Space Cadets

So this is sort of a We Recommend, but in reverse. Not that it's We Warn You Off, but more that instead of telling I am asking.

My sister is the mother of an extremely nice 7-year-old boy. He's perfectly delightful: sweet and caring and affectionate, obsessed by Legos and the workings of machines, silly and goofy and winning. Also: struggling MIGHTILY with writing and, to a lesser extent, reading. Also: he spaces out. A LOT.

This sort of thing kills me, because I wonder how much easier things would be if he were in a place where the school system was not so hung up on getting everyone to read at 6. But so it goes. What's more of a concern is his general out-of-it-ness, And it's starting to look like everyone's old friend, ADD, might be in the mix. More specifically: ADD, inattentive type.

His mother was wondering whether anyone knew of any books that might be helpful to her, anything that could help her find ways to help him, beyond medication. I have no idea. But you guys? Any great books to pass along to a fellow grown-up?

6 thoughts on “Space Cadets

  1. Wow, I was just talking about this with my sister in law yesterday (she is a special education teacher – it amazes me what knowledge she has about teaching methods for ALL children). I’ll ask her what she recommends for literature. There’s a not-too-huge section in my local library that has several choices in this area. Many were geared specifically to children’s ADD; I read one called Delivered from distraction:getting the most out of life with attention deficit disorder, by Edward M. Hallowell and John J. Ratey.
    I read it for a reference for adult ADD (inattentive), but would be appropriate for children as well I think.


  2. A friend of mine swears by Eating for Autism, which is about diets for ADD, ADHD and Autism. Her daughter has ADHD and the meds made a difference, but she was still having a lot of issues and this has helped in conjunction with…


  3. I’d recommend homeopathy — used as a support for his overall well-being. Paul Herscue in Connecticut is world-renowned, and out here on the west coast I know of several, including Dr. Murray Clarke.


  4. I only know of a few books I read when we first started getting services and looking at preschools — books that helped me tremendously — but none are specifically about ADD. I’ll keep my ears open…


  5. Oh, he sounds like my son, only all the machinery interest there is just more brainspace for Star Wars Lego here.
    I don’t have much help for the mom and am going to check out the above books. But (not that you asked) for the son…
    Our guy can read chapter books but prefers the pictures, so we’re just coasting with those. The only chapter books he has interest in are the ones that are the novelizations of Phineas and Ferb. I find them so literally transcribed as to be tedious, but he loves them. Also: comic books. Star Wars comic books, Pixar based comic books, Star Wars graphic novels or the DK “Guide to Lego Star Wars” (getting a theme?). He also prefers non-fiction, FWIW. He doesn’t space nearly as much on these as, say, *I* do. Also the Lego magazine (though strangely not the other non-fiction mags we’ve tried). Hope she hangs in there with him! First grade is wearing on my guy–not academically but the “needing to stay with it all day” part. Good luck to her and thanks for the great topic!


  6. Teach him to knit! Seriously!
    The part of the brain that lights up when knitting is the same part of the brain that lights up when reading. Couple this with the fact that knitting is a repetitive, fine motor activity (like reading) and what you’ll find is the neuron pathways that need to be strengthed for reading will be stregthened by this right/left brain crossover PHYSICAL activity
    “Eugene Schwartz, Educational Consultant and author of the book the “Millennial Child”, says that “Recent neurological research tends to confirm that mobility and dexterity in the fine motor muscles, especially the hand, may stimulate the cellular development of the brain. That there is a connection between manual dexterity and intellectual development.”
    What occurs when a child sets about to knit? Each hand is assigned its respective activity and Bilateralism is immediately established as well as the eye’s control over the hand. Bilateralism is crucial for strengthening the thinking process, as it builds both the right and the left hemispheres of the brain. The child is also asserting a degree of control over his will. In the process of looping, pulling, and tying a knot, a steady controlled hand is needed so the power of concentration is awakened. ”
    from: but more scholarly evidence is available.
    For the mother, I would recommend ‘Proust and the Squid – The Story and Science of the Reading Brain’ by Professor Maryanne Wolf. Fascinating.


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