Interview: Author Kathleen S. Kendrick
Wed, 18 Dec 2013 09:44:14
Jeff Kendrick Videos
In her new book, ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER – Simple, Practical Strategies for Managing Attention Deficit in Young Adulthood, Kathleen S. Kendrick artfully tackles one of the most heated topics in modern health.
Now, ADD is an instantly polarizing subject that everyone seems to have an opinion on regardless of time, place, or experience. Diving deep into the subject with a prescient perspective, wisdom, and engaging writing style, Kendrick proposes a helpful set of methods for dealing with ADD. It's a powerful read, and it should be requisite for parents' whose children are battling ADD.
Kendrick is the mother of DevilDriver guitarist and AllAxess.com co-founder Jeff Kendrick. Given the holiday season, we thought it would be the perfect time to post this interview with her. She discusses the book and so much more. Check it out below!
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What initially inspired you to write this book?
I have seen so many young adults with ADD struggling to succeed in their independent lives. Over the years, I have worked with people of different ages (including some older adults) who have ADD. This included helping them with basic organization and how to develop strategies that enable them to control the negative effects of this condition on their personal life, their work, relationships and physical environment. I am a very practical, organized person. I find it easy to help people who have organizational issues and processing difficulties that create chaos and disarray in their lives. My training and experience in information processing and learning, as well as attention deficit disorder, was a solid basis for this work. I thought that I could reach and help many more people if I wrote a book. What started as a simple list of things in a single category, developed into a book. My primary motivation has been to help people with ADD liberate themselves from its pernicious effects and live more peaceful, satisfying and joyful lives.
Did you approach it with a general goal regarding ADD or did that main thread unfold as you had begun writing?
As I may have mentioned, my intention was to find a way to help a larger audience of people with ADD-specifically young adults who were beginning their independent lives, graduate school, technical training or beginning jobs or professional careers. I knew there was a serious need for guidance, support, concrete suggestions and strategies at this stage of life for those with ADD. I needed to write this without betraying the confidence or revealing the identities of those I know or have counseled who have Attention Deficit. After several years of wrestling with this ethical issue, I thought of a lecture I once heard that was given by one of the foremost experts in this field, Edward (Ned) Hallowell, M.D. I recounted that talk, and it became a natural "springboard" for beginning my book and allowed me to preserve confidentiality.
Once that piece was in place, I began with a series of topics in my mind. I dictated the thoughts and ideas into a recorder, and later word-processed it into the beginnings of topics. These became sections in my book in which I was able to expand upon the ideas. Sometimes I would be writing about a specific area of ADD, and realize that I had another idea that expanded into broader areas. I simply organized them quickly into general categories and kept writing. Once the flow of ideas was complete, I went back to tightening up the material and carefully organized the ideas into topics and sections.
The book came together very quickly in about three months. From there it required several months of editing, adding references and completing the bibliography. The pdf version of my book on Payloadz.com as well as the e versions on iTunes, Amazon and Kindle versions have "hot links" that take the reader immediately to sites where they can read more in depth about the experts I reference.
It's such a highly debated topic, but you examine it with real class and poise. Was it important to provide a different perspective?
Well, thank you, Rick. I am gratified to hear that, and I think I can tell you how that came about and why my perspective is different: I believe that there is still a void in the general public’s understanding of how ADD really undermines the person who copes with it at every level of his or her life. I am sorry to say that I have frequently heard derogatory comments from well-educated, highly successful individuals who should know better. This has led me to believe that there is a lack of empathy, understanding and insight on the part of those who do not have this entity. Perhaps this is because those with ADD appear to be perfectly normal. Call it what you will, but basically it is a form of discrimination. I have heard comments by such people who should know better, that the considerations given to the population of people with ADD (such as extended time on tests, or separate test-taking spaces) are unwarranted. There is still a certain amount of ridicule or scoffing that I have seen or heard by others towards those with ADD. There is sometimes a sense or opinion that those with Attention Deficit are just lazy, crazy, headlong or stupid. I am not exaggerating. Ask people who have Attention Deficit. Take a poll and see if they have not been on the receiving end of this kind of attitude or reaction. It can be subtle or overt. But believe me, it does exist. This leads to a lack of respect for these individuals with ADD whom research and history have shown to be intelligent, creative, divergent thinkers. It is a well-known fact that they have made, and continue to make, major contributions in all fields including the arts and sciences.
You might know by now, that I do speak my mind. That is because I consider myself to be an advocate for those with learning differences and ADD. This gets back to your first question about what inspired me initially, and it speaks to my primary motivation for writing this book: I want to help those with ADD to become empowered and in control of their lives so they will achieve the success and respect that is their due. Hopefully, this will lead to their living happier, less stressful, more fulfilling lives.
What were some of the most striking things you discovered while researching and writing?
I wrote this book from my mind, based on my undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate training in psychology and education. This was followed by many years of testing, diagnosing and remediating learning difficulties of my students in the public schools in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition, my private consulting to families and students gave me the impetus to write this book. I did not discover anything striking except for realizing over and over again, how very destructive Attention Deficit can be for individuals and families. It affects not only the individual himself or herself. It affects all those around them. I would have to say that is the most striking reality.
What's the biggest misconception about ADD in this age group?
The biggest misconception about ADD in this age group is that has been remediated, medicated into submission or conquered through various means and strategies. I address that topic head on in the beginning of my book. I wrote this book especially for young adults who are starting independent life. They are on the verge of a new stage in their lives, and this should be a wonderful and exciting time. We all know it is a challenging time for anyone. For young adults with ADD, who are at this point in their lives, the misconception is that all the trials and difficulties of coping with it are behind them. The fact is, that every new beginning may require new skills and different organizational plans. The demands and potential stressors are different. The supports that existed earlier in life may no longer exist. ADD’s effects can reappear in different ways. Acknowledging this and being prepared for it are some of the first steps to coping with it successfully.
What do you hope people take away from the book?
I truly hope that my book will be very helpful to those who read it and put the suggestions and strategies to use. I also would like my readers to feel valued, respected, encouraged and empowered.
What's next for you?
I am attending many multi-day seminars to help me market and sell my book into a broader market. I welcome any opportunities to do print, online, radio or television interviews. I really need to get my name before the media and the public so that people know I am here. I have a book that I deeply believe will help them, but I am an unknown since I have spent so many years quietly working in education. In about a year, I am also thinking of a developing a membership website whereby I can deliver content on one topic a month to my subscribers. On this website I will be able to do teleseminars with other experts in the field and deliver high quality information to those who want or need to know more about ADD and especially to those who need real help in coping with their Attention Deficit.
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