Santa Clara University

Hit the books

A New Take on Attention Disorder

Gift of ADHD cover

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a gift not an illness, argues Lara Honos-Webb, assistant professor in SCU’s counseling psychology department, in her new book, The Gift of ADHD: How to Transform Your Child’s Problems into Strengths (New Harbinger Publications, March 2005, $14.95). Instead of focusing on the problems associated with the condition (including limited attention span and difficulty memorizing facts and figures), Honos-Webb encourages parents to instead look on the bright side. Children with ADHD are creative, intuitive, and imaginative, and when parents recognize and encourage those gifts, the child is better able to cope with the deficits. She also argues that ADHD is overdiagnosed, and that it is easier and less expensive to put a child on Ritalin than it is to work to nurture that child’s gifts.

“Differences in the classroom do not mean that a person has a deficit or disorder. Educators need to look for the gifts that are evident and focus on and foster those gifts.”
—Lara Honos-Webb,
author of The Gift of ADHD

Honos-Webb says the book came out of her experience teaching at SCU. “I was inspired to write the book by my perception that students with ADHD that I worked closely with seemed to have many gifts to offer that were not being tapped into by standard methods of assessing academic performance,” she explains. “For example, students with this diagnosis often would not do well in my classes on tests, but their insights would often give me cause to think about the material I was teaching in ways I had never thought of before.”

Kite Runner

“Differences in the classroom do not mean that a person has a deficit or disorder,” adds Honos-Webb. “Educators need to look for the gifts that are evident and focus on and foster those gifts...If we focus on deficits and disorders, we risk having students live down to those expectations.”

The book has received extensive national media coverage, including articles in Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly. For more information on Honos-Webb, including an extensive interview, visit www.visionarysoul.com.

A Run to the Top

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini ’88 reached No. 1 on the New York Times paperback fiction bestseller list in March and has been on the list for more than 30 weeks. In an interview in the winter 2003 issue of SCM, Hosseini said that one of the best parts of his book tours has been hearing from SCU classmates. Hosseini’s brothers, Walid ’89 and Daoud ’95, are also graduates, as is a cousin, Mariam Hosseini ’00. For more information, visit www.kiterunner.com.

Cottonlandia

On Cumberland

When we go to the island,
I’m a native salvaging ingots
and iron bells from the wreck,

kid Caliban in poncho and sandals.
We might have set driftwood
and weeds into a quick mosaic,

or buried my brother up to his eyes
in the sand, starfish hardening
into their own caskets at his feet

so that he could be born again
from mud and sawgrass.
Coastline battered by memory —

the steel baron’s fire-ruined
manor was our refuge
from a storm even the wild

horses couldn’t weather.
The first sailors hurricaned
on this risen Atlantis

covered native women in moss
woven into a delicate mail
for decency’s sake, bartered

deerskin for mirrors
which warriors wore
like medals or garlands

around their necks.
Imagine only seeing yourself
in the dark pupils of your mother

as she tethers your hair
in ragged linen,
then the hammered tin confusion

of a separate self.

From Cottonlandia, by Rebecca Black, who won the 2004 Juniper Prize for Poetry from the University of Massachusetts Press. Black is a lecturer in English at SCU.

Printer-friendly format