he graduated with a 3.6 GPA and 5 more credits then required.

    I won’t tell you he hasn’t had problems with tics, insomnia and other health issues, but all in all, he’s pretty healthy. His biggest complaint is that his hair started turning gray at 18.

  45. Kerri Pruitt says:

    Question for Taylor:
    Do you or your parents have any special techniques I can try with my daughter to help her prepare for testing and memory recall? My daughter is 8 and takes Concerta. She has a very hard time with retention that stems from the AD part of her disorder. She just can’t recall the answer to 4×8…she has to hand write the problem to get the answer. Math is the hardest for her. The CRCT is coming up which is a timed test and she needs to memorize answers instead of hand figuring which cuts her time drastically. She has failed the pre-testing because she has to hand figure these problems. It’s very sad when she makes A’s and B’s all through the year, knows the work, how to get the answers – but this one test determines if she goes on to 4th grade simply because of the time issue and not the knowledge she has of the work. It’s very dishearting for her and me. I’m ready to try anything to help her.

  46. ~Lynn~ says:

    My daughter is in Jr. High, and has ADHD & Dyslexia. She has been on medication since 1st grade for school. She is NOT hyper, or a discipline problem. Just impulsive. She has been tested many times by the school, no learning disabilities were found.

    She struggles in math, reading, spelling, & writing. She has no social life, & no friends. She sometimes is a bit chatty off the meds. On the meds, she is not her “happy” perky self.

    However, the meds appear to help her in school. She is unable to pass the TAKS, quizzes, & most tests. She is able to maintain A’s, B’s, & C’s in her classes with alot of hard work, & modifications. Her teachers all say she works very hard, is quiet, and always finishes first.

    It’s heart breaking to see your child be friendless, and to be unable to master tests, no matter how hard she works. No matter how much tutoring, summer schooling, and one-on-one she gets, she can NOT pass the TAKS testing. If she studies 4 nights in a row for hours, she can pass a class test.

    I hate medicating her, but it helps her concentrate & write better. I’m afraid that she will end up with the wrong group, or doing the wrong things just to gain acceptance. She wants friends so desperately, but is unable to keep them.

    Questions: How can she have a social life, friends, and master tests? What else will help her? How can she keep her self confidence? What else can I do to help her?

  47. Zach's mom says:

    My son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was in third grade – he now is in fifth grade. We thank God for his teacher for suggesting to us that he might be ADHD. He was struggling in math, talking and being disruptive in class. She even thought that he seemed depressed. We were so sad that our son who is so full of life and loves to joke was feeling so badly. But for my husband and I, the worst day was when he came home in tears because one of his ffriends was teasing him, loudly, about how far behind he was on a math journal. Since then, and with the help of Adderall XR he is now in the highest math class, reads at an eighth grade level, has many friends (which he always had) and is feeling much better about himself and his abilities. I cannot stress enough that no matter how you may feel about putting your child on medication – iit’s really not about you the parent, it’s about your child and as a parent you would do any thing to make sure that they are successful and happy. As the parent you want to be able to “fix” what ever is wrong. My son is not living in a “drug-induced haze” as Brian states. The medication helps him to stay focused during the school day and he isn’t being disruptive in class. It allows hime to be the student that he needs to be.

  48. Felicia says:

    i would like to read your memoir. my son is 11 and he is adhd. he needs a friend i guess you could say. i feel like he might be able to read your book and it help him.
    thanks.

  49. Another ADHD Mom says:

    To all the naysayers about medication … the ones who said the children we medicate are in a haze, please listen. My daughter has ADHD. She was diagnosed when she was four. My other daughter does not have ADHD. It is not a made up disease, it is not all about bad parenting, and there is no magic pill. Medication helps, but does not cure or completely treat. My daughter is far from in a haze when she takes her medication but it does take the “edge” off. She can concentrate, she can fit in, she can function. She’s still active, she’s still impulsive, she’s still herself, only toned down just a bit. Do you think I jumped at the chance to medicate her? Absolutely not. It was a very, very difficult decision for us to make, and one we continue to wrestle with. But ultimately it is a decision that we know is helping our daughter immensely.

  50. Katrina says:

    I was very impressed with this article, because I am a adult living with ADHD and I know the hardship of living with this disability. I wasn’t diagnose until I was close to being 30, I was tested after my niece and nephew where diagnose at a young age. My niece has just the ADHD where my nephew is more like me ADHD with a mild case of autism.

    Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s they tried to treat the symptoms and try to put different type of labels on me. I was treated for seizures (no specific name except for general), one doctor tried placing me in a special home, another kept me doped up, and one said I had a multiple personality disorder. I grew up thinking I was a defect and something majorly was wrong with me. Now I know nothing is wrong with me, I just have different ways of learning, thinking, and doing things.

    Today there is a lot of kids being treated for a disability such as ADHD and kept highly medicated, which I don’t agree with. There is a great majority that was misdiagnosed and didn’t need this treatment because they were being a kid and kids can be so wonderful and mischievous. A lot of diagnoses can be broad and over lap each other, which can lead to misdiagnoses or it is mimicking another ailment. But finding the right doctor and treatment plan that works for you is wonderful.

    If you have a diagnoses of any kind of medical problem don’t let that diagnoses define you instead embrace life and step up and define the diagnose of “I CAN DO IT” not “I CAN’T because I have a disability”.

    At the age of 34, I am finishing 2 degrees I started back when I was 20. I am now down to working one job and not multiple jobs. My biggest dream is to have or adopt kids one day soon. I know the chances for me having a ADHD child are great.
    🙂 Me Katrina

  51. zep says:

    Some of us parents do a lot of time-outs and the child has a difficult time just sitting for one minute. My child is now a young adult and never wanted to take medication and still has hard time functioning. I do think in some cases medication is really necessary and there are a lot of parents that really research information before they medicate a child.

  52. Cathy L says:

    I will be reading this publication! I have a daughter who was diagnosed with ADHD the day before her senior year in high school. While my daughter was placed in gifted classes throughout her school years, she struggled to maintain a “C” average in her core classes. While she never got in trouble she struggled and no one ever suspected she had ADHD. I have tried researching this subject for adolscent females I have found very little.

    My daughter is now struggling to get to college based on previous years grades. However, now medicated she is maintaining an “A” average in her senior year of high school and a 3.34 GPA in her dual enrollment classes at the local community college. There is hope!

  53. Mamae says:

    For those who think children diagnosed with ADHD have lousy parents, shame on you: ADHD is real like the sun in the sky. I just wish the public school system would wake up to the enormous potential of these kids and help them instead of sending them to the principal’s office. They are faster, they are smarter, and most teachers can’t cope with that. My 15-year old boy has gone through bad experiences (in public and privates schools) with teachers – and principals – that were literally ignorant on the subject, full of prejudice. (One principal told me she would give my son “2 weeks to change his behavior”).I got tired of the judgemental dirty looks of all of them. The 4th grade teacher, who refused his entry into the GATE program, ended up seeing him been awarded the President’s Award for Academic Achievement. He took all Honors classes in middle school (all 12 of them), and despite struggles with AP classes now, he insists on keep taking them. He plays the piano without having study it and could match Schubert that he had listened to the right music sheet on a book. On a real flight similator at 10 years of age, he made a real pilot sweat for piloting a bomber in and out of the Grand Canyon, doing 360s, without ever crashing it. According to the pilot, he had never seen a kid do that before. So … who needs GATE ? Teachers, educate yourselves. Open up your minds and your hearts. And definitely stop the dirty looks to parents that are trying their best. Blake, keep writing. Do not stop. Other kids need you and your example.

  54. mike says:

    ADHD is unfortunately misdiagnosed to the point where one has to wonder if it exists as a real condition. When you consider how it is diagnosed – simply by observation by a “trained mental health expert” – you cannot avoid that much of what we call ADHD is simply the bad fruit of poor parenting.

    Consider also that drugs used to treat this pseudo-malady are having alternate effects. Namely, a study was done a few years ago showing that teens who took Ritalin and like drugs were more suicidal than other teens.

  55. David says:

    Sorry, but this is just another made-up diagnosis for parents looking for excuses for their children’s behavior or their poor parenting. This guy has “overcome” this “sickness” and is now in college. Well, good job at maturing and taking responsibility for your actions. Everyone wants something to blame poor behavior on. Instead of drugs, I’d be curious to know how you were disciplined? And why does childhood mischief have to be diagnosed in the first place? Are we supposed to buy into these other posts claiming multiple family members have this “condition?” I bet mom and dad are joining the hordes of “depressed” people taking drugs now as well. I wish you well Blake, as I do the other parents and young people who have responded. But don’t accept a label and a prescription. We’ve become much too quick to point fingers and pop pills.

  56. Mark M says:

    It’s best to make everyone stand in line. People with different personalities, have to have disorders? Some kids may require medication, but that is rare. Thank goodness for modern science, now parents won’t have to actually work harder and bad parents wont have to worry they can just put their kids on drugs…

    The school system is flawed- it doesn’t work for many children. Instead of fixing the system lets ‘fix’ the people in the system. Many kids require different learning techniques, some get bored easily because they are smarter than most.

  57. Jen says:

    I am “ADD”, 47 and female – With all the new diagnoses coming along, pretty soon we’ll outnumber all the boring, plodding uncreative “normals”.
    I took the drugs for a while. I couldn’t concentrate on my mind-numbing job. Changed positions to something that requires an inquiring, mulit-tasking mind. No longer need or want the drugs that made me miserable and paranoid.
    For the parents – if your kid isn’t interested or stimulated by what and/or the way he/she is learning in school, find what works, don’t give up. (KayP’s first para) Don’t look at ADD/ADHD as a disablity or disorder. Look at it as a different way of experiencing the world. Most of us are extremely intelligent. (186 IQ here) I can honestly say I get frustrated with people that can’t keep up with my thought processes. Takes them hours to get to where I was 2 minutes into a topic.
    Brian – I had more discipline and rules than most kids – made me extremely defiant and sneaky which led to even more “adventures” when I escaped the house.
    Find out what interests your child, base the learning experiences on that. Encouragement and praise for successes do far more for your child’s self-esteem than disappointment and punishment. Techniques to deal with a wandering, excitable mind will be far more useful than any ritalin deriviative or grounding for months. I can’t wait to read Blake’s book to see what helps him along in the world.

  58. Vicki says:

    My son has ADHD, where can I buy your book?

  59. Olivia says:

    My son is just turning 17. He does not have ADHD although his behavior in middle school certainly suggested that diagnosis. He had poor impulse control and was disruptive in class; he was clearly very bright but “not working up to his potential”. He had friends, though, loads of them and did not display this behavior at home. We were thoroughly confused. Comprehensive testing showed that, while not ADD or ADHD, he did have a Learning Disability — slow processing speed and some other executive functioning problems. He would NEVER be able to do arithmetic operations no matter how hard he tried. He would never be able to write at length longhand or to do well on a timed test. Without a clear diagnosis, he did not qualify for an IEP but he did (and does) qualify for “accommodations” under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Immediately, life changed at school: he was allowed to use a calculator for all computation, was allowed to use a note taking device at school and a word processor for homework and tests, and was granted extra time on exams.Within a month the disruptive behavior stopped. Turnus out, he was being driven round the bend at school by his own inability to succeed no matter how hard he worked. He knew he worked as hard as the other kids, he knew he was as braight as his peers — but when he worked and worked and worked, often nothing came of it. His frustration and humiliation was causing the acting out. Once he had the accommodations in place and had learned to accept his need for them, the world opened up for him. He could work hard and succeed. Now, for a child with ADHD, life is harder than for my son. ADHD does not turn itself off when a child leaves school. ADHD is on all the time. If you suspect or your child’s teacher or doctor suspects that your child has ADD or ADHD, do NOT allow your kid’s doctor to put him or her on meds because of observed behavior. Insist on having the child tested by a psychologist trained and licensed to do a full Psyvho-educational work-up. (Don’t be put off by the bother — the test itself is a long process, 6-8 hours ,and iyou may need to fight for your school system to have the testing done. But legally, they must provide this testing and any accommodations the testing suggests . If the diagnosis is ADHD, then consider the alternatives. Medication is one and may be the one you choose but perhaps careful behavior training may help enough to keep the child off meds with their associated side-effects, but “disciplining “your kids (i.e. I think that means punishing them) to “to get them to concentrate” or to stop being messy or to stop blurting things out in school or church is not the solution, ever. You would not put a child with a broken leg in time out for hobbling instead of sprinting, nor spank a blind child for failing to hit the bull’s eye in target practice. Learning Disabilities, whether ADHD or not, need to be attended to. They are a fact of your child’s life. Working with a good psychologist and insisting on proper testing can help to avoid medicating a child who is merely “spirited” or a child like my son whose disability is caused by a “wiring problems” in the brain but not the kind that can behelped with meds. Diagnosis and then acceptance of the diagnosed condition is the key to success –for Blake, for my son — for your child, too, I hope.

  60. Tina Presley says:

    I have a 12 year old son with adhd and he is always being dastructive and has such a hard time making friends and keeping them it breaks my heart to see his low self esteam and he has such a big heart. But he lacks social skills makes him the one to pick on in school and bully or the class clown.. have taken our son to so many doctors and psychiatrists. it just seems like everyone wants to push med’s which only seems to work for a few months..

  61. Nancy Ogden says:

    When did you understand that you had ADHD? Did meds help? What was the best teacher response to your ADHD and what was the worst? Do you have any LDs?
    What do you think of LEARNING OUTSIDE THE LINES?

    I’d love to talk to you … about doing an ADHD movie – see my website – done some with Ned Hallowell…can we chat?
    thanks

  62. Anonymous says:

    I have a Son with ADHD. I was diagnosed as a child 40 years ago with the same. He is now on focalin which has helped his impulsivity and grades greatly. It is night and day. I can hold a conversation with him in the morning after the meds but not before. As to those who believe this is just another form of drugging your child – I can assure you that sooner or later we learn to cope and among those coping strategies are drugs – from a store or from your best friend. I chose the road more traveled and Papa was definitely the proverbial “Rolling Stone.” I’d prefer my Son deals with this in a positive fashion. I am not saying that all will follow the path I chose but I can tell you this: There are church basements throughout the country filled with people who tried to manage this on their own or whose parents thought they were too smart. It is nice to be trite and “Just say no.” Think of whom you are saying that too….

  63. Cindy says:

    Blake – If you could go back to your elementary, jr high, and high school teachers – what would you say to them about how to handle you? Please share anything helpful that they did do.

  64. Brenda says:

    Brian, I can’t wait to read your book. My son is 16 yrs. old and was diagnosed with ADHD when he was in 3rd grade. I have taken several classes on how to deal with him in a positive way, because everything I and everyone else seemed to say to him was negative. He has no self-esteem because of this. I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to figure out what was going on in my son’s head. I would tell him ” just sit in class, do your work and at least look like you are listening”. That sounds pretty simple to me but to him it was impossible. He has countless referrals and suspensions because of his behavior in school. He too lacks in friends and will latch on to anyone that will give him the time of day…Usually kids that are not a good influence on him. He has just started taking medication and already his teachers have noticed a difference in him. My son has such a wonderful personality and he’s smart, and creative. Hopefully now everyone will see what I see!

  65. angie says:

    I have a son who has ADHD with cognitive impairments as well. He is an EMI class and with the assistance of such great people in his life, he is succeeding. He is now 13 years old and I am very proud of him. He struggles with focusing on his school work, but if you keep encouraging him to move forward he does it. I have high expections for him and I know he will succeed. He doesn’t get into any trouble, but is allot of times pushed around by other kids his age because of his kindhearted spirit. My suggestion to all parents with children with ADHD, never give up and continue to move on in life. Expect nothing but the best from him or her. Again, I am a very proud single parent of a child with ADHD and many thanks to everything in his life and provides such excellent service to him.

  66. Jess says:

    I grew up with Dyslexia and let me say it’s a hard road. They wanted to take me off there little list after high school of having it stating that my Dyslexia went “away”. IT NEVER goes away. It’s something you have to live with in your life every day.

    I had a teacher in 5th grade that actually got me into loving to read. It helped me so much and I read everything I could find. She loved her job and kids. She paid attention to kids like me and made sure we wouldn’t be left behind. We need more teachers like this.

    I actually gave up in the middle of high school. I was sick of studying for hours to get a C or B on a exam and others would just study for a hour to get a A. I couldn’t except it and figured I was just too “stupid” to make it. My grades slipped and my teachers called my parents in. They gave me the right “kick in the butt” to get me back.

    When I was in college there was a department just there to help people with Dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, etc. They were a good support team and fought for you against professors that didn’t want to hear about your “problems”. Without them I more then likely wouldn’t be where I am. I hugged each worker in that office when I graduated and thanked them.

    It’s good that books like Blakes are out there. It’s a hard road for both the child and parents. My parents for years blamed themselves and finally got over it. They are proud of me.

  67. Julie says:

    Dear Blake & Those reading this blog,

    It was insinuated by my son’s third grade teacher as early as third grade that my son was ADD. The problem with us accepting that it might be true was the way in which the teacher presented it to us. We knew our son was struggling in her class and there seemed to be a personality conflict with the two of them. The teacher who also has a son with ADD refused to implement any effective strategies to help our son in her classroom. It seemed to us that she just wanted us to pop a pill in his mouth and be done with it. This is our eldest child and I must admit all the negative publicity about ADD left us not wanting to believe that our son had ADHD. As a result his principal suggested we put him in counseling, which we did. Unfortunately for 2 1/2 years we allowed him to see a therapist who further led us to believe that ADD did not exist and that by us medicating him he would have more issues later in life. She continued to lead our son and us to believe that I his mother was the problem. After years of troublesome behavior and much arguing in our home life our son started talking about suicide at the age of 11, he is still 11. Therapy with this Psychologist was not working (can anyone guess why?), we finally took our son for evaluation and were told that he was ADHD/inattentive type and that without medication school and life would continue to be a struggle. This is our son’s first year in middle school. I too remember this being my hardest year of school, mainly socially. Our son has been on medication for four months and in therapy with a new counselor. Our life has changed. Our son who seemed like he hated us, me especially comes to me for daily hugs, his last mid-term report card had 4-A’s, 3-B’s and a C in typing of all classes. He loves band, plays the trumpet and thoroughly enjoys jazz band which he stays after school for. He has a few friends at school, mainly in band. He loves his church youth group where he also has friends. He does not have a ton of friends but I always stress the importance of good, true friends not mass quantities.

    We still have some ups and downs but that’s life.

    All I can say is that I believe that medication has made incredible positive changes in him and our home life. Believe in your children, never give up on them. Do everything you can to help them reach their full potential, love them, sacrifice some of your time for them and have faith in the Lord.

    Mother who loves her boys

  68. Rebekah says:

    Kudos to you, Blake, and to your school for incorporating your book into their curriculum. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one major misconception:

    1. ADHD is a disorder that folks can laugh about and think of as only being attachd to hyperactive children.

    2. ADHD isn’t a health problem. It’s just about getting organized and just not letting things bother you and being more disciplined and focused.

    People who don’t suffer from the disorder have no idea how emotionally and mentally grueling it can be. It affects every aspect of one’s life including, wreaking havoc on our self esteem, our ability to hold down a job, and even our ability to maintain relationships. There are so many more facets to this disorder than just hyperactivity.
    And it can be a very serious disorder to treat and deal with as a patient. Finally, it’s not something we, as sufferers, can just train ourselves NOT to do. It’s a valid medical condition that requires treatment with both medication and therapy. And it is certainly nothing to laugh at.

  69. Mogan says:

    I have a friend with ADHD and all I have to say is you rock!

  70. Karen says:

    As a mom of a 12 yr old ADHD son, I was very reluctant to put in on medicine and did not do so until he was failing open book quizzes in the 4th grade even though he is an extremely intelligent child.
    I keep the dosage on his medication as low as possible. He is doing much better in school now. It’s still difficult for him and my husband and I as he doesn’t seem to want to put the extra effort that he should into his school work.
    My question for Blake is : How did you overcome this obstacle? We want him to care about doing well in school and learning. He just doesn’t seem to care about it as much as we do.

  71. Larissa says:

    Brian- It’s very easy to speak about something you don’t have any first-hand knowledge about. I’m a 26 year old woman and I’ve had two friends approach me about this. They were both investigating ADHD in themselves and when they were reading, they said it described me perfectly. I’ve been doing my own research and it makes so much sense now, that my whole life I’ve been dealing with this. I haven’t started medication yet, but my friend has and she swears that it has changed her life. She is a 29 year old successful woman, but we both have been having major struggles at work that just didn’t make sense to us. We’re both college-educated, but we see now that we’ve been able to get away with a lot of this behavior or just get around it, but it has truly affected our lives. She is not in a haze, but is accomplishing more than she ever thought possible. It affects your self-esteem. You get to a point where you know in your heart that you’re not lazy, crazy or stupid, but you start to believe it, because you just can’t accomplish what you should be. I’m not quick to jump at medication as the first answer, but sometimes it truly is the best option. That haze you’re talking about…that’s what I’m feeling now and I’m not on medication. It’s so powerful that it’s truly putting my job in jeopardy. I’m looking forward to clearer days. But something that we’ve both understood while going through this is that you can’t really talk about it with people. Because if they haven’t gone through it personally or aren’t a parent with a child who’s struggling, they can’t understand. They treat you as if you’re stupid, lazy or just making excuses and that hurts just as much. It’s awful to have to keep it a secret, especially when you feel like it explains sooooo much and that if people only knew, they’d understand. But they don’t…So Brian, I know that you can’t possibly understand, because you’re not dealing with it….but try to be compassionate. These things aren’t just because of a lack of discipline or a phase….these are real and truly affect your life.

  72. Autumn says:

    Looking forward to reading your book. I have a 14yr old son who was diagnosed with ADD when he was 9 years old. We put him on Concerta and he was doing fairly well. But he was not his fun loving self and was stand offish with other kids. Therefore he did not make friends. Recently he has complained that he has never liked the way Concerta made him feel , so we took him to the doctor to see if there was anything new on the market. There is a new drug called Vyvanse. My son started it two days ago. For the first time he has felt relaxed and wanted to interact with other boys. His appetite has improved in just 2 days and he is not as fearful. He says he likes this drug much better. It is also alot easier to swallow and it can be taken apart and put in water to drink if your child has a problem in swallowing. Have you done any research on any of the drugs used and what ones do you think are the better?

  73. chris says:

    inquiring minds need good foods .i beleive 3 fisn oil capsules daily can stimulate naturally to help focus and delete foods that enhance reaction caffine sugars chocolate chemical additives etc. i.can relate tothese struggles but why drug brilliance out of todays society unless there are major mental isuses. channel your energy into your dream not societys see how these humans excell above there peers in the next decade

  74. ADD Nurse says:

    Okay, enough about ADD drugs – especially by people who know not of what they speak. Would you tell a child with diabetes that they have to find someway to manage their disease without their daily dose of insulin? Would you expect a child with leukemia to “get over it” without benefit of life-saving though difficult chemotherapy? ADD has nothing to do with self-will or appropriate discipline. It is a MEDICAL disorder of brain function. Yes, ADHD is probably over-diagnosed in children these days ( just as I am starting to wonder if autism is being incorrectly over-diagnosed in our politically correct society which is uncomfortable with the old diagnosis labled “mental retardation”) because well-intentioned doctors are often pressured into a diagnosis by parents who lack good parenting skills or are too busy with their own lives, and are overwhelmed by a kid “being a kid” and demand that the doctor prescribe a pill to magically cure the problem for them. We are also so obsessed with our two-income lifestyles that we expect our teachers to raise our children for us while at the same time achieving unrealistic academic standards, and so they get so overwhelmed by the normal excesses of children that they have to complain about behavior problems to the parents or the school psychologist. And that’s a fact. Children who are ACCURATELY diagnosed with ADHD through proper testing and who receive treatment by a competant doctor under the guidance of loving, nurturing and FOCUSED parents do NOT walk around in a “drug-induced haze”. They simply function like normal children – which is what we do call “just being a kid.” They get to be “just a kid”, instead of an unhappy social misfit who doesn’t understand why they don’t fit in like normal kids. And medication is just one part of effective treatment, never meant to stand alone. Many of us with ADD can eventually function quite well without medication – but the medication is a God send when you are trying to learn all the modifications you have to make to your “impulsive” behaviors in order to live and succeed like a normal person and you need all the focus and “executive function” skills you can muster from your scattered, disorganized brain. Medication is like the difference between stumbling around in the natural dark of night – and just simply turning on an artificial light source to see where you are going. Hopefully Blake’s book with finally give the unenlightened world some much-needed insight into the frustrating and unhappy world of children who really do have ADHD.

  75. Pyper says:

    My daughter is 13 and is an emotional wreck and she was said to have ADHD, I was wondering what types of medications worked best for you.

    Thanks

  76. Julie says:

    Oh, I forgot. The 1st Psychologist told my son he would be living in a fog and feel weird on the medication. We had much to undo after this Psychologist. We promised our son that if he did not like the way it made him feel or didn’t see any positive side effects we would try something different. He said he feels a bit tired and odd for the first 30 minutes and he can tell when the medication is wearing off.

    He said that the positives out-weigh any negative. His self esteem has improved as well as those grades I was talking about.

    Mom who loves her boys.

  77. Joe says:

    I have a 9 year old son that has ADHD. I am amazed at how many similar stories , to what I feel as a parent and to what happens to an ADHD child, are out there. My suggestion to parents would be to read as many articles and books as possible. Yahoo news has a bullentin board/ discussion group you can sign up on to get leads and ideas. There is a tremendous amount of opinions and so called “cures”. I have spent hundreds of hours researching and it can be very overwhelming. The things that have helped me keep my child off the medication thus far have been therapy call EEG and identifing food allergies through blood testing throught the method IgG ELSIA. The biggest hurdle that you have to get past is that ADHD is a condition that has a cure. Because it isn’t a condition or a desease or disability. It is a disposition of a particular group of human beings. What you need to give your child are the tools to succeed, to make and develope relationships, to learn social cues and how to regulate thier impulses.

  78. Gary says:

    Brava ADD Nurse!!!!!

  79. Tonya says:

    I am a mother of a 12 year old who has ADHD and I refuse meds. I have also worked in the Pysch world for a long time and saw many children who had ADHD and too meds and some who did not. As you can see I do not have my child on any meds do to this and feel like witth a little love and understanding along with the others in his life he might just turn out to be the next President. PLEASE do not get me wrong we have good and bad BUT we learn form them just like him. BUT I WILL NOT PUT MY CHILD ON MEDS TO HELP THE TEACHERS. I have had many meetings were they think that meds are great because the child just sits there and does nothing and they are great to handle. PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  80. Jean says:

    My son was diagnosed with ADHD at five years old. My younger son does NOT have ADHD; as a Mother who raised these children, I can assure everyone that ADHD made a huge impact on our lives as a family. Since my son was too intelligent to be considered “learning disabled,” he was classfied as “behavior disorder” in our county school system in order to get the vital special education classes that he needed. You can imagine how he was treated by faculty as he was growing up. I dreaded the IEP meetings at school because I was also treated badly by faculty as the parent of a “behavior disorder” student. Long story short, he ended dropping out of school, became a ward of the state because he refused to attend school and was locked up in various group homes and state facilities from age 15 to age 18. He still stuggles today with ADHD as an adult.

    Blake, I plan to read your book and then pass it on to my son. Thank you for bringing attention to this REAL disorder.

  81. G. Demassey says:

    Refreshing! I raised two wonderful boys one of whom has ADHD, the other ADD. Now 27 and 20, both continue with determination to achieve personal success and happiness. One is an IT major, the other a Political Science/Environmental Studies major.

    Definitely overachievers. Definitely lucky for their special styles.
    20 years ago, it was a struggle to find support and information. Determination paid off and we are definitely lucky for the gift they are.

    Wish you all the best.
    Thank you.

  82. James Wengrenovich says:

    I applaud anyone who writes a book to help others with ADD/ADHD or to enlighten those who live or work around those who are afflicted with it. I myself, now 45, deal with this struggle that is invisible to the untrained person (and even some with medical degrees). It is something that has held me back in more ways than would fit into one book. From work to relationships and even health, I am tagging along behind the pack. However, there are some attributes to many of us with ADD/ADHD that I would not trade for anything- well, almost anything.

  83. Carol says:

    I have just ordered the book, and I am looking forward to reading it. I have often wondered how best to help my son, and I’m hoping this will give some insight. I’m also hoping it will help me understand what he thinks and feels. Unfortunately, I feel so woefully inadequate when it comes to being his mother. I see so much potential in him, but I don’t know how to bring it out. After resisting it for many years, I have finally put him on medication. I have seen some improvement, but there are still lots of behavioral issues. However, the thing that hurts me the most is watching his social isolation. I hurt for him.

    Good luck to you and your family, Blake. I am so happy that you are doing well. It gives me great hope.

  84. Julie says:

    Bravo Blake! I hope this will help many parents to understand what ADHD is really about.
    My spouse and I both have ADHD. It’s true that women and men don’t go through it the same way. My husband was diagnosed in his late 20s and needs medication to be able to perform but it works, seriously! Not only is he starting projects now but he finishes them. As for me, I’ve been diagnosed at a really young age and worked on my strengths to find a career where I feel comfortable and not looked at as If I’m a weirdo. I have really strict parents who pushed us to perform in school but they realised early that something was wrong and they worked really hard with me to help get where I am today. Instead of thinking that your kid is lazy or troubled, you have to listen to them and help them figure out what’s going on. It’s not just a question of medication, although it works it’s not enough, you need to help them find ways that work for them to go forward.
    Good luck with all your future projects Blake! One question for you, how do you deal with your studies, knowing what you know now?

  85. Jamie says:

    I want to read your book. My son has a learning disability(now 18 its a processing thing), and probably has ADHD-never tested him specifically for that. He has had to work his tush off and has struggled immensly though is academic career. Because of special ed and private school s that have dealt with his strenghths and weakness he will graduate from High School in May. But he now thinks that he is stupid and hangs with a very rought crowd and toys with risky behavior. He has a B average, is captain of his basketball team, is into music heavily, makes friends easily and has gone down to New Orleans to volunteer many times. But does not want to go to college because he know’s he’ll “fail”. He’s applied to some colleges because I pushed him to but wants to just work and “hang” (with is dead end friends).

    My daughter 12) has ADHD and took Adderol and Centurion (whatever) her grades improved dramatically….but she was a
    zombie and hated it. It was awful. I’d rather her get ok grades
    than be so unhappy so she if off them. She has to work longer
    and harder but it’s worth it to her. She goes up and down-but mostly
    up. And she is her funny, happy, outasight little girl. Wouldn’t change
    her or my son.

    I just don’t want them to suffer….but they have to one way or another…
    and I prefer as both my children do, naturally. Because nothing in
    life comes with an easy fix.

  86. Rob says:

    I agree with ADD nurse. I am the father of two wonderful young boys. My 8-year-old son has been living with ADHD since age 4 and I’ve got to be honest here – I am so sick and tired of people who say, “get over it. They’re just a hyper kid. Don’t drug your children. ADHD is not real. Blah blah blah.” I want to make something perfectly clear. ADHD is a VERY real condition. My 5-year-son is a hyperactive kid, but he’s obviously not ADHD. He’s just a boy. There is a distinct difference between run-of-the-mill hyperactivity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The medication I give my ADHD child does not put him in a daze or turn him into a zombie. It simply allows his brain to process stimuli a little better before acting (i.e.: thinking about looking for cars before running out into the street chasing a ball). Without his medication, he may very well go after that ball without noticing the car barreling down the street toward him. If you have a ADHD child, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

    A few ‘specific’ rebuttals:

    Scott: You say “these kids are overactive there is nothing wrong with that.” Right away, it’s obvious you’ve never been close to a child with ADHD. Are there children being misdiagnosed with the illness? I’m certain there are, but for those of us dealing with the real deal every day of our laughs, you’re comments are pointless and laughable.

    John: What you describe as symptoms of ADHD (being bored, getting work done before everyone else) do not ring of ADHD to me. My son, without his medication, is practically incapable of doing schoolwork at all. Why? Because his mind is unable to focus on any one thing for an extended period of time. With his meds, he can ‘dial in’ and actually keep up with the rest of his class. I find your assertion that treating my son’s illness with medication will make him a drug addict terribly offensive. My son also takes medication for his asthma. Should I discontinue that line of treatment as well?

    Brian: When you share your opinion on a topic, you should have some knowledge regarding said topic. Otherwise, you come across looking like an uneducated buffoon. But, hey guy, thanks for the wonderful parenting advice. Disciplining my children? Why, I never thought of that! I’ll have to give that a try. Thanks.

  87. Eric says:

    I’m curious. I don’t have ADHD (at least I don’t think I do) but going through so much schooling myself, I am still having a hard time sitting down to write an essay for class, much less a “memoir.” Am I not defining ADHD correctly then?

  88. Worth Repeating says:

    ADHD…what a terrible diagnosis, and by that I mean it should not be made. These kids are overactive there is nothing wrong with that. Why do we medicate everything in this country. If you are just outside what society’s normal is than we feel like we need to change you and typically not by talking about it. Instead we say “here’s a pill…you’ll be more like the rest of us miserable people tomorrow” What a great idea! Let people be themselves. Let people live the lives they want. We don’t want people taking illegal “mind-altering” drugs so why do we prescribe so many legal “mind altering” drugs!

  89. Connie says:

    John, and others who are skeptical of ADHD; my 7 year old son was diagnosed a year ago. The difference between a child such as John describes (and I know, I have a 5 year old like this little guy) and my 7 year old is marked and obvious to those who know them.

    This scenario; “He decided to build a wall in his room the other night and removed everything out of his closet and stacked it across the middle of his room. He thought it was funny and we thought it was ingenious to come up with stuff to build. But, he had to put it all back before he was allowed to do anything else.’; is something typical of my 5 year old. No problem, no issue, that is great! When my 5 year old knows he has to do something he may not like it, but he does it.

    With my 7 year old ADHD son, he would build the wall, but unless I am there reminding him to put the stuff back, he would pick up pieces and build something else, play with the stuff he was supposed to put away, and just not stay on task. And this child is NOT defiant, wilful, undisciplined, or unwilling to co-operate. His kindergarten teacher put it best; “It isn’t that he doesn’t want to sit still and finish his tasks, it’s that he can’t”. On a low dose of Ritalin, my 7 year old is a lively, spirited, imaginative, but much more focused child. NOW we can work with him on learning control so he can function better without medication too.

    Every kid deserves the chance to reach their potential, whatever that may be. If my son needs Ritalin to be able to focus enough to learn how to succeed in life (ie. have a decent job, stay out of jail, have friends), then what kind of a mom am I to deny him that?

    And yes, I am thrilled that a young man has written about his experiences with ADHD. I will definitely be looking up Blake’s book.

  90. angela says:

    My son is ADHD at school they dont seem to help much every time something happens they blame him. Did this type of problem happend to you as well? My son looses his temper very easily as too is this part of having ADHD?

  91. Matt's Mom says:

    Excellent job Blake. I plan to get your book and give it to my 16 y.o. son who has ADHD. We were lucky, it runs in my family and we were able to identify it and put in both behavioral and academic supports for Matt from a young age. He is also someone who responds very well to medication. Medication is an appropriate part of the treatment as this is a neurological chemical issue. I want to stress though that medication is only part of the solution and may not work for all. The family needs to work with the child as soon as possible to give the behavioral and academic help to help your child succeed. Blake’s comment about not having friends as a child reflects a real problem these children can have. Kids with ADHD often miss the social cues and lessons that other children learn and need extra help to learn how to be a good friend and deal with frustrations. My son overwhelmed other children at times. We worked with him in a very supportive, behavioral manner to help him catch up on those social cues. We kept play dates to only one or two friends at a time and left social situations when he began to get overwhelmed before he had a hard time. We role played all the time with him about how to handle situations. If you make it a game, kids love it and learn. We had clear rules and consequences. At times it was a real struggle both for my son and the family. My son worked very hard to learn how to be organized, focused and control his temper and impulses. People with ADHD are often the most creative, intelligent people you will ever meet. They think out of the box and come up with amazing insights. But they are on their own developmental time table and as parents/teachers we need to try to be patient and keep supporting them. I’m very proud of my son, he is a very thoughtful, empathetic,hard working kid and dealing with ADHD definitely contributed to being the wonderful person that he is.

  92. ADHD Mom says:

    Every kid is different, ADD or not. Our now 16yr old was diagnosed with ADHD 8 years ago. We were not comfortable with drugs, but tried them anyway. In fact we have tried many drugs. In the end, nothing worked. Some of the drugs made him psychotic. On one, he didn’t sleep for two days before we stopped entirely. He now takes no medication. What’s the use if they don’t help? Unfortunately, he is anything but an A student. I’ll be surprised if he makes it out of high school. No answers here, just empathy.

  93. angela says:

    I dont give my son the concertta meds because i dont beleive he needs medication, i was very hyperactive as a young girl and didnt need the meds. besides i;ve notice that when he did take the concertta he became dipress and irritated at anything. I tried it for a week and just stoped. At school they drive me nutts and ive told them am not gonna drug up my son for their benefit.
    I think there should be other kind of help for these kids. I have learn that when my son is going outside playing basketball or i send him to do something to keep him busy it calms him down. School should be more educated on ADHD to be able to help our kids.

  94. Darlene says:

    I can’t wait to get this book and have my son read it. He is 16 & has ADHD. He has tried medication several times but each time he ends up depressed and miserable after a few weeks. His grades in school are horrible & we have tried speaking with his teachers & most dont seem to care that he’s struggling. We will just try to get him to muddle through high school, but after reading about your story, we now have hope that one day he will become successful.

  95. Kwiltah says:

    ADD Nurse, you are right on the money with your comments! I am an adult woman who has lived and coped with ADHD my entire life, and yet it was only after a proper diagnosis and treatment program being put into place that I truly got a handle on my life.
    After I began treating this condition, I discovered what it meant to concentrate, focus, and stay on task. These were nearly impossible for me before, and I was in my 30’s when diagnosed.
    I am excited about this memoir, and I hope I will be able to get a copy to read, review, and use for reference when speaking to others who do not quite understand the world my head is in.
    As a side note: my adult son is ADD, and we understand each other very well. He coined a new term to describe what we ADDers do: AARTS, or Acute Active Radial Thinking Syndrome, as our thoughts race in every direction at once. That may be the best way to explain how we think, in a nutshell.

  96. Genny B says:

    My son is 27 and has suffered (me, too!) from ADD his whole life. He is homeless in Santa Cruz. We are in contact and he is now clean and sober. He is trying to turn his life around and move back home. His entire life has been a struggle – from the very first day of kindergarten, when his teacher told me Kyle was in for a bad time. When he started selling his Ritalin in 6th grade, I took him off. From then on he began to self-medicate with pot. He never had the hyperactivity associated with this disorder, thanks be to God! I am anxious to read this new book – thank you for writing it and congratulations on your success in school.

  97. Brenda says:

    Amen….

  98. Michelle says:

    Thank you ADHD mom. That sounds exactly like how I was described when I was a student. I am dyslexic. I was in special needs until the 3rd grade when I was put back in mainstream classes. I had a teacher that worked with me on reading. My academic record is ok. I did terrible on the SATs. I graduated from college and am working on a masters. I find it very difficult a lot of the time to really sit and focus. It’s like it physically hurts to sit and study. My youngest brother has ADHD. He’s been on medication for a little while now and it’s made a huge difference. I remember it was rough at first (not sure if it still is) because of the side effects but he seems to have it more together now. I’m so glad to have read what ADHD mom wrote because that is me.

  99. Katrina says:

    ADD Nurse, i love your entries on this. I agree with a lot you say. I am ADHD have been my whole life but wasn’t diagnoise until about 4 to 5 years ago. I been on several different medications to find my happy medium.

    I don’t agree keeping kids in a drug induced coma within their own body 24/7. I do happen to feel that if there is a medication that help them for the long run i think its a good thing. My niece and nephew are on medications that doesn’t keep them highly medicated they both particpate activities through their school and both keep between the A to C average.

    They will call me and we discuss things that they are going through because i know the hardship of this disability. My sister was the one who was not affected by a learning disability.

    Katrina

  100. Gordon Gibb says:

    Blake,
    Where can I find your book?
    Gordon Gibb
    Associate Professor of Special Education
    Brigham Young University

  101. Karen says:

    ADD Nurse
    Thank you so much for your input. I agree 100% with everything you just stated. My child is not in a “drug-induced” haze and because of the medicine is now able to pay attention long enough to actually learn while in school. My child is actually very lucky as he has quite a few friends. I couldn’t even imagine having to deal with that as a parent and my heart goes out to those families that are in that situation.
    Some people just don’t understand or don’t WANT to understand about this condition. Everyone is indeed different and what works great for one person may not work so well for the next. Please don’t judge others just because you chose a different way to deal with this.

  102. Robyn says:

    I am a single mother of a 9 year old daughter. She was diagnosed with ADHD about a year and a half ago. I educate myself by reading articles and information online. I am still trying to understand what ADHD can do to a child and what is ahead of them. I look forward in reading your book.

  103. Jodi says:

    This brought tears to my eyes! Laughter and sadness, I must say. I can empathize as I am ADHD and can laugh about it; however, I worry about the behaviors to come in my 6 year old son! He, too, is a bright child though as impulsive as the day is long. Never mind the inattentiveness and hyper behavior. We are fortunate to have a greater awareness of this disorder than when I was a child. I am most optimistic about his future, but the day to day reality of living with this is a tremendous challenge and most frustrating. I am delighted to see that Blake has shared his experience and believe more is needed from young men and women like him to help those following in their paths! Bravo and continued good fortune to you, Blake!

  104. The Madcap says:

    Truth hurts huh! Fortunately I needed a laugh and you provided me with same.

  105. txjj says:

    I completely agree with ADD Nurse. It is so easy for someone who doesn’t have a child that was diagnosed CORRECTLY with ADHD or ADD or ODD (oppositional defiance disorder). As a mom I can’t explain to you how much the medication has helped my child and we still deal with impulsivity issues which is why we found a new treatment center. When my son honestly can’t control himself there is a medical problem. The synapses in the nerves aren’t correctly developed in ADHD children so the signals/impulses that should get filtered out do not for them. This is what the medication is for – not to make them zombies. My son is still very active and he is highly intelligent and still thinks outside of the box. Am i warping him into a perfect child – by all means no. I’m helping him to be able to live a productive life with his intelligence level and curiousity in tact. So don’t be so quick to judge if you don’t have any real experience with the condition. It is also genetic and I know if my son’s father and uncle had been diagnosed at an early age their lives would have been remarkably different.

  106. Michelle says:

    Reading some of the comments here make me realize that some people will never be able to understand what it’s like. There is a fine line. Medication may not be appropriate for all. Of course that’s true. It made a difference for my brother. It was the only way. For me, I manage without medication but it is a struggle. Society frustrates me with its black and white standards. Both of my parents are dyslexic. My father is an electrical engineer. My mom is a vet tech and has done accounting. They are both very smart. My father excelled in Physics and Calculus. But he wanted to do electrical engineering. That’s where his interest lied. He was in the National Honors Society. He reads a lot and is quite knowledgeable. But I wish people could try to understand the physical and emotional pain that we suffer. We try hard. We have to.

  107. Pamela says:

    Great Job Blake!!! Be Proud You Are Facing The Condition, Admission Is The First Step Toward Control Of Any Condition. I am extremely Proud of You and I do not personally know you!!! Keep Moving Forward After Taking The First Step!!!

  108. Alex says:

    nice job, CNN censoring everything, making ADHD a platform for him to sell more books, good job.

  109. elaine says:

    MY 10 YR OLD GRANDSON IS TODAY AT OUR COUNTY SCIENCE FAIR WITH HIS PROJECT ON A CHILD WITH ADHD. HE IS ADHD; AND WON 2ND PLACE AT HIS SCHOOL. I’M WONDERING HOW HE WILL DO TODAY. HE IS VERY INTELLENGENT–ALL A’S–. HE HAS
    BEEN ON MEDICATION FOR 5 YEARS; AND IS DOING GREAT. HE
    PLAYS ALL SPORTS, HAS MANY FRIENDS, AND IS SO ACTIVE IN MANY THINGS. I KNOW HE WILL DO JUST AS WELL IN HIS ADULT LIFE. HE DOES BELIEVE THAT THE MEDICATION HELPS HIS ILLNESS.

  110. Gretchen says:

    My 14-year-old ADHD son is doing poorly as a high school freshman. He used to do extra credit to get his grades up in grammar and middle school, but there is no extra credit in high school. He has poor study skills, hates to read, and too talkative in class.

    What can I do to help him?

  111. Erin Bradley says:

    As a recent graduate who studied special education, and as the older sister of two siblings diagnosed with the disorder, I find it very frustrating when I see people who just “don’t believe” in ADHD. It is very real and it exists as struggle for many children and adults alike. There may very well be an over-diagnosis epidemic in this country, but that does not mean that the disorder flat out doesn’t exist for many people out there. Kids should be allowed to be kids…they should be allowed to run around and day dream and have more energy than the rest of us can fathom…but they shouldn’t have to struggle without help when they really need it. I don’t know on what basis people can make the assumption that certain disorders or diseases just aren’t real. I take it those of you who do assume such things have been blessed with an incredibly happy and healthy life. You’re very lucky.

  112. LynDee says:

    I have a 9 year old with ADD/ADHD. She is on medication but before it kicks in, in the morning and when it wears off in the late afternoon she had a really hard time. She doesn’t close things and she can’t put anything away. She doesn’t remember when we tell her things. As you probably have experienced some of this what would your advice be? It really strains or relationship. She thinks I am nagging constantly but I can’t let her get away with it, as I cannot keep following her around doning everything for her. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  113. elizabeth. says:

    Congratulations, you made a difference.🙂

  114. Brenna says:

    My 8yr old was diagnoised with Severe ADHD when she was 5. The medicines are working,. But she is getting to that age where she questions it. And doesn’t understand what is “wrong” with her. I always tell her that nothing is wrong. But I’m mom and she doesn’t believe me. I am happy to see someone so productive with the “disease”. I would love to be able to read your book. And then pass it on to my daughter and hopefully that will help more understand what goes on her head. I don’t fully understand and never will, since I am not in her shoes. Where can I pick it up, or is there somewhere on the internet that I can order it? Thank you, Brenna-Kansas.

  115. Debra says:

    Reading some of the other comments here, I know most parents are going through the same thing I am with my 9 year old son. Blake, congrats to you for succeeding and getting through it! We’re at the point right now about deciding whether to give the standard ADD drugs. Do you have an opinion on that? Did you take the standard ADD drugs or did you go through alternative therapies? Any information or experiences you can supply on treatment?

  116. Jackie says:

    Blake-
    Like so many others, we are also parents of an ADHD son. What are some things we can do to help our son feel better about himself socially? What things helped you?

  117. JB says:

    I was diagnosed with ADHD at 40 after my daughter was diagnosed. Treatment has changed my life. Regrettably, treatment for ADHD was not readily available in my youth. Like many ADHD people, I had problems with relationships and self esteem. I want to spare my daughter those problems as much as I can, especially the counter-productive parental approach of punishment and control. As a person with ADHD and as a parent of an ADHD child, I know that understanding and treating ADHD are the keys to parenting an ADHD child successfully. A book like this is a wonderful tool for understanding.

    Midication is critical, too. Anyone who believes that ADHD is about self-will or discipline is mistaken. Apart from medical facts to the contrary, my own experience demonstrates that copious amounts of determination, effort, and coping skills only help so much. Prior to being diagnosed and treated, I earned bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees and had a successful professional career. Treatment, however,would have made those accomplishmnets much easier and would have resulted in better grades. Try writing a three-hour essay exam (which determines your grade for an entire semester) when your mind is wondering all over the place and you can hardly sit still in your seat. I imagine that it is like taking that exam with an iPod playing random noises, songs, and talk in one ear while sitting on a prickly board that wobbles.

  118. Marie says:

    Thank you ADD Nurse!! Very well put and accurate.

    And thank YOU Blake for putting your experiences there for other young folks to read. A reminder that they’re not alone.

  119. ADD Mom says:

    My son (11) has ADHD… I didn’t like the idea of medicating him. My understanding from more than one doctor is that the ADHD medicine stimulates the brain to create an underproduced chemical in the brain. WIthout it, some people have less concentration and impulse control. On the Serengeti plains that might be great (you WANT to be looking everywhere at once and be able to jump to get away from the lions). In a modern classroom or job situation, my son’s brain function is not a genetic positive, but a problem. Without medication my son could be a great soldier but not much of a general.

    We did have to change medicine to get him to one which (currently) works the best for him. And, I understand that as he gets older his brain chemistry is changing. Perhaps coffee will be sufficient stimulant for him as an adult and we keep poking at how he does without his medication to be sure that when/if he doesn’t need it, we stop.

    I would not tell a child with diabetes or epilepsy to “suck it up”. Don’t do it to a kid with ADHD. The very first day my son was medicated was a miracle. He was overjoyed (beaming) at being able to sit down and complete a large piece of art work without being distracted. He could behave at school and scouts and has more friends.

    Don’t get me wrong – I do not WANT to subject my kids to an aspirin that is not needed… but I will not deny them medication that will improve their quality of life.

  120. dats da way i roll says:

    Way to go! The strugges that go along with ADHD are often missed. It’s to easy to focus on the dinner table being on fire! Thanks so much for showing us another side.

  121. LIVING IT says:

    Blake – I am THRILLED you have written this book!! Consider it a wonderful gift to all of us out there trying to look for answers for ourselves and our children with ADHD. I can’t wait to read every word.

    ADD NURSE – Very well spoken. Our son has taken medication for his ADHD since he was 6. He started Kindergarten off by breaking several things in the classroom and not being able to be still for more than a few minutes at a time. That teacher was very “old school,” and asked us to consider removing him from the school. She would not consider a reward system to encourage his positive actions believing that kids should WANT to do the right thing. She didn’t understand the impulsive nature of ADHD. When we had him evaluated — by a Psychiatrist, not a Pediatrician — he was off the charts positive of showing ADHD characteristics.

    With counseling by ADHD specialists and medication management, he has done very well academically. Reward systems work well for him for behavioral issues.

    He has a small circle of friends, but he is in a small school (150 – PK-6) and classroom (only 8 children). Do you have friendship tips for him?

    And parents, if you have a tendency to want to overreact, I recently heard a great phrase about our behavior towards the children: “Respond rather than React.” It helps me stop and think before overreacting to my son.

  122. Floyd says:

    Power to ya Blake! I, too have ADHD and have an on-going struggle to maintain focus in my life. Most people would look at me and tell me that i don’t look like i have it, even though i just told them.

  123. Susan says:

    Blake, Congratulations on your book! This is what kids with ADHD need, someone who can relate to what they are going through and not just a therapists perspective of ADHD. I have a boy and girl with ADHD so our house is always hopping. My question to you is, did the alienation and lack of friends subside as you got older? This has been a real issue for our one child. We currently have him in a social group to help him learn to read social cues and self-corrective behaviors as well as develop resilience to better handle bullies. It has been a help to him. To those who bad mouth medications, you truly don’t have a good understanding about how they work. For some children both medication and behavior modification is what helps get them through a tough life.

  124. Trumpet says:

    In the mid – 60’s I was diagnosed with ADHD.(They called it “Hyperactivity” back then.) This was in elementary school, 3rd grade.

    I was prescribed Ritalin.

    This was the best thing that EVER happened to me. Turned my hyperactivity into hyperintelligence. I was able to “settle down” and learn, very quickly.

    For the rest of my school days I became one of the strongest, best students in our school system. Had lots of friends and extra curricular activities.

    Thank God for the drugs, I needed ’em! Made me the happy man I am today.

  125. ADHD Mom of 2 says:

    Hello, I am a mother of 2 ADHD kids and I am so glad that I found this article. I will definitely look for this book to share with my children. I have a soon to be 17 year old, Jr in HS, which was diagnosed with ADHD in 1st grade. During his elementary years, it was a struggle because the schools/teachers were not supportive and they just wanted him or it to go away. However, it does not’ work that way. Once he got to middle school, he decided he wanted to try it on his own w/o the meds so we gave him a trial period and his teacher’s implemented behavior modifications. All was great! He made Honor Roll all through middle school.

    While all this was going on with him, my other son who is now 11 years old was diagnosed with ADHD in 1st grade and learning disabilities. Until’ this day he is still on is meds and frankly cannot function with out them. It is like a freight train going loose.

    The big challenge for my older son is High School. He has decided again to work with out the meds because he did not want to feel different but I guess with the distractions of a social life, honor classes and electives, these are taking a toll on him. Now he wants his meds back because he is having trouble focusing. This takes courage I think for a young man to ask for medication to help him focus. He took a trial run with his SAT and he said he had trouble focusing.

    What I am trying to say is that this is not just talk. It’s what we live with on a daily basis. It’s a struggle for all of us. Especially when you have people who don’t take the time to educate themselves so they can be more productive in a childs life.

  126. Mary says:

    As a teacher, I have had many children diagnosed with ADHD that could not function without the use of medicine. I had one child eating crayons, talking uncontrollably and loudly, and was unable to complete his work–sometimes he could not not even begin his work because he was so distracted and would not sit down. I had another child that would crawl on the floor under desks and laugh and then run around the room–when tested on sight words and reading levels he was extremely low, I think because he could not concentrate to learn and possible because other teachers did not have enough patience with him. These are just two of the many cases I’ve seen–I have been teaching for 13 years. When these two children were put on medication, it made a world of difference. It changed their world–they begin to really care about their work and reading and learning . It is my own opinion that the older these children get, they will be able to control their impulses and possible do without medicine, however, I definitley agree with ADD Nurse, we would not deprive a diabetic of insulin and it is the same thing. Until you know a child who is diagnosed with ADHD, you have know idea what it is like for them in school.

  127. Dave says:

    If you don’t have ADHD and are having trouble understanding/believing what we are going through, here’s a good metaphor that I think will help you understand:

    Imagine you have never played golf before and have decided you would like to learn. You start by buying some clubs and head off to the driving range by yourself. Right away you’re finding it extremely difficult…. but hey, you’ve heard its a hard frustrating sport, so you just keep trying. Eventually you get a point where you can finally hit a ball in the air, its going kind of far. BUT, there are teenagers and old men on either side of you whacking balls hundreds of yards further. OK, you decide you’re buying lessons.. a Pro will definitely help you out. So, you’re at your first lesson and the Pro tells you to hit a few balls so he can see what level you’re at. You step up and knock a few balls and they don’t go too far, so you step back and wait for the Pro to tell you what to do. Instead he looks at you with a really wierd look and says “Why in the world are you standing like that, is something wrong with your back? You’re arms look strong and it seems like you’re swinging correctly, but your back is wrenching you in the wrong direction at the last second”. Well you’re pretty surprised so you go to your doctor the next day and find out you’ve got a collapsed disc. After some treatments, physical therapy and some back strenghening you go back to the driving range. You step up, hit a few balls and suddenly you’re hitting them really far. You can’t belive how smooth and natural the swing feels and you think “no wonder I was having so many problems, I can’t believe I was even hitting it as far as I did”.

    Basically that’s living with ADHD before you know you have it, then realizing you do…

    I’d just like to back up some people here with my own personal experiences. I’m a 27 year old computer programmer and I’m currently working on a Master’s degree. I’m a VERY critical about what I belive in and in things in general. I finally self-diagnosed my ADHD (and later went to my doctor with it) about a year ago. It was very hard for me to accept that I did not have full control over what my brain was doing.

    However, I reached a turning point when I saw my work performance suffering and observed things in my behavior that just didn’t make sense. One of the biggest red flags for me was that I tried to have a 1 on 1 meeting with a co-worker about important tasks and I couldn’t keep myself focused on what he was saying. This is a co-worker that I’m friends with and we were discussing important work that I was heavily involved in and interested in. I would space out for minutes at a time and realize I didn’t remember anything he said for that entire time. I think that may be normal in a big meeting… or maybe even 1 one 1 talking to someone about something you’re not interested in. Of course there were many other symptoms.

    After more than 2 years at my new job I felt like I was barely scraping by performance wise. I had fights with my wife about her asking me to do things while I was in the car or somewhere else where I wasn’t able to write it down immediately and as a result completely forgot what she told me

    Since discovering what my condition was, then talking to my doctor about it, and starting on a very mild prescription (I get worse side affects from cold medicine)… I’ve seen pretty drastic changes in my life. About a month ago I got a bonus for work I’ve been doing and bonuses are very rare here. Instead of just barely doing well enough I’m at the point now where my supervisor tells me “man, we’re hearing some great things about you from the program office”. When a client had a major problem a few weeks ago, they chose me to fly across the country to take care of it. It’s the first time in my life where I feel like I’m actually close to my full potential. My interactions with my wife now are a whole other story I could get into. I’m actually the one that manages our finances now and helped to get our credit card debt almost completely paid off. It’s very rare for us to have LARGE fights like we used to. Of course we still have the normal ones… we all wake up cranky sometimes.

    After all this, I really feel the most important thing is understanding what your problems are. Even without my medicine I function much better because I understand WHY I think/feel/act the way I do, and I can manage it now.

  128. Sandy Le Ford says:

    Hello Taylor,

    We have an 11 yr old grandson with diagnosed ADHD. Although he is taking ritalin we have watched his frustration with this disorder. He is a brilliant young man but does not know how to work around this challenge. How will he benefit from reading your book & is it on the market yet?

  129. Stacey Cozad says:

    You are such an inspiration to me. I hope someday this condition will become more treatable and better understood by others. I also hope that schools will become better educated in how to work with these children. These are not problem children. I have a child with ADHD and I can see the brilliant mind that he has. Having a child with this condition can be very trying at times, but with love, patience and treatment they are no different that other children. Thank you!

    Stacey

  130. Kelly says:

    I cannot WAIT to get my copy of Blake’s book – and after reading these posts – GOD Bless YOU ADD Nurse!!! You have summed up ADHD better than anyone I have found in all of my research. ADHD IS a REAL diagnosis, a brain disorder, and it is not just behavioral. After 2 years of refusing to put my son on medication – out of fear, I finally gave in to his neurologist – who I trust with his life(he actually saved his life as an infant) and started Ritalin LA – just 10 mg on his first day of first grade. In exactly 2 weeks, my son went from not being able to write a single letter in his first name – to being able to write his full name on his own!!! (The medications have sorted out and connected alot of things for him – it is NOT just about behavior!)
    I wish we had our own ADD nurse!🙂

  131. Jen says:

    I have *something* wrong – I’ve heard ADD, ADHD, bipolar, schizophrenic, practically every illness within the “mental illness” spectrum. I don’t care to be diagnosed, nor do I want to go through the hell of trying one medication after another only to hear I was misdiagnosed in the first place. I know what’s up and I keep it to myself, and I demand the right to be an introvert and CONTINUE keeping it to myself – sharing it with those who make me feel safe only. Delightfully, I completely understood when I was younger that I was ostracized because I was mean to people. But I was mean to them usually because something they had done was perceived as mean by me. It didn’t really bother me that someone didn’t like me unless they were a bully and full on attacking me. It still doesn’t. And people call that mentally healthy and praise me on my ability to just “not care” if you like me or not….??? The last struggle I have is if there is no right way to be, then why is there a right way to be?

    Actually, ADD Nurse….they are talking about attempting to control diabetes without insulin. You truly have no idea what the human mind can do….It has been proven to make you sick and to make you well (the idea behind a placebo). Collectively, we all speak out at people like you: STOP TRYING TO DRUG US INTO BEING YOU!!!! Allow us to be individuals, allow us to grow and learn. Give us the tools we need to succeed without intervening with medication unless we’re physically harming people – which most of us don’t do. Your sight of “diagnosis = medication” is no better than that of a street corner drug dealer in my eyes.

  132. Rene says:

    I am 59 and have ADHA plus major depression. I have been married 4x (could not keep a marriage going) I have lost over 100 jobs. ( I was unable to follow directions plus I did things without thinking.) You would think I could figure it out but I still have difficulty daily. not structured, . I use to blurt things out without thinking. I have lost alot of people in my life including my son who has ADHD too. hes in the military and sounds wheird but they love him. he had so much energy wake up early, that he did alot of others jobs. he appears to have outgrown it but I haven’t. just packing a suitcase is a major endevor for me. everything takes me longer. I lose things and do stupid things daily. last week I was going too fast and put the chip from my camera into the film maker at walmart. well I put it into the wrong place. I have to wait untill the manager can take the entire machine apart..I have to do things 2 x longer because of the stops and starts. I have to make a list and cross things off. but if I put too many things on I get overwhelmed. so now I put 4 things on the list and finish those before I add anything else. I lose friends, family members. jobs, husbands. it feels like a wasted life. thank GOD for mapquest. when I was younger I got lost driving and it was so frustrating. now I am proud of the small things I acomplish. on jobs I get asked: do you have a disability? its so obvious something is wrong. at this age what can I do? does anyone have any advice??

  133. Donna says:

    Alex, for someone who obviously has no interest in the topic why did you even bother clicking the link????

  134. Mom of ADHD Son says:

    Having a 19 year old son who was diagnosed with ADHD at age 7, it has been an interesting ride. Learning to celebrate his enthusiasm and his excitement about everything around him was clouded by the stigma attached to ADHD. My heart has broken many times for him as teachers would ask “Have you not had your medicine today?” He is in his first year of college now, and still struggling. I’m anxious to get your book and find suggestions for my son. As hard as this is on the parent, the child suffers greatly. Thank you for giving a voice to this issue. ADHD is very real and it’s time we stopped blaming the child. It is much more than “just being a kid.”

  135. JK says:

    I am 30 yrs old, gainfully employed, have advanced degrees in science and law and I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was in middleschool. I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 7 years, designing drugs, so I know of “what I speak.” When I was diagnosed with ADHD my parents went through two separate doctors and they both diagnosed me w/ ADHD. My parents put me on ritalin, b/c my teachers (once a teacher reaches tenure they really don’t have to care about their students anymore) didn’t want to deal with me and doctors (they get paid alot to do this) ok’d it. Luckily for me, my parents stopped giving me ritalin when they saw what it did to my personality i.e. somber, boring, depressed, etc.

    Diagnosing a kid with ADHD and dosing the kid with drugs is an excuse for poor parenting and lazy teachers! Nevermind the unknown effects that the nuerologically active compounds have on a child/adolescent’s developing brain. The worst part is the message your are sending to the kid. When you diagnose a kid with ADHD you are giving them an excuse to fail…”I can’t take that class b/c I have ADHD or I need extra time on my test b/c I have ADHD”

  136. stephanie says:

    My 14 year old son has benn diagnosed adhd for about 10 years . I have tried everything to help him, but things are pretty bad. The school has refused to help him they have even denied that he has a disibility.Since kindergarten its been a huge battle just to get him an education. The school is now threatening to expell him. Do you have any suggestions?

  137. Liz says:

    WOW!!! I am 22 years old, female, and have severe ADHD. I am taking a break from college doing an internship at an international company. And they told me I was never going to graduate highschool!!! (I have a full scholarship to a great school!!) You are an awesome example of how this isn’t something horrible, that there are ways to work through and to succeed in life. That there is hope! I haven’t read any books recently on the topic due to the fact that it is always someone looking in….Studying us as if we were animals in the zoo. I am human! That is an awesome accomplishment that you wrote a book. I wish I had something like this growing up. What a service you have done for future generations that have been diagnosed with ADD. And good luck in college…..I found that is when my ADHD hit me the hardest🙂

    and p.s. For anyone who thinks ADD/ADHD doesn’t exist and they are just being called that because they are “fidgety.” Please do some research. Our brains function and work very differently than yours. We see things differently. We act differently. And if you still don’t believe in ADHD…..Why don’t you come and hang out with me for two days with out my medicine (lol!!!) and then two days with. I am actually normal on the medication because chemically I need it. I am not a “zombie.” And with out it, well I couldn’t even begin to describe what it is like. It is chaos inside without it. Before the medicine and the year I decided not to take it, (one of the worst decisions I have ever made) I was a social outcast, I didn’t fit in anywhere. No one understand why I would just start talking in mid conversation, no one understood why I did the things I did. I could not function. And I didn’t understand that I was being socially inappropriate or that anything was wrong at all. I had no sensor. All of the impulses that ran through my brain….were done. My self esteem was gone. And that was just my social life. School was much worse, and even worse was what happened in the relationships of those close to me. So please don’t make judgments you know nothing about. Seriously. Go spend some time with a mom who has a 7 year old with severe ADHD and then look her in the face and tell her it doesn’t exist. I bet you can’t. Anyways….Just my experience, strength and hope🙂

  138. joclynn says:

    way to go

  139. Spencer's mom says:

    The reason, ALEX, that Blake will sell books is because there are not enough ADHD success stories out there! Those of us who have loved ones who have this MEDICAL DISORDER have had to listen to uninformed people rant and rave about this “over-diagnosed and over-medicated” condition on the news and on the “soccer fields” for years! I personally am looking forward to reading something that gives us hope that our son, who is now 18 (but diagnosed in the 2nd grade), has a chance to have a normal adult life. While he does ok socially now (other than being very immature for his age) he has struggled with alienation and academics all his life. What this has done to his self-esteem is heart-breaking as he is a SMART kid! He will struggle to graduate this spring and college scares us to death!

  140. Larry Fisk says:

    Hello, My daughter is 15 and has ADHD. I would very much like to purchase a copy of the memoirs. Please send purchase info to the above email. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Larry

  141. Jeff says:

    ADHD is very over diagnosed and its shameful that parents expect doctors to validate their poor parenting skills with medication to sedate their children.

    Kids are not adults and you cannot expect them to act like adults. Manners and behavior are learned not inherited. If a child is acting out they need to be corrected, not medicated.

    Shame on the parents and people using it as an excuse.

  142. GEORGE LEVANDOWSKI says:

    My son has fragile-x syndrome, He has just turned 12 years old, And has been on medication for 10 years. My problem is that it seems like a roller coaster ride with medication. He is getting stronger and bigger and hard to handle, Im now at the point where I feel like trying to eliminate all medication , Just to see how he is. Somebody please help.

    thanks george

  143. Donella says:

    I have a son that is ADHD. He is a test of faith. He is 17 and its a daily struggle to get him to do school work or just anything that takes any thinking. He thinks taking the easy way is the best. I won’t him to succeed. What in the world can I do to motivate him? He is always wonting to play with fire or firearms. He scares me. He doesn’t have alot of interest in sports other than fishing and hunting. He loves to watch it on TV. He doesn’t have alot of friends his age. Most of them are younger. He is very shy. can you give me any advice?

  144. Lauren says:

    Blake,

    I am a high school teacher and plan to pick up your book. But what would your suggestions be to help make students with ADHD successful and interested in school?

    Thanks!

    Lauren

  145. Katrina says:

    I have submitt 2 comments both are no where to be found yet see negative and insulting comments ….

    Alex people who have ADHD (myself included) must struggle with everyday things. I think its remarkable that this kid can go beyond and able to succeed. Not to many people get notice for thier achievements when diagnoise with learning disabilities. ADD and ADHD are not dumb people but we do process information differently then others. Each case is similiar in some aspects but varies from case to case. I have an associates, Next year will be graduating with 2 bachelor’s degrees. Some cases works good with medication while some don’t.

  146. charlie says:

    I have an 18 yo son who was diagnosed at three. He was diagnosed young because of behavior issues. Though it did not come so easy. I was a young parent, so the first “accusations” were that I did not know how to be a good parent. Then it was he needs discipline….Well, after several visits to pediatricians and specialists, he was diagnosed not just ADHD, but with several learning disorders. He was put on occupational therapy and had extra support in school (starting at preschool). We also tried different medications. The first ones at age three did not work so we stopped. We then took at 10 week behaviur modification course and learned different techniques to adjust how to live life and succeed with ADHD. A few years later (after regualr elementary school became more of a challenge) we tried ritalin. IT worked great! My son made so much progress the school removed his IEP status. However at age 11 his body chemistry changed and ritalin made him depressed (what some call the zombie haze). We stopped. He then tried concerta (which he still takes) and again he is progressing. He is a year behind in shcool (we held him back) as he still struggles with some executive functions (organization is awful), but we work on it daily. He does have physical tics as well (arm flapping, getting on his toes, Etc) that the medication also helps control. As for an earlier comment about sports and clubs…well, team sports did not do well for him. His brain could not grasp the next “move” needed to make him effective (always a step behind the play in soccer) which hurt his self esteem HOWEVER he became a track star!!! Part of a team yet his individual effort allows him to react as he needs to. He has ran varsity since his freshman year! He is still a social misfit, not many friends etc, because the kids just do not know how to react to some of his outbursts..he is a sweet kid and others on his CC team like him (came to his bday party and such, went to homecoming party, etc), but have a harder time “connecting” with him. He will continue to struggle the rest of his life with this. and I LOVE HIM!!!!!
    For the naysayers…I wish you could walk just one day in these kids shoes….you would change your minds!

  147. Joan says:

    Blake…
    You are wonderful! My son Brian has been living with ADHD all of his life too. He is 23 and still struggling. He is attending a technical shool in St. Louis, MO and is struggling terribly to read entire paragraphs. He doesn’t like the way the medicine makes him feel, so he is really trying his best to do it without. He is carrying a B average but thinks that is not good enough. He is very hard on himself in everything he does. Do you have any suggestions that may help him. I think he would feel better if he had others he could talk to that have ADHD too. A group discussion I think would help him a great deal so he could understand how others are dealing with the problems.

  148. Donella says:

    Where can I get the book??? My son’s name is also Blake.

  149. Mike Nichols says:

    I am now 60. When I was young, there was no name nor diagnosis for ADHD. Sometimes people refer to A.D.D. and A.D.H.D. with the former being less hyperactive than the latter, and that describes me.

    I set fire to my grandfather’s house, the haystack in the back of my babysitter’s house and other weird things–just acting before I ever thought. I was always in trouble in school. The world’s solution to my activities and lifestyle was to beat me. I have received hundreds of spankings and pure beatings with a board.

    I was usually bored in school, though quite bright. Example: In the 6th grade we got the Iowa Basic Skills Tests and I beat the whole school. My reward was being sent to the principal’s office and chewed out for being a ‘slacker’ most of the time. I excelled in ANYTHING that was particularly interesting to me–notably math, science and English. In high school I took the SAT test and beat the whole school and got advanced placement out of college English while failing senior English. My reward? The English teacher never spoke to me again. The beatings never ceased until I graduated.

    A.D.D. people are most easily identified, I believe, by their incessant interrupting of others. It’s because their mind races ahead and is easily distracted, but they know from experience that if they don’t say something, then something else will seize upon their mind and they will forget what they meant to say—which they have incorrectly surmised that everyone else in the room is dying to hear.

    I only recently learned that A.D.D. is not really abnormal, but simply another way of life. No matter how much I have learned about it, however, I have not been able to defeat it; it slips up upon me unawares most of the time. I am also dyslexic somewhat.

    I am compulsive/obsessive and if the subject is interesting, then I learn it faster than anyone and retain nearly everything, but if I don’t like the subject, then it is hopeless.

    The net effect has been that I have taught myself most things in life by personal study, as I don’t follow instructions well. But I’m reasonably well adjusted and have a great family with 2 kids. (and grandchildren, which are God’s greatest prize)

    Thanks,
    Mike Nichols

  150. victoria says:

    I am disapointed to see so many posters here railing against appropriate drug treatment of persons with ADHD. Properly administered, drugs do not put those with ADHD into a “drug-induced haze.” Properly administered, they allow these persons to grab that piece of focus that they can not otherwise find, and use it to succeed.

    Yes, there may be too many children who are diagnosed with ADHD, and yes, drugs are not always correctly administered and followed, but these drugs are a God-send for those for whom they work. I speak as the mother of two young men who have been on drugs since they were diagnosed in early elementary school. One takes a stimulant drug, which actually serves to quiet his mind down, the opposite reaction that a person without ADHD would have. The other takes a non-stimulate based drug that allows him to focus. Without these drugs, my boys would be failing school now.

    I have spoken to and worked with many teachers who have become believers after seeing what a difference appropriate medication makes to a child’s ability to study and learn.

    Deciding to give your child is a difficult decision. Hearing others rail on about how bad it is does not make the decision easier.

  151. Susan Sosa says:

    Dear Blake:

    My son has ADHD, he is 8. He is on a low does of Ritalin. He knows that he has a problem and doesn’t understand it. He hates taking “the pill” because he doesn’t like the way it makes him feel. He also cannot eat during the day. I tried to explain to him tha the pill is helping him. His eyes hurt, his tics are more pronounced when he is on the Ritalin. What can I say to him to help him understand that this is helping him? What can I say to him to help him understand that I am doing this because I love him? He too has rarely any friends to play with. The other kids Mom won’t allow him to come over. I feel so
    bad for him. How did you overcome this? Sorry, I have so many questions.

  152. Deby G says:

    I didn’t get diagnosed until I was 32-years old. It’s nice to see Blake at college and doing so well for himself. I can only imagine where I would be now if I had the diagnosis when I was young. School was such a terrible struggle for me, and I too had no friends and spent some quality time in detention. Now here I am at 37, trying to learn all those social skills people take for granted you have when you reach adulthood. I hope Blake is able to continue to let the world know what is it really like to have ADHD. Maybe more people will understand it’s not just the hyper little kid bouncing around the room.

  153. Izadora says:

    Thank you Blake and Thank you ADD Nurse!
    My son was recently diagnosed with ADHD. I am in the process of gathering as much information as I can. I have learned so much in the last few weeks. The above comments have been very enlighting as well. For those parents who are looking for info, I found two web sites that have been helpful.

    chadd.org and schwablearning.org

    I hope our society becomes more educated about this diagnosis. The more we know the better. Maybe Brian should take a moment and educated himself before speaking. It sounds as if there might be a village looking for him.

    I am really looking forward to reading your book. Thank you again.

  154. tammy says:

    I’m looking forwarding to buying this book. I spent many years in denial about my daughter because I didn’t want to medicate her–I saw how many kids in school were medicated & didn’t believe ADD was a real problem–just like many people I thought it was a crock. Finally, after years of struggling, my daughter was diagnosed in 8th grade with ADD and we had my husband tested as well, and yes, he has ADD. As for my daughter, she still struggles and we’ve cried many tears over her. Life is just so difficult for her. She’s now a junior in high school and we’re hopeful she’ll graduate on time. She makes good grades on a daily basis but forgets to turn in her work, and also doesn’t do well on tests. She lacks reading comprehension skills. She’s even failed her written driver’s test 5 times (sigh). I hurt for her. As for her Dad, I always knew there was something wrong with him–he’s actually gone through over 50 jobs in his adult life. Let this be a lesson to anyone reading this that ADD is real and doesn’t go away–it gets worse. I’m only hoping that with meds my daughter can have a more successful life than her dad.

  155. soccermom04 says:

    I am going to go out and buy this book this weekend. I have a son who is now 13 and boy have we had issues. he is one of the most loving and caring individuals that you will ever come in contact with. However, he has been dealing with ADHD as well as epilepsy since the age of 2. we had him tested at 5 and put him on medication. that has worked, however, it breaks my heart to see all the kids around him asking each other to go here and go there but nobody ever asks him. He doesn’t understnad. He is immature but tries so hard to make friends but they just don’t understand.

    i have an 18 year old who has absolutely no struggles with school, is a straight A student and she is just now starting to see that he really does have issues. She found out the other day that he is eating lunch by himself on a daily basis. She asked why and he said well becuase if i ask the other kids they either make fun of me, try to trip me, or call me names, so it is easier to just sit down and eat!

    i truly hope that i can read the book and get some insight for me, my daughter, my son and my husband.

  156. Chris says:

    A question for Blake: How do you recommend a person with ADD choose and stick with a particular field of interest?

    In my experience, the only thing that helped was the presence of my dad, who would reinforce in me the things he saw that I seemed most interested in. When he passed on, my life became a mess; without this guidance and feedback, it has taken me over 10 years to learn how to orient and motivate myself. I’ve figured out what my values are, and I’m going back to MIT to finish my degree this fall, but it’s been a grueling effort to get to this point. Do you have any insights on what can help people when they don’t have someone to help them cope?

  157. Susan says:

    Blake,

    Congratulations on all your success! I have a 16 yr old son who was diagnosed ADHD at 4 yrs old. School was much more difficult in the beginning, but thanks to some wonderful teachers in middle school, he found his stride. High school brought forth more challenges since our “National Blue Ribbon HIgh School” refused to make the necessary accomodations for kids with IEP’s. For all parents who have found the same problem, the answer is to hire a big gun special education attorney. These guys will come into your IEP meetings and cut through all the crap the school throws at you. It was the best investment we could have ever made in our son’s life. Now that he gets the extra time he needs, he has a 4.0 and is actively looking at colleges. ADHD is a real condition and many schools just want kids to grow out of it to make their lives easier. Parents – know your rights and advocate for your child!

  158. Lora says:

    Thank-you for writing this book. My son’s greatest help when he was growing up was a young person with ADHD 5 years older than him who he could talk to about things. As you can see by many of the comments some people just think children are active and the diagnosis of ADHD is a cop out to good parenting or good teaching. Yes, children can be active, but ADHD is real. My son was significantly more active than all the other children. He was unable to keep a pencil to paper when he got to school. We worked with him every day and along with his teachers through 3rd grade before we finally decided to medicate him. I was an “un-believer”, but for him, medication was a miracle!! I also cannot say enough great things about our school system and how much we supported each other, and how he got the greatest teachers. He stayed on meds through high school and is now in his Junior year of college and has been unmedicated in college. He might do better academically with it, but he’s made that decision, and he’s learning about himself. Please support children with ADHD, they have amazing potential!!

  159. Scott says:

    Yes ADD and ADHD are real. I don’t think that is the debate. I think the proper debate is what to do with that information. Some people call it a chemical imbalance, and yes it may be a chemical imbalance. However, why is that a thing that needs to be manipulated through medications? Why not accept a person for who they are? Why does a kid have to be in the 90th percentile in school to be successful? Maybe some kids won’t excel in school. Ask yourself if it is better to have your child as they are and accept them for it or is it better to have a kid that you have manipulated through medicine? While we’re at it let’s inject our kids with HGH so they can be taller and stronger because without streoids and hormones they won’t succeed in sports!

  160. Tony says:

    Blake: does your book recommend learning styles or other behavioral techniques that someone with ADHD attributes can use, rather than medicating the condition with questionable drugs? Certainly there may be severe cases where drugs are required, but I agree with a lot of the comments here that question our society’s eagerness to solve every condition with a drug. I worry in particular about my son, who has a family history of drug abuse. To treat his ADHD with a mind-altering substance would seem to run the risk of conditioning him (or his body) to depend on a substance for control, rather than controlling the condition through the way he approaches learning, social situations and other life activities. I know you aren’t a medical expert, but as someone with ADHD, what are your thoughts or advice on this topic?

  161. Leigh Wells says:

    Kudos to you Blake. Our 17 yr old daughter was diagnosed in 3rd grade with ADHD and has been accepted to college in the fall. Kids with ADHD/ADD are very bright kids that think out of the box and are creative. What is so sad is most public schools do not take the time to work with these kids and their different learning styles. We experienced this her freshman year of high school. Our daughter has a LD as well in reading comprehension and does better having English at the first part of the day(made this determination in middle school)…her high school would not accomodate this and gave her English as her last class of the day. Needless to say she did not do well. We finally had to pull her out of the public school system and enrolled her in the Fletcher School in Charlotte NC. This wonderful school has taught her how to accomodate herself in learning and she will graduate in May with a GPA of a 3.5. It is sad to think of the kids that cannot afford a private school like this one and falling in the cracks of public school. It makes me cringe to think of how she would be today if we would have left her in the public school she was attending. But should we as parents have to pay for private schools for teaching that should be given in a public school setting. NO!

  162. tammy says:

    you obviously don’t have a child with ADD. If you did you would be heartbroken over their struggles & do anything you could to help ease the pain. A pill doesn’t change my daughter’s life. It just helps her focus a little at school so her self esteem has a chance. I do love her for who she is and I hope she never loses her sparkle & shine, but the reality is that one day she’ll need to hold down a job & support herself. If you read my note above, you’ll see how difficult that is in reality.

  163. sigh says:

    Ohh, and comparing ADD or ADHD with diabetes or cancer is misrepresentative. Diabetes and cancer are real diseases with serious physiological effects, they can be detected through blood screening and CAT scans. Does ADHD show up on a CAT scan? NO. Can it be detected by a blood test? NO. Is it detected by a series of questions such as “I have a hard time concentrating” or “In social situations I often wander from one group to another”? YES. In this ADHD is like Anxiety or Depression, it is a disorder, NOT a disease. To call it a disease devalues those who are truly sick in the same way that would be insipid, trivializing (sp), and insulting to compare alcoholism and diabetes.

  164. Lori says:

    I have a daughter who is now 23 yrs old who was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 8,,she was put on ritalin which almost killed her the side effects of this drug are horrendous,,it is as addictive as COCAINE she was taken off this drug about five years after she started and began to get better,,she is now working full time and in colledge ,,I am also raising her daughter and i see similarities and i beleive she is also ADHD,,,I have opted for the natural treatment which is L-theanine and omega fatty acids DHA,EPA,AA and GLA which promote brain and eye development and mental calmness without the drugs it is all natural and no side effects she is in senior K and doing very well ,,,I think your book would be very informative but there is no need for teachers to push drugs on small helpless children and parents who are at their wits end,,,there are other alternative out there,,,and is sfer for our babies

  165. Mary says:

    I would like to know where I can get the book. I have a teenage daughter that is ADHD and would love to get the book for her.

  166. LAW says:

    Blake,
    My children have ADHD and raising them was such a struggle. I didn’t really understand even though we had the diagnosis. I hope all parents who suspect their child is ADHD will read your memoir. If we understand- we can help our children have better life experiences. Please use your influence any way you can and good luck to you. You will no doubt inspire so many people to find their internal strength and become winners.

  167. Jennifer Satter says:

    I was in tears at my son’s parent teacher conference last night. His teacher has given up on him and won’t cooperate with me on the recomendations from his psychologist. He is very bright and I want for him to succeed so bad (he tests at a 10th grade level even though he’s never finished a single chapter book or written a complete paper). Your story is very encouraging to me.

  168. Evelyn Chassagne says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! for sharing your experiences as a young person with ADHD. My son, JAC, who is 8 years old was diagnosed when he was in Kindergarten. After blaming myself and wondering “why me?”, I educated myself and researched ways to better help him. In third grade, his Catholic School teacher virtually castigated him on a daily bases; he hated going to school, felt thisbig and manifested low self esteem. What a horror that was!
    After transferring to another school, with a teacher who is educated on ADHD/ADD, JAC has blossomed. We did a lot of damage control, but our son loves school now.
    I pray every day that he gets to the point you are now – a successful college student.
    Thank you for sharing your story. I know my son will succeed – I’ll make sure of that. But, the rest of society (including teachers) need to keep abreast on these issues and understand that all kids are not cut from the same cloth.

  169. wendy says:

    I would like to see more recommendations on where people of different ages with ADD can find help. Most of the “untreated” ADD adults I know do not have the patience and focus to sit down and read a book on the topic but their SPOUSES do!
    One ADD friend says he gets all his info ..not from reading but from talking with other people or from hearing things on the radio or tv..He “doesnt have time to read”.
    Maybe there are Tapes and CDs for the ADD adult ?
    What books are recommended for helping an ADD adult spouse?

  170. Laurie says:

    Blake,

    Congratulations on your book, what an eye-opener for so many people around the world. I, like so many others, have a son that was diagnosed with ADHD & ODD. What a different world we live in. There are so many things that other parents take for granted when parents of children with ADHD have so many obstacles.

    My son at age 8 needed to go to fire school, has been brought home by the police, suspended so many times, 5 already – and he’s only in 3rd grade! Some meds have helped where others have caused more issues. I applaud your efforts to make it known that children with ADHD are not “on purpose” rude, disobedient or rough because they’re choosing to be – but because they can’t help themselves. My son cannot seem to control any type of impulses that he might have. It’s left my life very complicated and lonely at times.

    Let’s be honest, who wants to watch a 9 year old child when they need to worry about them swearing, hitting, or just plain acting out. I’m so afraid to hire a babysitter because I’d probably come home to find them duct-taped in the closet!!! My son has been asked to leave several child care centers, after-school programs – I’ve at times have given up on trying to hold a permanent job for the fact that I know, I will get a call and need to leave. My other son, who is 12 just thinks his brother is a “freak” or at times calls him “mental”. I’ve explained that behavior like this just makes it worse but being only 12 is hard. I know and so does he, that his brother gets the attention because he “needs” more of it. It’s a hard road to walk down.

    I applaud that a young man as of yourself has taken the time to educate others. Thank you.

    Laurie

  171. Grace says:

    Would love a copy of this book to read! My grandson, who is now 8, was diagnosed at 4 with ADHD. He is a tiny thing because the drug he is on suppresss his appetite and he sleeps less and less. We look forward to summer vacations when he does not need the medication. But the downfall is the increase in his distructive behavior and weird actions (he is fixated on tieing up things with rope/string, etc), not to mention his love of fire!

  172. Kurt says:

    Hi Blake. I was wondering if you feel that today’s culture is perhaps to blame for the spike in ADHD diagnoses? Many young people today begin multi-tasking at a very early age, juggling school, sports, activities, and entertainment (internet, movies, tv, video games). Do you think that this, along with the pressure to exceed and do well, especially in terms of getting into college, exacerbates and brings out ADHD symptoms that might not otherwise appear?

  173. Chuck says:

    I feel so sorry for kids today, many of them having to live their lives on medication. Medication is just another word for drugs. I’m 44 and I remember as a child, I cut up in class all the time. I just wanted to play. I did not want to sit down. Being a little minority boy, the teachers came down on me hard. I could not stand teachers. I got tired of going to the Principals office.

    Just last year my mother told me that when I was in second grade a teacher told her that she would be lucky if her child would make a living in the labor field. They wanted my parents to try all kinds of experiments on me, and my parents refused to do it. They thought I was a bright kid and did not believe what they were being told, and certainly did not want to institutionalize me or drug me up.

    By the time High School came along, I got better. My grades improved and I wasn’t as restless in class. I went on to earn a BA and an AS. This little minority kid destined for the labor fields is now an Engineer. I earn three times the money that those teachers that came down on me ever earned.

    Sure there must be some kids that need medical help to keep it all together. But I do not believe that most do. Please America let the kids be kids. Let the boys play, and let the girls dream. Maybe someday that girl dreams up a cure for cancer. Change the educational system so that it is not so rigid, and allows the kids some flexibility. Let’s get the kids out of the classroom setting and into a setting where they can learn things hands on.

  174. Raylee Watson says:

    First of all, i disagree totally with whomever stated that ADHD is a real disorder. I spent quite a while researching this diagnosis a few years ago, and I believe that this is a false diagnosis. I agree with the fact that they overdiagnose and overmedicate this disorder. What most people don’t know about this disorder is that it can also be treated in many ways, like a homeopathic treatment, or eating specific foods to help your mood. Another statement i have to say about why i believe ADHD is a false disorder is because children will only act as they were taught. By saying that a child is “ADHD” is saying that the child has been raised as they have been taught.

  175. Sharon says:

    As a mother of a 15 year old girl with ADHD, I am very interested in reading about your experiences. Reading through people’s comments, I was amazed at people’s views on medication. When you have a child that cannot function normally with her peers, who upsets her home and school life on a daily basis and who has very low self-esteem, why would a parent not try any and all help that is available? My daughter has been taking Strattera along with an anti-anxiety medication for OCD for several years. That along with positive parenting (praising even if you have to make up something to praise) has made all the difference in her life. Maybe some day she can go off medication, but if not, she will be okay. My brother lived with undiagnosed ADHD until his untimely death at the age of 34, by his own hand. I will not risk this with my child nor let her suffer every day of her life. She is now happy, our family is happy and we feel very fortunate to have found a way to cope with this in our lives.

  176. timothy says:

    This is a post AGAINST giving drugs to children with ADHD.
    At 2 years old I was diagnosed with ADHD and back in the 60’s even less was known about the disorder than now.
    The doctor prescribed Dexedrine and I was on it until I was 13.
    I took 3 tablets in the morning and the school nurse gave me 3 at lunch.
    I’ll be honest…it was HELL!
    My appetite was little to none…and the voices in my head were non stop!
    I noticed the voices by the time I was 8.
    They weren’t telling me to do anything wrong or anything like that….it was just that my mind was racing and I felt like I was cinstantly arguing with myself.
    I would often catch myself telling myself to “shut up” because of the strange “comments” I would hear in my head.
    My mother even over heard me saying this to myself out loud a few times….she then sent me to a psychologist to find out what was wrong with me!

    It was a constant battle EVERY DAY just to cope with the mental struggles these drugs imposed on me, and it wasn’t till I STOPPED taking them that the voices went away and I felt normal.

    I was a C student in school but was reading at a 12 grade level in 6th grade. All my teachers said I had SO much potential but just didn’t apply myself. And like most kids with ADHD I too was a class clown.
    I found I was well liked by my peers but was disruptive during class.
    I just hated quiet places like libraries and study hall….or detention which I found myself in a lot…especially on the days I refused to take my medication.

    I’m 42 now and own my own business and have no signs of ADHD nor do I hear “voices” any more.
    If your a parent thinking of putting your kids on drugs, PLEASE reconsider! The doctor told my mother that I would out grow ADHD when I reached puberty (which I did) and the hell that the kid goes through mentally is not worth it!

    Bottom line, children with this disorder are smart, creative, highly intelligent individuals with a lot of extra energy that simply needs proper direction.
    Parents don’t need to give drugs to kids with ADHD so their child can live a normal life…parents simply give drugs to their kids with ADHD so THEY can deal with THEIR CHILD!!!
    Let the kid live and enjoy life as it comes….bumps, bruises, stitches and all.
    Kids will be kids.
    If YOU need drugs to cope with that, so be it!

    Tim

  177. honeybee33 says:

    THANK YOU, ADD Nurse, for providing an educated and enlightening response to these comments!

    I am a 45-year-old woman who was only recently diagnosed with ADHD and I wish that I hadn’t spent the first half of my life enduring the humiliation and suffering incurred in repeated failure, rejection, and punishment for something my brain chemistry does irrespective of my will. “Drug-induced haze?” Drugs have helped me be more alert and focused so I can keep a frickin’ job and a roof over my head while I learn the behavior-mods and “work-arounds” to make it in this society.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if just saying, “Let people be themselves. Let people live the lives they want!” could be enough to change our world? The entire structure of our society rewards those who can sit quietly, stay focused for hours at a time, use “common sense,” prioritize for themselves, and get along smoothly and politically, and rejects those who can’t – and that’s not gonna change any time soon.

    So, anything that helps others understand what it’s like inside my head – all of our ADHD heads! – is sorely needed and heartily welcomed. Thank you, Blake! I look forward to reading your book.

  178. Kirsten says:

    As a person who has struggled with ADD all my life, I must say that I am extremely thankful for the medications available for ADD/ADHD today. Before I was officially diagnosed and perscribed medication, I was doing badly in school and my self-esteem suffered terribly. I was convinced that I wasn’t as smart as my classmates, when in reality I was just as smart, if not smarter, than students doing excellent in school. As soon as I started taking the medication, I could see a huge difference. My parents and my teachers could see the change as well. I was able to focus and take notes. My grades improved greatly and I was more organized than ever before. I understand why some people may be against giving their children the medication, but I’d really like them to know that it doesn’t change the person who’s taking it. If anything, it benefits them greatly! Take advantage of the gift they’ve been given. Support them and allow them to make the most of their education from an early age…

  179. ADD 8th grader says:

    Hey I am a 14 year old girl in 8th grade and my mom was told that I had ADD when I was in 1st grade. It was always hard to try and foucase but since the first year that we have known I have been going phsychostric every 6 months, phic nurse every 3 months and taking meds. I have understood ADD since the 3rd grade so I knew when I had to change something in my life if I could not foucase. I hear my friends and other people talking about it mocking it and thinking they know all about it and they treat it like people with it are just plain dump. Well look at me I am a straight A student,who is a vet chess player, choir member, trumbonists, MVP softball player, MVP volleyball player, and I also play any sport I can and I am great at all of them plus I am stronger than a 24 year old guy.I do know many people who are not on meds and still are like me,but they have loads of will power.I still forget things very easily if I don`t take my meds and I also am very hungery too. If I took my meds for a month then the next month I did not you would see a horrible drop in my grades. you see I have ADD and I am not embassihed to say it infact it is just my mom.

  180. ADD 8th grader says:

    Pyper as a 14 girl in the same postion as your daughter I found that adderal works best for me cause my mom and I know that I have no sideaffects from it. Once when I had to up my dos. to a much higher level my doc suggested using a low dos. of a more powerful drug called adderal XR and it did help me conitrat better but I had side affects much like most who take this more powerful drug and the afects for me were horrible night mares that I had everynight and also this drug lasted 2 times longer as the other and I was switch back cause my mom felt that bad dreams should not happen and why should my daughter be under the affects longer and still be under them well after the time they were needed. So i went back to my first drug but it had to be increased and depending on my weight and height sometimes still must be increased. The dos and power of a drug must be controled on the facts of how litte attetion span you have and like I said before your height and weight. So in othr words I say plain adderal works best

  181. Jackson says:

    In response to Scott’s comment:
    I am 11 years old and would still be sitting next to the teacher without medication. I am now an honor role student with straight A’s and have just
    been accepted into a gifted summer program. Now my next thing to tackle is my organizational skills. Does anyone have any tips on remembering to write down assignments in my planner (I always forget)!

  182. Julie says:

    Lauren,

    You must be an amazing teacher if you are willing to ask the question, “What can you do to help?”

    From a mother who has had a horrible experience with at least one teacher I can tell you that first and foremost letting your student know you care how well they do and that you would like to see them succeed is the first step. So many educators don’t care and only see these children as an obstacle or that they are lazy and unmotivated. My son’s third grade teacher belittled and ridiculed him intentionally making him stand out in the classroom in front of his peers. This was very damaging to his self esteem.

    I don’t know what the law are regarding teacher’s and talking about ADHD but even if you could compassionately talk to the student and parents and let them know that you are not a doctor but that you see many of the characteristics of ADHD and that you bring it up to them not because you are an advocate of medication but so that they can make informed decisions as to how best to help their child succeed. Work with them to help implement strategies for their child. Medication is not for everyone, but medication or not, children with ADHD still need to find ways to navigate through this disorder and know that they are weird or stupid that they are among a large group struggling with a disorder and that there is help out there for them.

    The mom who loves her boys.

  183. Bonnie Stanley says:

    Congratulations Taylor,
    I’m a sixty six year old woman, and back in the olden days they just called us ‘stupid, incorrigible, uncontrollable, rebellious, or just plain out of control’. Worse yet was I also couldn’t seem to learn how to read; they didn’t know about dyslexia back in those days. I finally overcame that when I started raising my own children. Over six decades I picked up a few little trick that have helped me immeasurably, as it appears you have also. I look forward to getting your book and find what secret tricks I can pick on from you. One good thing about the struggle of ADD is that you learn, all the more, how to appreciate the challenges you have overcome. We may have been slow, but we were never stupid. I don’t forget what takes so long to learn, and as the saying goes, “You;re either green and growing or ripe and rotting”.

  184. Tim's Mom says:

    I congratulate you on your accomplishment and wish you the best going forward, and I am very interested in reading your book (including to my son, if age appropriate, to help him understand what he may be experiencing). As a parent of an 8 year old boy who has been diagnosed with ADHD, you can find yourself experiencing an assortment of feelings, including confusion and despair. I want to do the best job possible in raising my son and I have already been faced with many different decisions to make – some easy (i.e. intervention by the Child Study team at his school), and some difficult (i.e. medication).

    I’m grateful for some of the very useful and knowledgable comments and suggestions from some of your readers, and now I would like to know from your standpoint what your parents and family have done for you that have helped you to achieve so much and overcome or deal so well with this “disorder.” It would also be instrumental to me to hear how they dealt with your “disorder” when they were made aware of what it was. Did they share the same feelings that I have (and continue to experience)?

  185. chris says:

    twice exceptional diagnosis,has anyone checked to see how this shows similar caractaristics to add adhd ,great to see blake enlightening so many keep up the good work

  186. Ellen says:

    Congratulations! This sounds like a wonderful book and I look forward to reading it and gaining some insights into the life of a child with ADHD. And good for you for furthering your life with a proper education – perhaps you will be doing future research on ADHD yourself!

    I’ve read some of the comments on here, not all, so it may have already been mentioned on here, but any children struggling in school with ADD/ADHD should have an Individulized Education Program (IEP) covered by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

    ADD/ADHD is also covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act to protect discrimination against persons with this disorder. Of course, that’s all just wasted legislation according to the naysayers who think it’s just “made up” by parents to hide their bad parenting skills. “Don’t tell me your blind, Billy. You can see, you just aren’t trying! Boy, I’m a gonna teach you to see if it’s that last thing I do!” Yeah, that’s some real good parenting there, that is.

    Lastly, medication decisions should be left to the parents of any child – not just for ADD/ADHD but for any disease or ailment. The responsibility for that child remains with that parent, and that entails making difficult choices. Until you’ve faced those challenges yourself, back off.

  187. mamapeter says:

    I haven’t read each and every comment here but it’s clear that this is a controversial and often misunderstood condition (btw, it’s not a disease).

    Consider your words carefully. When you criticize a parent for their lack of correct parenting skills with a difficult child, why not step into their shoes for a little while? Parenting is the most difficult job in the world. Children are each individuals, each unique, full of self, needing guidance, direction, discipline, love, respect, honesty, and parents who care what happens in their lives. Each parent of a child who is not easy to parent should be supported by those around them, helped along the way to discover ways that help their children on a successful road in life.

    Sure, some parents ditch their responsibilities. Some doctors over diagnose this condition. But far and away, there really are kids out their with a medical condition that needs help. Each case is different. Each child is precious, valuable, worth the time, energy and love to get them on their way. Some really do need medication, some can work through this without it.

    This condition is the real deal, and these kids need help and compassion. Not being told they are living in excuses.

  188. Katrina says:

    People who don’t have love ones or have the disorder will think its an excuse on how a child behaves or raise.

    My sister and I grew up side by side. I struggle while wishing I was her. She didn’t have my learning disabiliites and each doctor i was taken to, diagnoise me with something different from the one before.

    We have grown up now. I have not yet had kids but she has. Her two children unfortunatly inherited the ADD and ADHD genes.

    Mine and my sister relationship stuggled through life, but now she has this compasion and respect for me that she never had before she had kids with the same disability.

    I am ADHD / CPAD / mild autistic and i am able to hold down a job while paying for my own school.

  189. Paul says:

    Blake,

    Good for you. I am ADD, and I only realized it at the age of 53.

    I gentleman and very nice man I have emailed a few times would be proud of you, I am sure. That person is writer and book critic, Walter Kern, who writes for Time and Vanity Fair.

    Walter’s book, Thumbsucker, is based on himself, a young guy in HS with ADD, who goes on to be a very successful writier.

    The book was made into a feature film starring Keanu Reeves, Benjamin Bratt, and many others popular stars a couple of years back.

    I urge anyone reading this entry to read the book and see the movie, which is now out on DVD.

  190. Jessica says:

    Thank you. Maybe this will help to understand my son a little more.

  191. joey says:

    im sure all these skeptics are the same ones who tell me im some con artist manipulating the system with my bipolar disorder to take “the easy way out.”

    its hilarious because im sure these skeptics wouldnt last a day if they lived in the serious mental conditions some of us are plagued with. so i guess you’re not as smart as you think you are if you think you can tell people you dont even know, about struggles that are beyond what most people go through.

    by the way, to those questioning how he was able to write a book if he had ADD… im sure most of you realize that autism is a real disorder, and if you believe that statement to be debate-able you need to check yourself. yes well if you actually KNOW what autism is (which im guessing a lot of you dont lol seeing as these comments have painted a picture of egocentricity — which for those not familiar with what that is either, has nothing to do with egotism in the context of “stroking ones ego”), you would be in awe to find that A WOMAN WITH ACUTE AUTISM WROTE A MEMOIR AS WELL.

    hm… maybe you all should tell HER and her parents that because autism is becoming more recognized that autism doesn’t exist. im sure her parents would appreciate being informed of this. and that also, with the respect to parents who take care of children with ADD and bipolar.

  192. Kim says:

    I saw this posting a couple of weeks ago and ordered the book. I have a 14 yr. old with ADD and thought this would be a great book for us. I read it and loved it! I lappreciated how Blake gave his solutions to the problems he faced. I see my child experiencing some of the same things and have already started to use some of his suggestions.

  193. Susan says:

    Are any of the under 30yr group thinking beyond great speeches?? Like Michele Obama for the last 20 some years has been ashamed of our country, but now that a black man is running she’s proud for the 1st time, does someone that has that much disrespect for our country deserve to be 1st lady, I don’t think so and I urge you all to get beyond his good looks, his elegant speeches and think of this if we excuse people for what they think because of what they were brought up believing do we really think that Obama was of a different belief from Rev Wright.

  194. ATL JAY says:

    Blake:
    I wandered through life aimlessly as an A- student. Then I was diagnosed ADHD (apparently I did not follow dots on a computer screen quickly enough).
    My life changed for the better. I got a law degree, passed the bar, and now I have my own successful practice.
    I have not used ADHD medication since taking the bar exam.
    Looking back I wonder if I really do/did have ADHD, or if I was just a guy of average intelligence, who used “performance-enhancing drugs” to achieve a goal for which I was otherwise too unmotivated to strive.
    Is this common? Does your book address this?
    Thanks.

  195. Linda says:

    Blake:
    My son was diagnosed with ADHD at age 7. We are on our 3rd prescription to help with impulsivity, fidgiting and distraction.
    Today was another difficult morning getting my son to prepare himself for 2nd grade. I usually try to look at the situation positively, but was finding myself thinking of a good punishment for later.
    Today I heard your conversation on KVSS website.
    Thank you for all of the great advice.
    My thoughts have been redirected. From negative to positive again.
    I will discuss with my son his strengths. I will begin and teach him how to advocate for himself.
    Thank you.

  196. Brad says:

    Dude I read your book you rock. Also I have AD/HD and it helped me out a ton.
    Thanks

  197. Jacob says:

    I am 12 and i have adhd thanks for telling me how to do good and control my adhd and that you rock and it help alot thanks a bunch

  198. Jacob says:

    Im also reading your book

  199. Tylor says:

    As I read threw the postings, my heart felt the pain so many go threw each day. My Dad took on 2 grandsons with ADHD and it was living He**. They used him and even told lies about him. He is now dead and one of the boys as well. They we’re found dead. We have investatiors searching and reviewing all for A letter was left from grandson stating why he took his life. Parents today need to devote their time to their children and lets get everyone in on it to help and with love to these children. Taylor, I give you a 10+ as well as all that stood by you. We have been living in a nigt mare for over a year for the mom of the child gave away parental rights and now returns to cash in on what ever she can, She is trying to sue DHHR, the family estate, CPS and Lord knows who else. Out children need us no matter what and it’s so easy to toss them off to the state these days. For all of you with this illness, do talk and open up to others with it and not to strangers that can use it against you to harm you more. Love is forever so remember this when you start feeling down.

  200. elsierileyt says:

    Dear Blake: I am a grandmother of a grandchild that was adopted who has adhd. Your book was so informative and confirmed all the problems that my children have had. My grandson is now eight years old. In your book you do not ever talk about being confronted with drugs, which is a great concern when in high school. Were you ever confronted with drugs, and if so how did you deal with this problem? I hope that your book will reach every school in america!!! Please all teachers read this book as it will help every child born with ADHD. Also, please reinforce that taking a drug in not bad, not bad, so many parents feel, that it is. I for one have seen such a difference in my grandchild since he began his medication. Before he began taking medication it was definitely causing rifts in my childrens, marriage. so thank you for stressing that an ADHD child take his medication. It makes a difference. I also hope that all grandparents will read your book, so that they can not only understand an ADHD child but also uinderstand what their children are going through to raise this type of child and the patience required. Once again, I applaude you for writing this book. It is truly a gift for parents, teachers, and grandparents, and all others who wish to know more about ADHD children. They are truly a gifted child. Most sincerely, Elsie Riley

  201. nancy says:

    Hi Blake:

    I am the mother of an adopted 18-year old beautiful daughter. She is highly intelligent, was extremely careful during high school, not to get involved in any drugs or drinking or skipping school – she passed with honors – she had and still has no real friends to speak of – she has always had a boyfriend and has stuck like glue to the boyfriend – she was not promiscuous – did have really only one boyfriend through school – atlhough we couldn’t see a thing about him, he was someone who made her feel quite worthless – she has no self-esteem. She recently broke the relationship off and was marvelous at her sister’s wedding as maid of honor. We were so proud and felt that she had come so far. She has always had her family’s love and support.

    She was diagnosed with ADHD when she was 14 years old but I felt that she had some sort of mental illness. Her actions spoke volumes.

    We have been seeing an adolescent behavioral physician for a number of years and I believe this has helped her cope somewhat. She has refused any type of medication for her ADHD (they called it social adhd when she was diagnosed).

    I am absolutely heartbroken that recently she has met a new fellow and within two months moved out of our home into the basement of his home with his mother and his brother (they all smoke – so she virtually went from a loving non-smoking home to sleeping in a basement with three smokers). She doesn’t look well. She isn’t acting happy. She isn’t staying in touch with us. She says she needs to find herself. She says she is getting “all kinds of different thoughts and emotions in her head that are cross signalling.” She is acting very stressed.

    I am quite concerned because my daughter has always required structure, organization, proper sleep, proper eating habits, her clothing all has to be hung up just properly, her room is completely neat and tidy, she has her T.V., she has her earphones at her bed, she has her comforter that she likes to sleep with, (you get the picture, I am sure). My concern is that she has left all of this – has not come home for any clothes, has not missed her dog, has not seen her family, has canceled each and every dinner I’ve invited her to.

    I guess my question to you is, could Social ADHD be responsible for this sudden behavior change – I went immediately to her doctor and expressed my concerns – her response was that the child is now 18 and that I have been “doing this for a long time for her.” It is now time to “let her go.” I can’t let her go, not like this –

    I would love to hear what you think about it all.

    Take care
    Nancy

  202. nancy says:

    Blake, I forgot to congratulate you. You are truly an inspiration.

    I also should have mentioned that I have seen my daughter struggle on a daily basis for a number of years; she has struggled with family get togethers and with school, she has struggled with relationships with girlfriends and has really gone from “group to group.” She seems to be the “common denominator here.”

    One thing to mention: She did have teachers who didn’t understand her – and others who would call me to advise that she hadn’t handed in papers. My daughter was one who did all of her homework and would read me poems that she had written etc – I would tell the teachers that she had in fact done the homework because she had read me the poems or other work and she insisted that she had handed in all work completed. My husband and I started to find the homework tucked away in other booked – for example, the poem would be in the math book and the math homework would be in the english book. I just thought I would mention that to parents who may be trying to figure out why their kid aren’t doing their homework! They may be doing it and forgetting where they put it.

    I also have had times where my daughter has left the home in anger and would not come home (for a night – around 15 years old) – I would sum up the courage and swallow my pride and call the parent of the child that she wanted to stay with – there have been times where mothers are waiting at the window for my child at 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. – I will never forget these women – although they didn’t have children with adhd, they were kind to help me during these difficult times. They know who they are.

    I also neglected to mention that my daughter, in the past years, has called me from school to tell me that she can’t stay – she has to go home- I would allow her to go home – I work in health care and I figure if someone was having an attack of colitis or Crohn’s, they would be allowed to go home.

    She was also allowed to do pretty much what she wanted within reason – for example, if she wanted to go to have a coffee with a friend at 9:00 p.m. it was easier to allow her to go for an hour than to say no and have 10 hours of screaming, slamming doors, music blaring – my mother didn’t always understand my logic behind my decision but I think it is clear from reading some of the comments here that unless you are living in it, you really cannot comment appropriately – you don’t know how you would react in a similar situation.

    My daughter has struggled but has won many battles because she is intelligent, strong and loved. I think that’s why we feel so heartbroken with her recent change towards us. I can’t help but worry about the fact that she really only left with two pairs of pants and a few shirts etc – leaving all of her belongings concerns me so much.

    The last thing I neglected to mention is that she jumps from pillar to post in her future aspirations. For instance, she wanted to be an automechanic, so went for one semester to college and got a 92% average and now wants to be a nurse, then changed her mind and wanted to take some courses on line but now wants to take business courses and then maybe back to racing cars……she can’t sit still,….. she can’t relax …….she can’t go to movie theatres ……she really doesn’t like restaurants ……..but she is working 5 days a week with my sister right now and is doing a really good job.

    She lies, however, and truly believes what she is saying –

    It is a very sad situation and although some people would not agree with medication, I can’t help but wonder if we should not have pushed this a little when she refused. We always wanted to support her decisions but were we too leniant?

    Nancy

  203. Jharrison says:

    Blake,

    My son who is now 13 is devouring your book. He has found a kindred spirit and my husband and I can’t be more pleased that he now realizes he shares this “gift” with a lot of young people…in particular, one as successful and bright as you. THANK YOU!

  204. Susanne Neslen says:

    Hi Blake

    Have just read your incredible book – absolutely riverting – read it in one day as I could not put it down. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I am very interested in ADHD and have read many books and papers on the subject. In fact for some time I have been hoping to do voluntary work with people with ADHD, once I have received the appropriate training. Your book really did give me a deeper understanding of what it is like for a person with ADHD.

    I wish you all the luck for the future and know that for people with ADHD everything is much harder to achieve than for those without this condition. However, I would say that your high intelligence, strength of character, zest for life (and not least your marvellous parents) will see you through to a very successful life.

    All the luck in the world, to you!

    Susanne Neslen, Buckinghamshire, U.K.

  205. peggy Lui says:

    finished reading your book in two days. it’s amazing to see a ADHD boy well treated by medicine and becomes so organised in finish writing a book to share his inner world. I have provide treatment for ADHD children among the chinese community for 18 years. I am sure the other ADHD children and especially those high functioning kids would benefit from being able to see you did make your way to University. You are one of the outstanding survivors among all in the pool, hope there are more to come because your sharing. I am very much looking forwards to see your book being translated in Chinese.

    Wish you all the best in the career to come after you graduate

    Peggy Lui, Sai Kung, HKSAR

  206. Vibrant says:

    you say: Why BLACK AIDS DAY?

    HIV/AIDS are ravaging the black community. Thus special attention is deemed necessary to tackle this problem.

  207. Gina Pera says:

    I love Blake’s book. It’s full of great stories — honest, tear-jerking, and hilarious — and equally full of thoughtful insights and important strategies. It’s a must-read for teens and young people (even older people) with ADHD, their parents, and anyone who teacher, loves, or coaches them.

    Gina Pera, author
    Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?
    http://www.ADHDRollerCoaster.com

  208. Cynthia Smoot says:

    I am so encouraged by your story. My great nephew (Josiah Smoot) was diagnosed with ADHD. He is 8 years old. He is fully loaded with all the symptons. He has a great support system through our church.
    We refuse to give him the medication at this time. We work closely with his school, and the school counslers. At times he actually gets better, and of course other times we have to deal with his behavior. I want to buy your book, please e-mail me and let me know where I can purchase it. Your story has really made me happy, and inspired.

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