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Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. Paperback – April 4, 2014

4.4 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Read this well-written, empathetic book right away, feel less alone, and take away not only moral support but also valuable strategies for helping your child, yourself, and your family."
Susan Caughman, Editor-in-Chief, ADDitude Magazine


"Boy Without Instructions reads like a novel, gripping the reader with every page, every word. But Williams isn't making up stories; she's living them. She paints a painfully realistic picture of life with a child with ADHD."
Terry Matlen, Survival Tips for Women with ADHD


"If you have a child struggling to scribble between the lines of a 'typical' world expectation, this book could enliven your courage to draw new lines of adaption and acceptance for your child living with ADHD."
-- Mantu Joshi, M.Div., Author of The Resilient Parent


"This compassionate story will captivate your heart and feed your brain. A must read for all mothers (and fathers, too) of children with ADHD."
-- Patricia O. Quinn, M.D., Developmental Pediatrician, Author of Over 20 Books on ADHD, including Putting on the Brakes


"We experience joy to agony and everything in between as Williams takes us on her informative, validating, cautionary, and bittersweet adventure." 
-- Elaine Taylor-Klaus, CPCC, PCC; Co-Founder of ImpactADHD; Parenting Coach; and Author of ADHD in Reality

From the Author

I am one of those "fix it" types of mommas -- fix the boo-boos, fix the hurt feelings, fix whatever causes my children any pain. When my son, Ricochet, was diagnosed with ADHD in 2008, at just six years old, I was devastated. There's no "fix" for ADHD. It took me more than two years to figure it out -- there's no magic bullet for ADHD either, and obsessing about finding one can only make things worse. I realized a few years after diagnosis, that there is quite a learning curve to parenting a child with ADHD, and I was finally getting to the long, (mostly) even stretch at the end of it. 

Parents of children with ADHD are given a diagnosis, handed a prescription, and pushed back out into the world without any guidance, and certainly without instructions. "Call us if the medication doesn't prove beneficial," they might offer. It's my mission to help parents of children with ADHD learn how to get to know their children needs meaningfully so they can guide them to a happy and success future. I want to use my joy and pain in my learning curve to help others on this journey experience it with more joy and less pain. 
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Grace-Everett Press (April 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0991617800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0991617807
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Penny Williams: Can I hire you as our ADHD life coach? Seriously.

This book was one of the most touching books I’ve ever read, perhaps because I share the author’s journey through ADHD-land (and other LDs), but mainly because of the raw emotion that oozes out between the words. For anyone who has firsthand experience with ADHD and other related issues, you will feel like you are reading a very well written account of your own life. For anyone who doesn’t have firsthand experience but would like to truly understand what the experience is like for those of us who do, this book will accomplish that for you and give you an insider's view like no other I have ever read.

I was often brought to tears by Ms. Williams’ depiction of the struggles that are an integral part of day-to-day life for the families of children with these deficits, and there were times when I actually had to put down the book and take a break because the emotion was so strong. Yes, it was that powerful. On the other hand, it was cathartic for me to have to confront my own feelings as I rode along with Ms. Williams on her/our journey. As I was reading her words, I could feel her anger, joy, frustration, sadness, despair, hope, helplessness and yearning for knowledge and the tools to help deal with her son’s ADHD and LDs, as that is what we go through as we try our best to help our kids learn to live with this frustrating disability and discover the strengths they have lying beneath the surface. ADHD is a never-ending roller coaster ride of emotions, and it can bring you to your highest high and drop you to your lowest low in a matter of minutes, and Ms. Williams has captured all that in her beautiful book.
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Format: Paperback
Attention Teachers- have you ever had "that kid" in your classroom? You know what I mean, the kid that won't listen, bounces around the room and seems to really struggle with obedience? You may even think, "what in the world is going on at home?". Well, this book answers that very question in an open, honest way that may shine a beautiful light on "that kid". I found Ms. Williams honesty to be remarkable. She writes with such an open candidness that causes your heart to break, to rejoice, to want to stand up and protect her sweet Ricochet from the perils of his struggles. As a Nationally Certified Exceptional Children's teacher I wanted to, at times, stand beside Ms. Williams at the EC meetings and fight for services. I also wanted to console her and say "I am sorry" when things didn't go her (or his) way. But mostly, I appreciate the insight as to what the home life is like for a little boy that would absolutely be in my classroom. I am thankful that the door was opened into the life of a deeply devoted and loving family that has rallied together to love, care for, and raise a child that has the challenge of living with ADHD. Thank you, Mis. Williams for writing your book. You have stewarded the joy of raising Ricochet with honor and grace. Bravo.
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As a parent of a child with ADHD, I was excited to read this first-person account from another parent on that journey, and to gain some wisdom & perspective from her experience. Sadly, that was not the case, at least not in the way that she probably intended. Contrary to the title, it is NOT about a "boy" at all, as the reader never really gets to know the boy, other than as a vessel for ADHD and all of his mom's anxieties. It is, rather, a series of vignettes about a mother's struggles to make her child succeed (by her own definition of success) at school, and most of it is centered on the painful search for medications to achieve that. What I did gain from the book was a stronger resolve to continue home-schooling my son and not put him through that. Of course, it's not possible for everyone, but the fact is, when school is out of the equation, ADHD is a lot easier to deal with, and this book made that very clear!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Penny's book over this rainy weekend. She shares her family's journey with great insight, humorous charm, and such sincerity. I found myself cheering her on when she described a "win", nodding in agreement when she shared a "learning", and sympathizing when she went through a difficult moment. I would have liked for Penny to be a little more thorough in some parts of her book, but all in all, her "short" version of the first few years after her son's ADHD diagnosis was a good read.
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I'm so glad I read this. We are just beginning our ADHD journey and, while my kiddo's case is not as severe and we're (so far) not dealing with other LDs on top of it, it's so helpful to read the struggles, strategies, and real thoughts of someone who has been there. Most enlightening was her discussion toward the end of Ricochet's disability and how long it took to accept that term without using it to make excuses for him. So well written and vital to anyone who feels adrift in the ADHD ocean.
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Great book for mom's with children of ADHD. I loved this book! As I read it, I felt like OMG there is someone out there who is going through some of the same situations (school, IEPs, meds). It was like my own little support group and it was so comforting.
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