|Book Review - Parenting Children With ADHD|
by Vincent J. Monastra
American Psychological Association, 2004
Review by Leo Uzych, J.D., M.P.H.
Dec 8th 2005
with ADHD is a nurturing book which should implant, in readers' minds, a
heightened level of practical knowledge
and understanding, relating to ADHD, and, particularly, to the parenting of
children with ADHD. As used in the
book, the term "ADHD" refers to:
patients presenting solely with problems of attention, or else with
attention problems in combination with symptoms of hyperactivity and
impulsivity. The author, Vincent J.
Monastra, is a clinical psychologist and ADHD specialist, who claims to have
participated in the evaluation and treatment of more than 10,000 patients with
significant attention or behavioral control problems.
The parents of
children, with ADHD, are the real target of Monastra's practical focused
attention. And, true to this sharp
focus, Monastra has skillfully molded a rich wealth of practical information,
advice and suggestions into a sort of vade mecum, or guidebook, of potential
great helpfulness regarding the parenting of children with ADHD. In that somewhat narrow sense, the book is a
trough from which luminous light pours forth, illumining the oftentimes turbid
realm of ADHD; and its luminosity should greatly attract the parents of
children, with ADHD, as well as others interested in engaging discourse clothed
in the garment of practical lessons, knowledge and insights concerning ADHD.
should be mindful that the textual contents are largely bereft of
"hard" science; the book does not concentrate on an elucidation of
scientific mechanisms possibly explanatory of biologic phenomena associated with
ADHD; and Monastra seeks to penetrate to the root of ADHD, albeit in a
relatively rudimentary, technically diluted way, which may limit the book's
appeal to academically entrenched readers.
Some academics may, indeed, recoil from some of the musings and
postulations of Monastra, as being arguably disruptive of the edifice of
scientifically moored thinking, relating to ADHD.
A disquieting reality
is that the body of extant data and knowledge, germane to ADHD, is woefully
undernourished. At the same time, the
trenchant belief of Monastra, is that children with ADHD can make significant
contributions to society; and a core purpose of Monastra in crafting the book
is to help ADHD children realize their full potential. Monastra's compassion and concern for
children with ADHD actually almost palpably permeates the textual body. As the result of Monastra's toilsome
efforts, pensive readers of Monastra's lay reader friendly contemplation of
ADHD, in a book structured with deliberateness of purpose as a series of
practical lessons, should emerge feeling invigorated with knowledge, relevant
particularly to the parenting, care and treatment of children with ADHD.
Chapter by chapter, in
the course of carefully dissecting and examining the complex corpus of ADHD,
Monastra very skillfully engraves "lessons", in the minds of
contemplative readers, appertaining to the parenting of children with ADHD, and
to their care and treatment. For
instance, a lesson propounded energetically by Monastra, which garners the attention
of chapter 5, is that children diagnosed as having ADHD vitally need special
assistance in school, in the form of specialized educational services, if they
are to be successful scholastically. In
chapter 6, Monastra flags the instilling in a child of a motivation for
learning as being an important lesson; and Monastra discourses on how teachers
may effectually motivate ADHD children at school, and how parents, of children
with ADHD, may successfully motivate their children at home. The pivotal lesson imparted by chapter 7 is
that parents of ADHD children need to have a "lesson plan", shaped
carefully to fit special challenges posed possibly by their children.
In other chapters, of
this riveting book, Monastra firmly grips subjects reaching, respectively,
to: the possible helpfulness of sundry
medicines, with respect to treating ADHD (chapter 3); nutritional deficiencies
(involving, for example, iron, zinc, magnesium and essential fatty acids), and
their possible association with symptoms of inattentiveness, impulsivity and
hyperactivity (chapter 4); the development of emotional control in children
(chapter 8); teaching respectfulness to children (chapter 9); and a pithy
adumbration of several "antidepressant" activities, designed especially
for parents (chapter 10).
"Supplemental Readings", in the form of citations to academic
materials, adjoin the main textual body, and may efficaciously function as a
research portal, to readers desiring further study of particular, ADHD related
An important strength
traversing the length and breadth of the book is the many questions, often of a
scientifically fractious nature, it, directly and indirectly, raises. Commencing in chapter 1, for instance,
Monastra broaches multifarious questions, of a serious and presently
scientifically unsettled nature. Is
ADHD, for example, a "real" medical condition? If so, what causes this
"condition"? And how should
ADHD, in a clinical sense, properly be diagnosed? Monastra expounds critically on variant criteria possibly
relevant to a diagnosis of ADHD, extending to:
inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. But what does it mean, exactly, for someone to be
"impulsive"? And what medical
problems, other than ADHD, may potentially be associated with inattentiveness,
hyperactivity and impulsivity? In a
related vein, are ADHD diagnosed patients generally screened adequately, for
such other possible medical problems?
Myriad questions are embedded throughout the thorny terrain of the text,
and plainly should alert the discerning reader that ADHD is anchored to a
substantially scientifically unsettled base.
eagerly tackles the daunting complexity and nebulousness of ADHD,in laudable
pursuit of unearthing some of its deeply buried medical secrets, the scientific
shape of ADHD remains largely ill defined; and the clinical and research
frontiers, of ADHD, are ever shifting.
With this important caveat in mind, the book's contents should be quite
edifying and engrossing to: parents, of children with ADHD, mental health
professionals, including psychologists and psychiatrists, family medicine
doctors, pediatricians, social workers, school teachers, and to special
© 2005 Leo Uzych
Leo Uzych (based in Wallingford, PA) earned a law degree,
from Temple University; and a master of public health degree, from Columbia
University. His area of special
professional interest is healthcare.