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Book Review: All Dogs Have ADHD

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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All Dogs Have ADHD by Kathy Hoopmann (Jessica Kingsley Publishers)
Cover image courtesy of Jessica Kingsley Publishers

The Bottom Line

By Kathy Hoopmann; 65 pages. From the book jacket: "Absorbing and insightful, this book takes a refreshing approach to understanding ADHD. It combines humour with understanding to reflect the joys and challenges of raising a child who is different."

This sequel to All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome takes the same approach, matching adorable animal photos with the particular traits of children with the disorder. It's an extremely accessible formula, and one that has the potential not only to inform, but to make kids with ADHD feel better about themselves by comparison to such cool critters.

About the Guide Rating

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Pros

  • Excellent idea for explaining ADHD to children
  • Also useful for explaining it to relatives who won't sift through piles of technical material
  • Dog photos are pretty darn adorable
  • Puts a positive spin on ADHD behaviors
  • Clearly a labor of love, for both children with ADHD and their canine friends

Cons

  • By necessity, this is a simple gloss on ADHD
  • You have to have a certain appreciation for pooches
  • Photos that require caption in addition to text less effective than ones that speak for themselves
  • May reinforce notions that ADHD is more like spiritedness than a condition needing medication
  • Proliferation of critter/condition books could get out of hand

Description

  • Page 1: "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder may be detected soon after a child is born." (Photo of sleeping puppy)
  • Page 2: "An ADHD child may not sleep as much as his parents would like." (Photo of wide-awake puppy)
  • Page 3: "His first steps aren't steps ... they are an attempt to escape," (Photo of puppy sneaking away from mom dog)
  • Page 4: "because the world was meant to be explored." (Photo of dog checking view from atop a tree branch)
  • Page 5: "He knows what he wants and he wants it NOW." (Photo of dog tugging on rope)
  • Page 6: "When opportunity presents itself, he goes for it," (Photo of dog pulling leash-holding owner sideways)
  • Page 7: "and may dive straight into a situation without thinking of the consequences." (Photo of dog jumping into river)
  • Page 8: "An ADHD child can be fearless," (Photo of dog facing off with three bulls)
  • Page 9: "but unfortunately, his body is not so invincible." (Photo of dog with cast on leg)
  • Page 10: "He is easily disorientated ... " (photo of lost dog poster)

    Text and photos continue through Page 64.

Guide Review - Book Review: All Dogs Have ADHD

At the end of my review to All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome, I noted that I'd certainly met some dogs with ADHD. And here they are! It's a natural connection to make, as anybody who's ever compared a hyper kid to an over-energized puppy can attest.

As with the earlier entry in this series, each glossy page of this slender, square book has a color photo of a dog or puppy in an appropriate pose, with a short bit of text describing an ADHD behavior and sometimes a caption written on the photo to explain the critter's state of mind. The language is simple and written in large letters, making this a nice choice for explaining ADHD to young siblings or classmates. It may also be a good little volume to pass on to older relatives who don't quite know how to handle your child's quirks, and aren't quite willing or able to read those reams of reports and research you've been passing their way -- though there's a risk that some may see it as confirmation that your child's just spirited in a good way and not "sick" in a way that needs therapy and medication.

Still, kids with ADHD will probably get a boost from having their behaviors compared to the frisky canines pictured here, and they're a group who could certainly use an upbeat spin on their comportment. That's what makes this concept so great, but I'm not sure where it can go from here. All Birds Have Tourette Syndrome? All Goldfish Are Bipolar? Maybe it's time to quit while the series has literally gone to the dogs.

Discuss this book.

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Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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