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Book Review: ‘Delivered from Distraction Getting the Most Out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder’

In part 4 of our fall book reviews (out of a just-decided-upon 5), we are introducing a book called ‘Delivered from Distraction – Getting the Most Out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder’ by Edward M. Hallowell and John J. Ratey, two leading experts in the field of ADHD, and two individuals we’ve referenced many times before on our blog. If you remember as well, Ratey was the one who wrote ‘Spark: the Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain’ – the first book introduced in this series.

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In any case, at the outset, what we like most about this book is the fact that Hallowell and Ratey have both been diagnosed with ADHD. So, because of this, they are able to offer a fresh perspective and more genuine understanding of what it’s really like to have ADHD. Another interesting angle is the fact that both writers view ADHD as a ‘misleading’ name for a unique kind of mind that comes along with both difficulties and certain gifts, such as originality, creativity, charisma, energy, intellectual brilliance, and “spunk”. This is a strengths-based model similar to Lynn Weiss’ concept in ‘Attention Deficit Disorder in Adults’ of ADHD being a different ‘brain-style.’

Based on this perspective, Hallowell and Ratey expand on the meaning of ADHD in everyday life by encouraging a focus first and foremost on “what’s good, strong, and healthy” in a person – their strengths and talents – and then looking at what’s in need of remediation. According to them, these two steps lead to healthy ‘mastery’ of managing ADHD symptoms, where you’re more likely to feel like you’re making progress rather than feel frustrated and ‘stuck.’

For any of you that have worked with us at Springboard Clinic, this concept is true to our philosophy – we focus first and foremost on exploring and developing the strengths of an individual while working to support growth and change. We believe – as do Hallowell and Ratey – that an understanding and awareness of ADHD symptoms across all aspects of life will lead to positive health behavior changes and progress. As the authors so eloquently state: “We need knowledge and hope since knowledge restores confidence and inspires hope.

Stay tuned next week for our last book in this season’s book report series.

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