The Myth of the ADHD Child, : 50/101 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Behavior and Attention Span Without Drugs, Labels, or Coercion

by | Mar 29, 2018 | Expert overview

In this controversial and provocative book, Dr. Thomas Armstrong confronts America’s obsession with Attention Deficit Disorder. With more than one million children diagnosed with ADD, the condition has gained national attention on talk shows, magazine covers and The New York Times bestseller list. Dr. Armstrong, well-known for his writings on parenting and education, presents the very real argument that ADD may, in fact, not exist. He believes that many behaviors labeled as ADD are simply a child’s active response to complex social, emotional, and educational influences, and that by tackling the root causes of a child’s attention and behavior problems’rather than masking the symptoms with medication and behavior-modification programs parents can help their children begin to experience fundamentally positive changes in their lives. This groundbreaking book provides parents and professionals with 50 innovative and proven strategies they can use to help children overcome their attention and behavior problems. His checklist helps parents decide which strategies are most appropriate, and hundreds of resources, including books and organizations are included. The Myth of the A.D.D. Child offers much needed practical help to both parents and professionals.

More than twenty years after Dr. Thomas Armstrong’s Myth of the A.D.D. Child first published, he presents much needed updates and insights in this substantially revised edition. When The Myth of the A.D.D. Child was first published in 1995, Dr. Thomas Armstrong made the controversial argument that many behaviors labeled as ADD or ADHD are simply a child’s active response to complex social, emotional, and educational influences. In this fully revised and updated edition, Dr. Armstrong shows readers how to address the underlying causes of a child’s attention and behavior problems in order to help their children implement positive changes in their lives.
The rate of ADHD diagnosis has increased sharply, along with the prescription of medications to treat it. Now needed more than ever, this book includes fifty-one new non-drug strategies to help children overcome attention and behavior problems, as well as updates to the original fifty proven strategies.
I’ve been a full-time writer and speaker for thirty-one years, focusing on the diversity of ways in which people learn and grow. I like to read (my favorite writers are James Joyce, Jorge Luis Borges, and David Foster Wallace), do mindfulness meditation, improvise on the piano, cook (Mediterranean diet), and watch art house movies on Filmstruck. I also like to travel. In 2015, I went to Machu Picchu, which was a real thrill, and last year I was in India, Colombia, Mexico, and Indonesia.

My latest book is The Myth of the ADHD Child: 101 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Behavior and Attention Span without Drugs, Labels, or Coercion (Tarcher/Perigee), publication date: August 29, 2017. In this book, I compare ADHD with the Blob from the old 1950’s movie, which just keeps rolling over new markets and incorporating them into its structure (the ADHD blob started out small in the 1970’s, then incorporated elementary school kids, then teens, then adults, and then young children – now I’m seeing articles on whether Alzheimer’s symptoms may actually be ADHD, so they’re going for the old folks now!). In the book I share 7 reasons for the 42 percent increase in ADHD diagnoses, including the fact that we don’t let kids play and be out in nature, and instead permit them to sit in front of electronic devices for hours every day, the fact that our schools have become test-taking factories, the fact that parents’s stresses can translate into ADHD symptoms, the fact that we’re living in a ”disability culture” where strengths are minimized and weaknesses magnified. Finally, I look at how the ADHD ”blob” has become a self-propelling force because of the economic inducements that come from the big profits made by pharmaceutical companies selling ADHD medications. And that’s just the first third of the book!

Most of the book consists of 101 non-drug strategies that can help kids with their attention span and behavior issues; everything from let your child fidget to teach emotional regulation strategies. Some other strategies include: limiting junk food, building resilience, nurturing creativity, matching your child with a mentor, suggesting effective study strategies, teaching your child how his brain works, holding family meetings, making time for nature, and using music to focus and calm. I’m not against the use of medications for some kids, but I feel they’re way over-prescribed, and that if parents (and doctors and psychologists) knew more about all the non-drug strategies that are out there, that there would be less need to label kids and medicate them (I also talk about the potential dangers of these drugs in the book).

To find out more about this book or my other fifteen books, you can visit my website: The site includes articles I’ve written, video clips, a list of the keynotes and workshops I give to education and parent groups, and a blog where I post material related to learning and human development at all age levels. I hope you visit my website and learn more about my work! You can contact me at:

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