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Bright Not Broken: Gifted Kids, ADHD, and Autism Hardcover – September 13, 2011

4 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"This book addresses an important, under discussed topic, supporting children with social and attention problems but who have good cognitive skills. With discussion of who they are and why they end up stuck and frustrated, this highly readable book fills an important need."
-- Fred R Volkmar, MD, Director, Yale Child Study Center

This book is essential for parents and professionals.  It is both theoretical, practical and creatively updates thinking on autism spectrum disorders.  In our experience change in the field only happens when parents campaign which these authors are doing with such enthusiasm.
Dr. Lorna Wing and Judith Gould, PhD
The National Autistic Society

"A work of tremendous scholarship and passion that deserves to be a seminal and paradigm-shifting work. It should be read by all parents of gifted children with coexistent disabilities--and the professionals who work with them."
William Sheehan, MD, Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Services, Willmar, MN

"This book is an outstanding analysis of the flaws in the educational and psychiatric approaches to children's challenges. It gave me excellent insight into my more challenging cases and has had a profound impact on my personal and professional life."
Ruth Goldberg, PhD, clinical and school psychologist, mother of three 2e children

"Bright Not Broken is a unique resource for parents and professionals who seek to understand children's behaviors.  The authors are to be applauded for their clear-thinking approach to the jungle of DSM labels--a must read for the open minded!"
Lydia Furman, MD, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, Cleveland OH

"This book is truly inspiring and it shows that by simply changing our perception of these children, and then the testing and education that stems from that perception, we can help them become successful, contributing adults." (psychcentral.com, March 13th, 2012)

From the Inside Flap

The future of our society depends on our gifted children—the population in which we'll find our next Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, or Virginia Woolf. Yet the gifts and talents of some of our most brilliant kids may never be recognized because these children fall into a group known as twice exceptional, or 2e. Twice-exceptional kids are both gifted and diagnosed with a disability—often ADHD or an autism spectrum disorder—leading teachers and parents to overlook the child's talents and focus solely on his weaknesses. Too often, these children get lost in an endless cycle of chasing diagnostic labels and are never given the tools to fully realize their own potential.

Bright Not Broken sheds new light on this vibrant population by identifying who twice-exceptional children are and taking an unflinching look at why they're stuck. The first work to boldly examine the widespread misdiagnosis and controversies that arise from our current diagnostic system, it serves as a wake-up call for parents and professionals to question why our mental health and education systems are failing our brightest children.

Most important, the authors show what we can do to help 2e children, providing a whole child model for parents and educators to strengthen and develop a child's innate gifts while also intervening to support the deficits. Drawing on painstaking research and personal experience, Bright Not Broken offers groundbreaking insight and practical strategies to those seeking to help 2e kids achieve their full potential.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470623322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470623329
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Todd Justman VINE VOICE on August 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The notion of a book focusing on the giftedness that accompanies ADHD/ASD was exciting since that's the kind of child we have. But despite the title clearly indicating guidance on how to help twice-exceptional children, I found very little in this book to do that. Even scanning the 10 chapters you see that the last two belong in the section "how to help them" and one of those chapters deals with diagnosis. And the other chapter is very thin on solutions; much come across as platitudes. Ultimately the book comes across as a rant against people being defined by their disabilities instead of their gifts. Wonderful message. I got there on my own years ago. Anyone who has seen the film "Temple Grandin" has gotten there, as well as anyone with a child who fits this 2e classification. We get it. But in case you don't, this book will drill it into you until you cry no mas.

The reason I got this book is that my child has already gone through plenty of testing, and it's become apparent to me that he fits this taxonomy. I suspect many, many others do. So I don't need repetitive chapters describing the type. I know the type. I live with the type. I probably *myself* fit the type. I got that. And our IEP team (fortunately) gets it too - but what we need are specific solutions that we can sell to the educators who implement the IEP. And anyone who has dealt with their IEP team and school knows, most the great ideas in the IEP meeting don't get implemented, and the ones that do, most don't get implemented properly, and of those, even less are measured. So platitudes and directional guidance are of little use. When it comes to special education, school districts love to live in the world of platitudes and no accountability because it's easier for them.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Having children on the spectrum, I see a lot of books that are full of information about what Autism or related disorders are. They spend a lot of time telling you to seek professional help or how the journey is going to be long and hard, but never giving a real sense of hope to the readers that their kids are special. Bright not Broken is a book that not only is informative, but also a resource filled with hope. It gets hard hearing how my kids are broken and the outcome devastating, but this book gave me a different outlook: My kids have a lot of promise. The authors tackle the school system and parent's way of thinking about their children. They encourage you to look deeper and see the skills and talents and uniqueness of your children. Instead of focusing so much on what they can't do, the authors challenge you to see what they can do--most times they do it better than most. I appreciated this book for the hope it holds out to parents and for not filling our minds with one more devastating fact about autism. Our children have special needs but the key word is that they truly are special.

This book goes into many different learning disabilities and disorders. I'm not sure its a cure-all if that is what you are looking for. Instead, its a different way of looking at kids with learning disabilities or on the spectrum. There is so much negativity and this books sheds a new view on these kids. For that, its well worth the read.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I got the chance to review this book just in the nick of time. I have two children with Aspergers Syndrome and their school meetings were coming up. This book covers so many issues that we've delt with throughout the years. First diagnosis seems to be ADHD, then perhaps Aspergers and a mood disorder. And no other source has ever given us any good ideas for dealing with all this packaged together, especially if they happen to be gifted as well.

Of course, as I began reading this, I teared up because I finally felt like someone understood what it was like to deal with the doctors and school systems. It's been a long and emotional road for us, but I think finally, we're on the right track. This book gives practical and encouraging advice and realizes that our systems aren't perfect, but there are additional things that can be done to help if you have the means. For us, we figured out a rewards system for the oldest. He does well in school, but refuses to do homework, so his grades are usually close to failing. He learns best by teaching himself (reading and hands-on) and we found, after discussing it over with him, that he would agree to do the homework that he finds an utter waste of time if we'd let him study on his own in advanced fields by allowing him to order textbooks and programs that he was interested in, mainly 3-D rendering and computer programming. It's working well so far, but it took some close monitoring in the beginning. He also has started repairing computers and game systems in his free time.

We're in the process of having the younger sibling evaluated now, and hoping to get an IEP in place for her. There are a great many ideas for younger children included, and I wish we would have had this book around when my older Aspie was younger. I have high hopes for her IEP, and I feel armed with information this time around!
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Bright Not Broken" has given me a lot to consider as a parent. I do think the book is best suited for those at the beginning of the process of sorting out what, exactly, is going on with a child who is bright but not the stereotypical "teacher's pet" academic overachiever. It's especially pertinent for those whose children are suspected of having ADHD.

I've always felt that ADHD is a bit of a "junk" diagnosis that lumps together children with many different underlying issues, including some who are just highly gifted & bored with the slow pace of the typical heterogeneous classroom. After reading "Bright Not Broken", I fully believe that a significant number of children with Asperger's Syndrome do, in fact, wind up mislabeled as ADHD. The authors are convincing in their argument that this mislabeling can result in less effective or even down right inappropriate treatment.

Where I found the book much less convincing, however, was the authors' position that ADHD and AS are "indistinguishable in their symptoms, deficits, and characteristics" and both conditions present "identical social, communication, and executive function impairments, as well as identical attention and oppositional behaviors." I don't think this is actually the case. I know people with attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity issues who do not at all show signs of having difficulty with non-verbal communication or emotional reciprocity. In fact, I know several who are "life of the party" types and impulsively showing off for peers without thinking through the potential consequences of their actions is part of their executive function impairment. Whatever is going on with them, it isn't AS.
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