ADHD and Me! is a child-friendly book about a neurodevelopmental condition called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Claire has written it with her daughter Holly who did the illustrations and the book concerns Claire and her son, Jack, both of whom have ADHD.
The text is written as ‘we’ and ‘us’ which is refreshing as it immediately makes the book accessible because it is written by someone with lived experience of ADHD. It makes it personal and engaging. While coming across as simple, it is clearly backed up by lots of knowledge and research. I know Claire is an experienced professional who works in speech and language and with many children who have SEND. She is also part of a neuro-diverse family, provides training and runs ChatterPack, a #SEND advisory company. Einstein’s famous quote ‘if you can’t explain it to a three year old, then you don’t know it well enough’ springs to mind because although it is written in accessible language, it is hard to do around such a complex subject but Claire achieves it with aplomb. While the tone and language is unpretentious, it is informative but not patronising and that’s a tricky skill to get right.
It is presented beautifully: lots of space, simple text and muted colours with clean lines, it’s not too busy or overwhelming. For children (and adults with ADHD), too much information and imagery on each page could become very distracting. ADHD and Me! is a calming and welcoming book for children with ADHD containing some excellent notes and advice at the back for adults and teachers.
The illustrations are spectacular and a real strength of the book.
Who should read this?
This is a book all schools should have in their library for children and young people to read about ADHD. In addition, teachers and adults will also find this an informative read. There is a section at the back which will help although I’d still recommend reading the bits for children too.
10/10 from me. A beautifully illustrated and simple book which gives the story of what it’s like to have ADHD in a way which is accessible to children but also based on research, knowledge and most importantly lived experience.
ADHD and Me! is also a positive book; while describing shared traits for people with ADHD, it emphasises how everyone is different. I would say it’s a celebration of ADHD while being honest when detailing challenges: definitely a social model of ADHD not a medical one and the Ryan family should be applauded for its creation. I recommend you buy it, read it and understand our children and young people who have the condition. They have many strengths and to teach them with understanding, embracing their differences can be an exhilarating experience. As the book reminds you however, it is not always the loud, jumping around pupils who have ADHD, there are also some quiet daydreamers who need your attention.