By David L Wodrich.
Paul H Brookes Publishing Co
ISBN 1 55766 398 X
ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, has been in
the news recently. There has been contention about the use of drugs
such as Ritalin in the treatment of children with ADHD. This book
addresses three questions: What is ADHD? How is it diagnosed? How
is it treated? The author, a child psychologist from Phoenix,
Arizona, has made a special study of the management of children
with ADHD. An unusual feature of the book is that each chapter
begins with a selection of “ADHD myths” which the author then
demolishes. This technique keeps the reader on their toes and is
The opening chapter summarises current understandings of the
cause of the condition. The author takes the view that the
condition is at least partially inherited, is not caused by poor
parenting, is not generally caused by minor brain damage, nor by
food additives or increased sugar intake.
In a wide-ranging review of diagnostic measures the author urges
the need for comprehensive assessment of the child using
interviews, observations and objective rating techniques. There is
an excellent chapter summarising approaches to behaviour
management. But the extensive use of technical language in the
chapter on medication will make it inaccessible for many parents.
Chapters on school eligibility, finance and school placement are
directed at parents in the US and have little relevance for
families in this country.
In summary, a useful book, but one primarily aimed at parents in
the US worried about their hyperactive child.
Oliver Russell is a psychiatrist and former director,
Norah Fry Research Centre, University of Bristol.