WILLIE by Ann Colin


Raising and Loving a Child with Attention Deficit Disorder
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 A mother's account of raising a child who threw tantrums, had sleep disturbances and speech problems, scratched and hit schoolmates, but was also loving and bright. Willie was Colin's first child. The pregnancy was reasonably uneventful, as was the birth. Although the cord was wrapped twice around the baby's neck, it seemed to cause no damage. It wasn't until Colin saw other children playing near or with each other in Willie's play schools and baby gym classes that she began to have questions about her son's aversion to noise and groups, his seemingly low level of frustration in certain situations (such as the sandbox, where he wopuld get ``really territorial''), and his occasional hyperkinetic behavior. A tortured year in a preschool where the head teacher finally suggested that Willie might be brain-damaged sent the angry parents on a frustrating round of evaluations for their son. Finally, one sympathetic psychologist suggested that Willie might be suffering from attention deficit disorder (ADD), and the cluster of symptoms seemed to fit Willie perfectly. The next year in a new preschool was only slightly more successful, as Ritalin and Dexedrine, the medications commonly prescribed for ADD, seemed only to aggravate Willie's behavioral problems. But weekly sessions of play therapy and speech therapy, plus the prospect of a splendid new school geared to working with children with ADD, launched Willie optimistically into his fifth year. Colin, a former features editor at McCall's, offers a careful explanation of what ADD is believed to be and touches on the problem of the increasing frequency with which an ADD diagnosis and medication are used to bring disruptive children under control in school. This tale of the discrimination, rejection, and misunderstanding that Willie faced is redeemed by a portrait of parents who persisted until they found the right slot for their son. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-670-86314-9
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1996


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