Sunday, July 26, 2015

Lake Charles' Dale Archer sees ADHD as advantage

            Call me defensive but as a mother of two children with ADHD I cringe when I see a new book on the market belittling the disorder. Dale Archer’s latest, “The ADHD Advantage: What You Thought Was a Diagnosis May Be Your Greatest Strength,” was a pleasant surprise.
            Archer is a psychiatrist and Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. A native of New Orleans and a graduate of Tulane and the University of Texas, he founded The Institute for Neuropsychiatry in Lake Charles.
            Archer is no stranger to ADHD, having lived with the disorder himself, but his new book looks at managing symptoms to the patient’s advantage rather than simply taking prescriptions. Archer admits repeatedly that there are many suffering from ADHD who need medication, but he fears that too many children and adults are being diagnosed for distractibility, impatience and impulsiveness who are really just suffering from curiosity, boredom and the lack of challenges, character traits that can be nurtured and supported without drugs. Many of the world’s innovators suffered from ADHD, he contends, and if workplaces acknowledged these super-achievers often labeled as scatterbrains it would work to everyone’s advantage.
            Again, Archer doesn’t downplay the disorder but rather offers ways of leveraging symptoms without drugs. He advocates being creative when educating children, working in ways that emphasizes the ADHD brain and creating environments that assist the non-linear thinker.
            “It’s a matter of leveraging its characteristics as strengths, choosing the right career and education path, and maintaining an awareness of what works, without struggling to try to fit into a box that teachers, family, peers and the rest of society call ‘normal,’” Archer writes.
            Amen to that. Now if we could just get the rest of the world on board. That, to me, is the real struggle.
            Archer’s first book, “Better Than Normal: How What Makes You Different Can Make You Exceptional,” was a New York Times bestseller.

New releases
University of Georgia J.O. Eidson Distinguished Professor Emeritus James Nagel examines recurring themes of culture, class and race in four volumes of short stories by Louisiana authors in “Race and Culture in New Orleans Stories: Kate Chopin, Grace King, AliceDunbar Nelson and George Washington Cable” (University of Alabama Press). Nagel is a former president of the international Ernest Hemingway Society and the author of 23 books, one of which was made into a Hollywood film.
Another Alabama Press book that deals with a Louisiana subject is R. Eric Platt’s “Sacrifice and Survival: Identity, Mission, and Jesuit Higher Education in the American South.” Platt traces the roots of Jesuit education from the rise of Ignatius Loyola in the mid-16th century through the European development of the Society of Jesus, Jesuit educational identity and mission, the migration of Jesuits to colonial New Orleans, the expulsion of Jesuits by Papal mandate, the reorganization of Jesuit education, their attempt to establish a network of educational institutions across the South, and the final closure of all but two southern Jesuit colleges and a set of high schools.
            S. Carlisle May, the great niece of Dr. Lamb Myhr, a World War II surgeon who served across Europe and North Africa, has published “A World War II Flight Surgeon’s Story” with Pelican Publishing of New Orleans. The book includes a foreword by Martin K.A. Morgan of New Orleans, author of “The Americans on D-Day: A Photographic History of the Normandy Invasion.”
            Also by Pelican is a new release of Robert Tallant’s novel, “Mrs. Candy and Saturday Night,” with a foreword by New Orleans author C.W. Cannon. The book follows Mrs. Candy who throws a party for the diverse renters of her New Orleans boarding house where secrets spill in the 24-hour time span of the story. Tallant was a participant in the WPA Writers’ Project during the 1930s and 1940s. During the last years of his life, he was a lecturer in English at Newcomb College.
            And for some strange stories of the South, try George Washington Cable’s “Strange True Stories of Louisiana,” written more than a century ago and republished in paperback, and Keven McQueen’s “Gothic and Strange True Tales of the South,” both published by Pelican.
            Stephanie Hoffpauir of Lafayette lost an amazing amount of weight and wants to share her secrets in her new ebook, “Weight Loss — The Peaceful Way: How I Lost Over 100 Lbs. Digging Deep and Coming Up Alive.” Hoffpauir is the founder of the Peaceful Weight Loss program. To learn more, visit http://stephaniehoffpauir.com/.

Book events
Gary Wiviott, a barbecue authority and Colleen Rush, a freelance food and travel writer, will sign “Low and Slow 2: The Art of Barbecue, Smoke-Roasting and Basic Curing” with 100 new recipes at 2 p.m. today at Octavia Books of New Orleans.
Teen aspiring astronaut and Louisiana native Alyssa Carson will be at the Lafayette Main Library at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. Caron will discuss her training and preparation to fulfill her dream of reaching Mars.
Events this week at Barnes & Noble Lafayette’s second annual “Get Pop-Cultured with Barnes and Noble,” are James Patterson Day today, a special storytime at 7 p.m. Tuesday in honor of the newly discovered Dr. Seuss book “What Pet Should I Get?” and the Dr. Seuss Spectacular at 7 p.m. Friday. In addition, the store is offering sweepstakes and giveaways. For more information on what’s happening during Get Pop-Cultured with Barnes & Noble month at Barnes & Noble Lafayette, customers can visit the store or www.bn.com/getpop-cultured. 
Writers’ Guild of Acadiana meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Barnes & Noble Lafayette. The meetings are free and open to the public.
            The Author and Reader Con will be Thursday through Saturday in New Orleans. For those who attend as a reader, the fee is only $15. Friday’s schedule is full of author panels, publishing discussions and fun events for readers. Saturday is the giant booksigning, then awards and a ball. For complete details, visit www.authorreadercon.com.
            Warren Mary Perrin will discuss and sign copies of “Acadie Then and Now: A People’s History” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Ascension Parish Library in Donaldsonville. For more information, call (337) 233-5832, or email perrin@plddo.com.