At first glance this comprehensive book by Ioannis Tzivanakis might appear to be a mere pamphlet. It is a tiny book, easy to hold and designed to be read in small information bites that allow the reader to process its information at their own pace. However, small but mighty is the phrase that might be used here. In ninety-three pages, the author decodes the illusory ‘disease’ of ADHD, moving on to identify the nurturing power of this form of deep perception, and, thus, guiding us to appreciate the nourishing engagement of human encounters.
As we know, it is a common misconception to believe that the person labelled with ADHD cannot focus on anything. Ioannis attacks this myth head on. He identifies how we might come to believe it, and, then, guides us firmly and gently toward a greater understanding of the human organisim’s inherent engagement with awareness, attention, focus, and need. The book’s emphasis on definition and explanation helps us to gain insight into what can become, for some, a “problematic lack of control over the functioning and movement of our attention.”
The book begins with a reference to Einstein and Newton, both individuals who are justifiably famous and who are universally recognised as unique thinkers. The author’s point is that Einstein and Newton were aware of what they were doing and that their remarkable thinking processes did not mean that “they had lost contact with concrete and practical reality.” He iterates that it was their “conscious will” that strongly and decisively guided their thinking and experience. Reminding us of the inherent respect that we have for these great minds provides a fine introduction to this book’s perspective on ADHD, and it introduces us to the author’s intention to teach us about the transformative power that lies in the understanding of ADHD.
Ioannis’ writing style is academic and, at times, the fact that he has written the book in his second language can cause some difficulty to the reader. However, our perseverance is rewarded. The author leads us step by step toward a keen appreciation of how when the respective needs of the individual are met, the restlessness for learning and activity is recognised, and there is an inherent respect for the individual’s freedom of thought, we can offer significant help. He offers us an understanding of the different ways that ADHD can be identified, collated, and understood so that we can help the person to become who and what they are and want to be; so that we can help them to become aware of their own needs; and, so that we can offer them our attention as they organise their own actions to satisfy their will.
I think that everyone who reads this book will emerge with a greater knowledge of the sources of ADHD and a sense of its transformative power.