Super Parenting for ADD
Edward M. Hallowell MD
Peter S. Jensen

I have ADD. My sister has ADD. My nieces and nephews have ADD. One of my great nieces and one of my great nephews also have ADD. When I picked up the audio version of Super Parenting for ADD for a credit at Audible I was hoping for a book that would provide some techniques that would help my niece, Lauraya, my great niece Amiracle, and my great nephew Zachariah…who are all still young children. What I got from the book is a great deal more profound than just techniques for dealing with the scattered, distracted, aspects of ADD. I learned some things that make sense of my own ADD as well as discovering a book that approaches ADD as a gift which needs to be unwrapped to be fully utilized.

Many of us who suffer from ADD go through life, or at least start our journey through life, feeling like we’re square people trying to fit into round holes made for round people…which leaves us with the sense that we need to shave off or reshape parts of ourselves in order to fit into a world comprised mostly of round people who fit into round holes. It leaves us with the conundrum of how much we want to fit in and how much to reshape ourselves in order to fit better with round people—and round holes that make up the rest of the world.

Super Parenting for ADD leaves me wondering why anyone should have to shave off parts of themselves to fit into the educational system…to belong…to be acceptable…to have their strengths recognized.

One of my favorite parts of Super Parenting for ADD deals with the Kolbe test and the results of the Kolbe test.

The Kolbe test scores four basic aspects of how one approaches problem solving and the book makes sense out of the test results and what they mean for the child with ADD, the child’s parents, and the child’s teacher.

There is a Kolbe test for youth and a Kolbe test for adults. Super Parenting recommends parents and teachers as well as the child taking the Kolbe test—the youth version for the children and the adult version for the adults.

Both the adult version and the children’s version look at and score how people approach problem solving. This provides a great deal of insight into parenting and teaching children with ADD as they tend to score differently than people who don’t have ADD. That is…they approach problems and solving problems differently…which CAN and often IS a strength once we get out of the very rigid ideas of one way of learning that are part of the current educational system.

Kolbe scores on the basis of four aspects: Fact Finder, Follow Through, Quickstart, and Implementer.

Super Parenting for ADD explains that scoring higher is not better than scoring lower in a given quadrant of the test. Scoring a 1 in Fact Finder is not any better or worse than scoring a 9 in Fact Finder any more than strawberry ice cream is better than chocolate ice cream. Both kinds of ice cream are good. Scoring a 1 in Fact Finding simply means that a person will approach a problem differently than a person at the other end of the scale.

Fact Finding is about the desire to gather information before taking action. It measures whether one is more likely to read an article, get the shop manual, watch a video, and talk to the mechanic before changing the alternator in their car or whether they are more likely to take a peek at the shop manual and move on?

Those who score higher in the Fact Finder segment would be more likely to gather more information before taking action. They would read the article, get the shop manual, watch a video and talk to the mechanic. Someone who scores lower would gather fewer facts before jumping in.

Follow Through is about one’s propensity to develop a system which can be documented and repeated. Those who score high here would create a system…document the steps…so that it could be repeated to solve the same and similar problems in the future. Those who score low would be more likely to look for the shortcut, the easiest way to move through the task. They might become impatient with the process of building a system.

Quickstart describes one’s propensity to do things without knowing how they will turn out. Those who score high in Quickstart will generally be folks who like to jump in, try things, experiment. Those who score lower in Quickstart will generally prefer to follow an established plan.

The Implementer part of the scale measures how well we work physically to solve problems. Do we jump in and work physically with our hands to solve problems physically or are we more apt to understand mentally how things work—to draw solutions graphically—or to describe them with words rather than using physical components to build a solution.

Super Parenting for ADD goes into quite a bit deeper detail as to what each quadrant of the Kolbe test means and how the scores relate to how a person approaches problems, learning challenges and so on. The book goes into detail and provides examples of how parents, teachers, and children can work together to empower children to work within the framework of their strengths as shown via the Kolbe test.

This seems like a novel approach to those who have dealt with ADD, but it shouldn’t. It makes sense that children should be encouraged to work within the framework of their strengths in the same way that adults are…and yet that isn’t the reality in most schools. In most schools one way to do something is taught and this one way of doing it quickly morphs into the only way to do it…and then children who can’t do it that way are singled out as different and they are labeled as having ADD, being disruptive, or unfocused, being too impulsive or lazy, talking out of turn, or whatever else the case might be. Super Parenting for ADD suggests Kolbe testing to discover a child’s ideal way of problem solving and then gives parents some tools for using test results to work with teachers and others in the educational system.

Super Parenting for ADD specifically discourages parents and children from asking for special treatment for ADD and instead encourages educators, parents, and children to work together to foster an environment where children (like adults in the workplace) are allowed to work/learn/problem solve according to their strengths rather than taking a one size fits all approach to learning. The book encourages parents to understand their child’s strengths and shows the parent how to convey the child’s strengths to the child so that the child can take responsibility for his/her own unique set of strengths. Super Parenting seems to embrace a positive, we’re all okay, we all bring something important to the table framework that I find refreshing.

I enjoyed this book and learned a lot, not just about people with ADD but about people in general. Though I listened to this book in audio format, it is a book that I would like to have in print/ebook format as well as there is a lot of information that it would be useful to look back at, and that’s easier in print or electronic format than in audio format.

I found the material related to the Kolbe test to be worth the cost of the book. Super Parenting for ADD would be useful to parents of children with ADD or suspected of having ADD. In addition I think the book would be helpful for adults who have ADD as well as those who think they might have ADD.

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