When you have a disability, the world by and large tends to magnify and focus on what is “wrong” with you. Friends of mine who were diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in school were constantly told to “just sit down,” “behave,” and “do your work.” They were often labeled as “problem children” or told they were “hard to deal with” in the classroom.
Kevin Roberts, in his book Movers, Dreamers, and Risk-Takers: Unlocking the Power of ADHD, posits that this negative attitude toward people he affectionately calls “ADHD-ers” is part of the problem. He believes that changing the way society, educators, and parents approach ADHD would go a long way to help ensure ADHD-affected kids do better in school and in life. He points out that people with this disability tend to be considerably more creative, goal-oriented, and out-going than those of us without ADHD. And he recommends how those affected by the disorder can adapt to it on a daily basis.
As a writer, Roberts is engaging; as a comedian, he is able to laugh at himself and keep the book light-hearted and upbeat. As a life coach, ADHD counselor, and ADHD patient, he demonstrates that he has the professional and personal experience to speak from a position of authority on the subject. This combination of personal and professional experience, positivity, and humor makes his book an irresistible read.
Roberts begins by giving his and his family’s history of ADHD. The book is interspersed with his personal story, stories of his clients, and techniques he has used to help kids better manage their schedules and homework. He cites several studies to back up some of his claims about the roots of ADHD and its attributes. But what seems to me most refreshing about the book is that Roberts chooses to look at the positive side of ADHD.
The author maintains that people with ADHD are not “unteachable” or “difficult.” They simply think differently—and this difference needs to be accounted for. Personally, I find that this makes complete sense. No one would expect a physically disabled child to move just like other kids or work exactly like his or her able-bodied classmates. So why in the world are we expecting kids and adults with learning disabilities to think like everyone else?
To drive home his point about how “ADHD-ers” think differently, Roberts offers examples from his clients. He gives a synopsis of each client’s issue and illustrates how he helped them overcome their “road block” in that area. In another section, he gives several study, work, and organization tips tailored to people with ADHD. One of them is to “get physical.” Move around when studying, typing a work report, or doing another work or school-related activity, he suggests. This, he says, will avert boredom and help an ADHD-er stay focused.
Due to Roberts’s light-hearted and positive approach, his book is an easy, fun, and interesting read. I suspect it will help many people who have ADHD themselves, love someone who has it, or work in education.
Movers, Dreamers, and Risk-Takers: Unlocking the Power of ADHD
Hazelden, June, 2012
Paperback, 250 pages