Why Some Smart Kids and Adults Fail to Fulfill Their Potential

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif., Oct. 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — A new book from a Yale-trained, internationally- recognized clinical psychologist helps parents, teachers, and clinicians recognize and address cognitive and social-emotional barriers that impair motivation in many smart kids and adults.

In this highly praised new book Dr. Thomas E. Brown tells stories of his work with twelve very smart children, teens and adults who struggled with unrecognized, inadequately treated attentional and social-emotional problems. All were able to focus very well on a few specific activities that strongly interested them: video games, art projects, self-selected reading, or playing sports. Yet they could not muster or sustain motivation for much else. They seemed to suffer from "erectile dysfunction of the mind."

Brown expands on a new understanding of ADHD as developmental impairments of the executive functions of the brain that are easily overlooked in bright students who are not hyperactive and do not demonstrate overt behavioral problems. These students struggle with focusing, getting organized, starting their work, sustaining attention and effort, and short-term memory. Some have been evaluated by clinicians who misdiagnosed underlying problems or prescribed inadequately fine-tuned medications.

These very bright patients also had a second problem: chronic difficulties in managing their emotions. Some were often awkward socially or had considerable difficulty understanding other people, especially their age mates. Their cognitive intelligence was above average, but their social communication and emotional intelligence was more limited. Brown describes Asperger syndrome as a helpful way to understand such difficulties, despite its having been removed from the psychiatric diagnostic manual. He describes his work with individuals such as:

  • A kid often bullied in school because he unwittingly provoked classmates.
  • An 8th grader whose parents polarized over his going "on strike" in school.
  • A college student arrested for repeatedly contacting a girl he wanted to date.
  • A top graduate in computer science reluctant to leave his parents’ home
  • A brilliant young attorney fired from 3 law firms for difficulties in relating to staff.

ADVANCE PRAISE FOR ADHD and Asperger Syndrome in Smart Kids and Adults

This book does a marvelous job of exploring complex connections between Asperger’s and ADHD as well as implications for treatment. It has much to offer to mental health practitioners, parents and teachers. Fred R. Volkmar, M.D. Professor of Psychiatry, Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine; editor, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

I read your book and really like all the case histories of adults, young adults, and children. It will provide valuable insights to parents and teachers. Temple Grandin, Ph.D. Professor Colorado State University, author, The Autistic Brain and Thinking in Pictures, My Life with Autism.

Brown shows us the talents and strengths in this widely misunderstood group of children and adults. A major contribution, a beautiful book!" Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. author, New York Times bestseller, Driven to Distraction, as well as Delivered from Distraction and ADHD.2.0

A masterful storyteller, Brown uncovers the "central mystery of ADHD" and provides a science-based understanding within the framework of beautifully articulated stories of daily life in those challenged by ADHD with Asperger Syndrome. Elizabeth Laugeson, Psy.D. Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UCLA. author: The Science of Making Friends.                                                     

Psychologist Thomas E. Brown served on the clinical faculty for psychiatry at Yale Medical School for 20 years and now directs a clinic for children and adults with ADHD and related disorders in Manhattan Beach, CA. For 18 years he taught continuing medical education courses on ADHD for the American Psychiatric Association. He has given lectures and workshops in hospitals, medical schools, and universities throughout the U.S. and in 40 other countries. He has published six books including Smart but Stuck: Emotions in Teens and Adults with ADHD. His 28-minute video "What is ADHD: Attention Deficit Disorder Explained" on YouTube has received more than 4 million views. His website is www.BrownADHDClinic.com

ADHD and Asperger Syndrome in Smart Kids and Adults: Twelve Stories of Struggle, Support, and Treatment ($39.95, 209 pages, paperback, Routledge, ISBN978-0-367-69490-6) is now available from Amazon and other booksellers.

CONTACT: Dr. Thomas E. Brown 310-590-7181; www.BrownADHDclinic.com

SOURCE Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D.