Interview with Kerin Bellak-Adams
AD/HD Success! Solutions for Boosting Self-Esteem: The Diary Method for Ages 7-17
Loving Healing Press (2010)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (01/10)
Today, Tyler R. Tichelaar of Reader Views is pleased to interview Kerin Bellak-Adams, who is here to talk about her new book, “AD/HD SUCCESS! Solutions for Boosting Self-Esteem: The Diary Method for Ages 7-17.
Kerin Bellak-Adams is accredited through ICF with an ACC certification and has years of experience as a highly respected coach, speaker, and expert on AD/HD. She has taught elementary school children with ADD and comes from an unusual background being the daughter of world-renowned psychiatrist Dr. Leopold Bellak, a pioneer in ADD, back in the 1960s. Along with her coaching and speaking, Kerin has just released a workbook called “AD/HD SUCCESS! Solutions for Boosting Self-Esteem: The Diary Method for Ages 7-17.” From her teaching experience, Kerin not only developed this book, but specializes in coaching parents on such issues as: how to find your child or teenager’s gifts, how to ask questions that help with focus and get the actions you most desire, and much more. She also coaches kids ages ten and older with ADD symptoms and helps them define small steps that will help them feel more in control of themselves and happier.
Kerin is the president of ReachBeyondADD and president of CPSPublishing Inc, and she has often been compared to her father for being equally passionate and ambitious in helping others with ADHD challenges. She has earned the respect of many well-known colleagues in the field, including Dr. Edward Hallowell, author of “Driven To Distraction.” She has been a sought after speaker for many years.
Kerin’s warmth and innovative questioning along with dashes of humor have been the baseline for her coaching methodology. Often referred to as a “can-opener,” she creatively allows and motivates people to go beyond their limitations and tap into their inner sources of strength. With her years of experience she has earned the reputation of igniting sparks from within, leading to many “Ah-ha!” moments as people begin to fulfill their potential. Her overall goal is for people not only to gain a basket of concepts and strategies, but also to become independent as they absorb her passion, persistence, and patience.
Tyler: Welcome, Kerin. I’m glad you could join me today. To begin, will you clarify the terms a little for us? I know ADD stands for Attention Deficit Disorder, but what is the difference with AD/HD?
Kerin: AD/HD simply includes the extra challenge of being hyper besides having trouble focusing, and the H stands for hyperactivity.
Tyler: One of the many wonderful reviews you’ve received, specifically from Theresa C. Cavanaugh, LDT-C, President of Learning Disabilities Association of New York, states that your book “goes a long way in advocating understanding of AD/HD—what it is, and what it is NOT!!!” Would you explain to us what it is not to clear up any misconceptions?
Kerin: AD/HD is the most commonly diagnosed behavior, which simply means that those who have it suffer from disorganization, impulse control, and many other basic functioning skills. It is not a mental disorder! It is a chemical imbalance in the brain. It is not something that characterizes someone as stupid. More often than not, those who suffer with ADD or AD/HD are much brighter than the average person.
Tyler: When did you come up with the idea for “AD/HD Success!” and how did you think it would benefit children and young adults with AD/HD?
Kerin: I came up with the idea after teaching children with ADD, or learning issues. I simply experienced how amazing the results were from working with children in a positive manner and from this experience and from being a writer for many years, I was able to put together prompts and exercises that would enhance the children’s understanding of how many things they do in a day that come easily and without challenge while gently helping them to strive for higher levels of productivity both academically and socially.
Tyler: Your subtitle goes beyond “Success” to discuss boosting “self-esteem.” How does AD/HD affect self-esteem and why is self-esteem so important to focus on?
Kerin: Self-esteem is the basis for all of life. Without it, kids can feel crushed and so disappointed in themselves, and they just give up! With the struggles of just not being able to focus, a child will feel much less confident and this will diminish the chances of self-esteem developing.
Tyler: Would you explain to us how the diary approach works to build self-esteem?
Kerin: The diary pages are designed to help kids ages seven to seventeen and older, recognize through the prompts and questions that they have strengths that they were not aware of and in relation to others, such as empathy, good manners, doing well at certain activities and classes. This recognition and repetition of the diary pages creates a healthier self-image from which strength will develop.
Tyler: The title refers to “diary” but this book suggests more than a diary—it is more like a workbook. Will you explain some of what the workbook includes and why these items were included?
Kerin: Some of what the workbook includes are the following chapters:
A Review of Self-Esteem and Positive Reinforcement
Home/School Daily Accountability Sheet
A Feelings Rating Log
Feelings Rating Tally
Assignments of a Different Kind
Parent Self-Talk Coping Strategies
An assignment called: If Your Kids Could Say what is Really on Their Minds
Student Success Stories
Famous People with AD/HD
These were all included because children and their parents need to focus on the development of the child’s self-esteem The different chapters point the reader toward this direction both at home and in school.
Children need simpler ways to connect to themselves and be aware of how they feel about themselves in writing in a plain and simple way, so they can have more control on how to help themselves feel the best that they can, and strive toward feeling they are worth learning and identifying with their strengths.
Tyler: Kerin, I imagine other workbooks exist for children with AD/HD. How is your book different or innovative compared to the other books available to parents or teachers?
Kerin: This is the only hands-on workbook available to kids and parents to work in, except for one that is written in Hebrew, and I hear it is not as helpful as mine from schools in Israel. My workbook also has a very specific outline for teachers to fill out on the students with AD/HD so that both parent and teacher are aware of the same issues: the child’s growth and need for improvement.
Tyler: Where should this book be used—in the home or at school? To what degree should parents or teachers be involved with the child in working through the book?
Kerin: This book is to be used in the home in terms of the Diary Pages, but it is also being used in the classroom. The age of the child and level of interest will determine how much the parent is needed for the diary pages and other exercises in the book.
Tyler: Kerin, ultimately, what do you hope or believe will be the results for children who use “AD/HD SUCCESS!”?
Kerin: My hope is that children become more conscious of who they are and what they can achieve one day at a time. I also hope that these exercises will give them the determination to try harder at what is difficult in everyday life, while they slowly develop greater control over their social and academic skills. I also hope that they become more aware of others around them, and learn empathy and sensitivity in relation to them. Lastly, I hope that this workbook allows for greater communication between the parent and the child, while promoting teamwork between the parent, child, teacher, and the school guidance counselor.
Tyler: Thank you for the privilege to interview you today, Kerin. Before we go, will you tell us about your website and what additional information can be found there about “AD/HD SUCCESS! Solutions for Boosting Self-Esteem: The Diary Method for Ages 7-17”?
Kerin: Yes, it is called www.ReachBeyondADD.com. On it you will find samples of diary pages, and wonderful book reviews and testimonies.
Thank you again, Kerin. I admire your work and your focus on helping children. I hope “AD/HD Success!” leads many children to the success we all wish for them.