It is always good to hear about a positive attitude.
Call me defensive but as a mother of two children with ADHD I cringe when I see a new book on the market belittling the disorder. Dale Archer’s latest, “The ADHD Advantage: What You Thought Was a Diagnosis May Be Your Greatest Strength,” was a pleasant surprise.
Archer is a psychiatrist and Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. A native of New Orleans and a graduate of Tulane and the University of Texas, he founded The Institute for Neuropsychiatry in Lake Charles.
Archer is no stranger to ADHD, having lived with the disorder himself, but his new book looks at managing symptoms to the patient’s advantage rather than simply taking prescriptions. Archer admits repeatedly that there are many suffering from ADHD who need medication, but he fears that too many children and adults are being diagnosed for distractibility, impatience and impulsiveness who are really just suffering from curiosity, boredom and the lack of challenges, character traits that can be nurtured and supported without drugs. Many of the world’s innovators suffered from ADHD, he contends, and if workplaces acknowledged these super-achievers often labeled as scatterbrains it would work to everyone’s advantage.
Again, Archer doesn’t downplay the disorder but rather offers ways of leveraging symptoms without drugs. He advocates being creative when educating children, working in ways that emphasizes the ADHD brain and creating environments that assist the non-linear thinker.
“It’s a matter of leveraging its characteristics as strengths, choosing the right career and education path, and maintaining an awareness of what works, without struggling to try to fit into a box that teachers, family, peers and the rest of society call ‘normal,'” Archer writes.
Amen to that. Now if we could just get the rest of the world on board. That, to me, is the real struggle.
Archer’s first book, “Better Than Normal: How What Makes You Different Can Make You Exceptional,” was a New York Times bestseller.