By Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo

Book Review by Peter Herron and Jean Marie Herron, CPO

I’d like to introduce this book review by saying that I am not only a Certified Professional Organizer, but more importantly, the mother of my 17-year-old son Peter Herron, who was diagnosed with ADHD in middle school. He is interning with me this summer at POSSE and his first assignment was to read and write this book review blog because many of my organizing and productivity clients also have ADD or ADHD…

The book You Mean I’m not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?! by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo, has an emphasis on that very principle throughout the entire book. The introduction has many analogies about how all of the things an ADD person may have heard as a child might have been simple misunderstandings.

The idea of a child/person struggling in school or life in general, because he/she is either lazy or stupid, does not correlate to the ADD person. This is a misnomer because someone diagnosed with ADD truly has a disability that is invisible to the untrained eye.

Interestingly, when a parent was interviewed about their child having ADD, she said that she wished that her son actually had a physical disability. Now, of course she would never wish that upon her son, but the principle here is that it would be much easier for her to explain to people what was wrong with her son if he was in a wheelchair, rather than having to explain that her child has ADD, and that it is very much a legitimate handicap. It is literally a neurological disability. The main focus of this book was to debunk the myths and misunderstandings, and they did that quite well, giving the reader a greater knowledge of the disability.

The book is all about understanding the disorder that makes one who has ADD feel lazy stupid, or crazy. The fact of the matter is, when we were all kids, most of us didn’t know that we had ADD. So, our report cards that showed that we weren’t very bright (in the academic sense). However, sometimes our wealth of creative ideas would amaze both our parents and teachers, with ideas for imaginative play or similar. But, we also had the tendency to drive people crazy. This, of course, was not by design. We certainly did not wake up every morning for the sole purpose of making our parents’ lives difficult.

ADD people constantly hear the phrases, “Settle down. Pay attention” and most importantly, “You can do it if you would just try.” This pains us and makes the ADD person feel delinquent. We would absolutely love to be able to pay attention, to settle down and become an A+ student, but we just can’t. It’s similar to telling a wheelchair-bound person to just “get up and walk”  or telling a child with Autism to “act their age”.

The conundrum with understanding ADHD is getting over the mental block that it is a real disorder, and not just in one’s head. The book states that ADD (or ADHD) is a disorder of the central nervous system (CNS) characterized by disturbances in the areas of attention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity.

Two of the best suggestions in the book to help combat this disorder were:

  • Write everything down. This will trigger a chemical response in the brain to help you remember what the task at hand was. Also, if you have multiple tasks, you surely won’t remember them all, so it is good to have them all written down that way you don’t forget.
  • Focus on one task at a time. If you try to do too many things at once, it actually has the opposite effect and you get nothing done. This is because people with ADD have a one-track mind, and cannot focus on multiple tasks at once.

For more information on this topic, I highly suggest you visit The Institute for Challenging Disorganization at: https://www.challengingdisorganization.org/