Dr Brown expands on a new understanding of ADHD as developmental impairments of the executive functions of the brain that are easily overlooked in bright students
A new book from a Yale-trained titled ADHD and Asperger Syndrome in Smart Kids and Adults, an internationally recognised clinical psychologist helps parents, teachers, and clinicians recognise and address cognitive and social-emotional barriers that impair motivation in many smart kids and adults.
In the new book, Dr Thomas E Brown tells stories of his work with twelve very smart children, teens and adults who struggled with unrecognised, inadequately treated attentional and social-emotional problems. All were able to focus very well on a few specific activities that strongly interested them: video games, art projects, self-selected reading, or playing sports. Yet they could not muster or sustain motivation for much else. They seemed to suffer from “erectile dysfunction of the mind.”
Brown expands on a new understanding of ADHD as developmental impairments of the executive functions of the brain that are easily overlooked in bright students who are not hyperactive and do not demonstrate overt behavioural problems. These students struggle with focusing, getting organised, starting their work, sustaining attention and effort, and short-term memory. Some have been evaluated by clinicians who misdiagnosed underlying problems or prescribed inadequately fine-tuned medications.
These very bright patients also had a second problem: chronic difficulties in managing their emotions. Some were often awkward socially or had considerable difficulty understanding other people, especially their age mates. Their cognitive intelligence was above average, but their social communication and emotional intelligence were more limited. Brown describes Asperger syndrome as a helpful way to understand such difficulties, despite its having been removed from the psychiatric diagnostic manual.