I wanted a book that gave a straight-forward account of what it’s like to have ADHD without feeling like I was reading a textbook. As a reader with a taste for humorous memoirs, I was delighted when I was browsing at Barnes and Noble and saw “ADHD & Me: what i learned from lighting fires at the dinner table”. And it did not disappoint.
Blake E.S. Taylor‘s book was written during his last two years of high school. It details different traits that are either part of his ADHD diagnosis, or are comorbid with his ADHD. Each trait is accompanied with a story or two of his experiences with that part of the disorder.
As Blake grows from child to teenager, his high intelligence and enthusiasm for life are often at war with his struggle for self-regulation and understanding how to fit in to society. His grades often don’t adequately reflect his knowledge because of his struggles with disorganization, distractability, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. His desire to have a friend and be a friend is often unmet because he has difficulty grasping social skills and the flexibility to “go with the flow.”
Still, Blake doesn’t give in to negativity. While his life is often difficult (very difficult), he makes the best of what he has. Instead of doing the same thing over and over again, he takes life’s lessons and uses them to grow as a person.
Along with his anecdotes, Blake pulls in dozens of outside sources to present the reader with information about ADHD from professionals. At the end of each chapter, he gives solutions to help manage that chapter’s aspect of ADHD. The book isn’t written in chronological order, but instead, focusing on different ADHD traits individually, one per chapter. Here are the traits he lists in the book:
- Being Distracted
- Being Impulsive
- Being Disorganized
- Being Hyperactive
- Having Tics
- Being Unpopular
- Being Bullied
- Being Isolated
- Being Misunderstood
- Being Blamed
- Being Rigid
- Being Disobedient
- Being Discriminated Against
- Being Gifted
- Blake’s stories draw you in. Some are funny, while others are sad. He gives you a real sense of the ups and downs kids with ADHD grow up with, explaining through stories through the eyes of someone who knows. And to best need the needs of kiddos like Blake in our classrooms and at home, we need to know what’s going through their heads. Blake answers those questions for us.
- While there are many parts of Blake’s life that are sad, he’s a positive individual. The book is truthful about the difficulties, but still leaves you with possibilities and hope for a better tomorrow.
- The Solutions portions of the stories aren’t always quick to read, but they can be great quick references for parents and teachers of children with ADHD (or individuals with the disorder who need some help organizing their thoughts). These points are often taught to education students, but instead of taking a semester and a text book to do it, this little book sums it right up.
- The book is not a long book, which makes it more accessible for when you want to review certain parts, or look directly for a solution point.
- The only thing I found that could be improved would be a bit of the writing itself. However, it doesn’t distract from the message, and considering that it was written by a high school student, it’s really a pretty impressive book.
I wish this book were used more in education courses at colleges and universities. It can be difficult to understand why children with ADHD do the things they do, even infuriating sometimes. It’s a lot harder to get angry, however, when you have a better understanding of what’s going through their heads. Since I’ve read this book, I’ve been able to handle some of my students with ADHD more effectively, even when they do things that seem unexplainable. There is an explanation. It just takes someone with an open mind and a little bit of background knowledge to see it.
Do you have something to share about this book, or other books like it? Please share questions and comments in the Comment Box below. (I love hearing what you think!) And don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter to receive extra resources I don’t include in my blog, encouragement, and a gift as a thank you for signing up. Thanks for reading!