A New Take on Attention Disorder

Is ADHD a gift?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a gift not an illness, argues Lara Honos-Webb, assistant professor in SCU’s counseling psychology department, in her new book, The Gift of ADHD: How to Transform Your Child’s Problems into Strengths (New Harbinger Publications, March 2005, $14.95). Instead of focusing on the problems associated with the condition (including limited attention span and difficulty memorizing facts and figures), Honos-Webb encourages parents to instead look on the bright side. Children with ADHD are creative, intuitive, and imaginative, and when parents recognize and encourage those gifts, the child is better able to cope with the deficits. She also argues that ADHD is overdiagnosed, and that it is easier and less expensive to put a child on Ritalin than it is to work to nurture that child’s gifts.

“Differences in the classroom do not mean that a person has a deficit or disorder. Educators need to look for the gifts that are evident and focus on and foster those gifts.”
—LARA HONOS-WEBB,
AUTHOR OF THE GIFT OF ADHD

Honos-Webb says the book came out of her experience teaching at SCU. “I was inspired to write the book by my perception that students with ADHD that I worked closely with seemed to have many gifts to offer that were not being tapped into by standard methods of assessing academic performance,” she explains. “For example, students with this diagnosis often would not do well in my classes on tests, but their insights would often give me cause to think about the material I was teaching in ways I had never thought of before.”

“Differences in the classroom do not mean that a person has a deficit or disorder,” adds Honos-Webb. “Educators need to look for the gifts that are evident and focus on and foster those gifts…If we focus on deficits and disorders, we risk having students live down to those expectations.”

The book has received extensive national media coverage, including articles in Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly. For more information on Honos-Webb, including an extensive interview, visit www.visionarysoul.com.

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