Communiqué

Book Reviews Edited by Merryl Bushanksy

Book Review: A Fast Read for ADHD

By Frances Paris

Volume 44 Issue 5

By Frances Paris

What do you get when you cross a psychologist with a health economist? An outstanding book with current information and provocative, cogent arguments. The identification and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is presented from a variety of perspectives such as pharmaceutical advertisements, international comparisons, postsecondary outcomes, and the influences of cultures, values, and gender. The contents provide an instant inservice for deeper discussions by school psychologists regarding differential diagnosis for eligibility and treatment within or outside of special education programs and services. School psychologist-led parent training will be enhanced using information from this book to expose myths, question medication, recognize benefits of behavioral interventions, and broaden the understanding of cultural influences on identification rates.

Typical procedures for evaluation are not utilized when a 15-minute appointment with a general practitioner yields a diagnosis; rather, the authors support a realistic and comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment using research-based sources. Using case scenarios, the issues of not recognizing coexisting mental health conditions when tools and assessment procedures are aimed at ADHD alone are illustrated. Questioning the diagnosis when documented observations contradict the diagnosis or point to the presence of comorbid conditions better supports individuals with ADHD. As for intervention, the use of medication alone is discouraged: The combination of medication, when prescribed, with skill-building interventions yields better outcomes in the lives of individuals with ADHD.

ADHD is expressed on a continuum from mild to severe across nine symptoms. Recognition of ADHD as a spectrum disorder leads the practitioner to consider individualized interventions to support behavior and capitalize on strengths while ameliorating negative effects of varying symptoms. Hinshaw and Scheffler leave to the practitioner the choice of specific interventions and the determination of how to implement interventions to meet individual needs. The authors remind us, however, to use ongoing monitoring of interventions with revisions as dictated by data. A behavioral intervention with an intentional plan for data collection will bring science to the practice and art of school psychology.

This fast-read book on ADHD comprises 10 interesting chapters over 169 pages plus extensive supporting notes and a reference list. A very handy index provides an easy search function in a hard copy book. The diagnosis and treatment on behalf of individuals with ADHD has come a long way. This is a book that opens minds to the possibilities for individuals with ADHD when practitioners provide best practices based on valid information and comprehensive understanding of the disorder.

This reviewer recommends The ADHD Explosion: Myths, Medication, Money, and Today’s Push for Performance as a community read at your school or organization or a “last word” read on Facebook among colleagues in your state organization. The discussion will generate a shared insight on practices and a deeper understanding of all the facets of ADHD.

S. P. Hinshaw & R. M. Scheffler 2014, Oxford University Press


Frances Paris, PhD, NCSP, works part time with Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District in Michigan as a special education compliance monitor and part time with Autism Centers of Michigan to meet internship requirements of the BCBA credential. She is an online instructor for Oakland University in Rochester, MI