by Robert Locke
Review by Anthony R Dickinson, Ph.D. and Stanley C. Y. Chung on Aug 27th 2013
Clearly written for any parent seeking initial advice with regards their better understanding, and then preparing to cope with, an ADHD-diagnosed child in the family, Locke's ebook provides both an excellent primer and 'how-to' guide. Its seven relatively short chapters cover some 30-40 pages (depending on your e-reader settings) and are designed for the reader perhaps not wishing to otherwise read a 300-500 page book, with its chosen content both concise and informative. Such a style lends itself to becoming a little note-book like on occasion (indeed, any of the chapters could be extended to provide a whole volume each !), but this is not a failing of this ebook. Neither does it detract from its usefulness in helping prepare the parents of an ADHD-diagnosed child for setting about creating the best environment possible in supporting all their family member's growth and development. For those readers already knowing something about ADHD (or believing they know enough), and instead simply looking for some tips as to how to go about best supporting its management for their family, cutting to the chase, and jumping to the final two chapters is also a great way to make useful one of this ebook's best strengths in application.
The early chapters briefly summarize the field of knowledge likely most important to the parent coming to examine child-related ADHD topics for the first time (i.e., this ebook is perhaps a great place to start !), and in this sense its chapter titles speak for themselves (e.g., Ch1. What is ADHD really?, Ch2. Signs and Symptoms of ADHD., Ch3. How and where to obtain an ADHD diagnosis ?). The research findings presented (mostly in short single-paragraph result form) is up-to-date, and much of the information provided refers to papers and presentations from 2012-2013, a welcome change from the average printed book text, the content of which is commonly at least 12 mths behind that available (largely due to standard publication processing times, which to be fair, are sometimes out of the authors' direct control).
Locke's position on ADHD intervention is clearly in support of attempts to consider treatments beyond parent's blindly accepting pharmacological preparation prescriptions, but a whole chapter (Ch4) is provided concerning the standard uses (and abuses) of the most commonly used psychostimulants with ADHD-diagnosed children. These are well documented in non-technical language, and simply explained for those wishing to know some detail about this issue. The standard controversies about the putative problems concerning their use in some cases, is also described, with commentary. Locke clearly recognises the high chance of misdiagnosis, and emphasizes parents' need to arrange for ADHD medical experts to diagnose their children. The chapter on ADHD symptoms acts as a reminder that ADHD may be something other than the general understanding of hyperactivity. Then, the inclusion of the common medical treatments and their safer alternatives give parents a deeper understanding of the choices for ADHD treatment. However, Locke's own bias/concern re the consequences of using medication treatment includes largely negative case documentation following psychoactive drug use, but spends significantly less effort to inform readers of their potential benefits. The fifth chapter is concerned with largely 'alternative' approaches to treating the ADHD-diagnosed child, and although by no means exhaustive, offers useful information for parent's consideration concerned with the use of homeopathy, and herbalism. Behaviour therapy (in its various forms) is hinted at here and there throughout the text (as either an alternative or complementary 'treatment'), but little discussion of its use (or its critics' viewpoints) are drawn together here in one place.
Of note here, is the significance of this ebook's lack of any footnotes or full references to any of the quotes or research findings stated in the text of this ebook (something of critical import at least to this reviewer in being able to cypher which of Locke's claims are based on evidence, and what that evidence might be), but perhaps this was intentional on the part of the author, who chose to omit them in order to avoid additional clutter/length. Given that this is an ebook, any reader interested to check any of the 'facts' provided, or of the many claims for new knowledge stated in the text, will surely also know how to check for their validity and reliability relatively quickly, using one of the many academic citation search engines now freely available.
Perhaps the most significant contribution of this small ebook, is Locke's "TIPS" sections, to be found in the final Chs 6 and Ch7. Without wishing to give too much away here, this latter part of the ebook presents a series of truly practical tips, advise and proposals for immediate action -- most (if not all) of which can be simply used to significantly affect the every family member's understanding, respect, and practical management of themselves and anyone else concerned with following-up with any child's ADHD-diagnosis on a daily basis.
© 2013 Anthony R. Dickinson
Dr. Anthony R. Dickinson [President, Hong Kong Society of Counseling and Psychology, and Research Advisor, Beijing Genomics Institute, China], and Stanley C. Y. Chung (Chinese University of Hong Kong).