The Myth of the ADHD Child

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Twenty-two years ago, I wrote the first edition of this book, which was then titled The Myth of the ADHD Child:  50 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Behavior and Attention Span Without Drugs, Labels, or Coercion.  Since that time, there’s been a huge expansion in the number of kids and adults who are being diagnosed with ADHD, and a corresponding increase in the number of people taking psychoactive medications to treat this putative disorder.  This book is a complete re-write of the original book, now expanded into 101 non-drug strategies, and including totally new information about how the ADHD ”blob” (I compare it to entity in the 1950’s movie The Blog, which devoured everything in its path), continues to look for new markets to peddle its wares. I’m particularly concerned that the ADHD diagnosis is now being applied to children as young as two years old.  One key point that I make in the book is that kids with an ADHD diagnosis have a different developmental pace than typically developing children.  Research suggests, for example, that large portions of their cerebral cortices mature two to three years later than other kids.  Add this to the fact that children who are young for their grade level are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and medicated, and you have a situation where people who should know better have failed to take into account developmental factors in the observed behaviors of young kids.  It’s normal for kids to be hyper.  The trouble is, they don’t have the outlets they used to have to work out their wiggles.  They don’t spend much time in nature, they sit in front of screens in school and then play video games at night, they consume too much junk food, and they don’t get much exercise.  Right away, there are four things that parents can do to help their ADHD-diagnosed kids: take them hiking in nature, limit their screen time, stop feeding them fast food, and make sure they get a lot of exercise (and insist that their schools beef up their physical education programs).  These are just a few of the 101 strategies in the new updated edition of The Myth of the ADHD Child.  There’s a great deal more that I could say about the book, but I’ll just let some experts in the field speak for me below:


Endorsements for The Myth of the ADHD Child

‘’…absolutely essential reading for parents, teachers, and others concerned with children who struggle. Armstrong provides a lucid and comprehensive response to the tragic overuse of medication for America’s children. Bursting the myths of an established brain deficit, a single cause, and long-term effectiveness of drugs, Armstrong discusses parental options with compassion.’’

  • Alan Sroufe, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Child Psychology, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota

“Thomas Armstrong, author of a pioneering series of books on neurodiversity, offers practical alternatives for parents who want to enable their ADHD-diagnosed children to tap the natural strengths of their atypical minds, manage stress, and express their creative intelligence without relying solely on medication. An inspiring guide to helping your kids live up to their fullest potential.”

  • Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity 

‘’I love this book! If you feel like you are at the end of your rope, The Myth of the ADHD Child gives you lots and lots more rope – 101 tools to help your child thrive. This book is masterful in problem solving and will give you hope that there is always something more you can try. ‘’

‘’At a time when ADHD and the medications used to treat it are growing by leaps and bounds, Thomas Armstrong asks parents to think critically about the ADHD diagnosis, to value the uniqueness of their children’s different rhythms of learning, attending, and behaving, and to appreciate and use the wide range of non-drug strategies that are out there to help their kids prosper in school and flourish in life.’’

  • Michele Borba, Ed.D., talk-show parenting expert and author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, Building Moral Intelligence, and UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World

‘’Parents everywhere should read this book, not just those with kids diagnosed with ADHD!  Thomas Armstrong presents a wealth of strategies, ideas, tips, and resources that will help parents nurture kids who feel good about themselves, who have skills for coping with life’s challenges, and who practice learning strategies that will help them succeed in the classroom and beyond.  I wholeheartedly recommend The Myth of the ADHD Child !’’

—   Jack Canfield, Coauthor of the Chicken Soup for the Soul®  series and The Success Principles™

“This is a fabulous book. Not only does Armstrong explain with balance and clarity the evidence-based problems associated with the concept of ADHD; he also provides a wealth of practical ideas, resources, and approaches to help the parents of any kid who is presenting with challenging behaviour, especially those who have or might attract a diagnosis of ADHD. Professionals and parents alike will benefit enormously from reading this.”

  • Sami Timimi, M.D. Consultant in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Visiting Professor of Child Psychiatry and Mental Health Improvement, Lincoln University

For media inquiries or interviews regarding this book, please contact my publicist Keely Platte, Penguin Random House at kplatte@penguinrandomhouse.com.