Book Bag: ‘What Your ADHD Child Wishes You Knew’ by Sharon Saline; ‘Gettin’ Home: An Odyseey Through The ‘60s’ by Steve Nelson

Staff Writer
Published: 9/26/2019 9:43:31 AM

Pioneer Valley psychologist Sharon Saline has a personal connection to young people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): She had a younger brother who battled issues such as disorganization, forgetfulness, concentration and other “executive functioning skills” affected by the syndrome.

“He struggled, my parents struggled with him, and I watched it all unfold,” Saline writes in her new book. “They used a top-down, authoritative model of parenting that just did not work.”

But in “What Your ADHD Child Wishes You Knew: Working Together to Empower Kids for Success in School and Life,” Saline describes her past work with ADHD patients and lays out strategies for parents and children to deal with the disorder.

She calls her approach the “Fives C’s of ADHD Parenting”: self-control, compassion, collaboration, consistency and celebration. All are aimed, she says, at giving parents a better understanding of what their children struggle with so that they’re in a better position to help.

Her book also offers many case studies of children and teens with ADHD to illustrate how to help — and what not to do. For example, 9-year-old Davis (not his real name) was having trouble hewing to the plans his parents and teacher had devised to have him read quietly by himself when he began getting upset about something. His parents would yell when he refused to do as he’d agreed, or he’d be sent to the principal’s office while at school.

But Davis’ parents and his teacher, working with Saline, devised a new plan, in part by listening to him more attentively when he was upset about something, or reading along with him for 15 minutes. If Davis stuck to this plan, he was rewarded with a little more daily TV or video game time.

“For Davis, these interventions emphasized connection not punishment, correction not shaming,” Saline writes. “Within three weeks, there was already an improvement.”

Saline includes many quotes from children with ADHD to help make the case for parents to become better tuned-in to what their sons and daughters are going through. “Kids repeatedly tell me they want to be heard,” she writes. “Listen to your child or teen. You don’t have to accede to their wishes, but you do need to acknowledge their concerns to clinch their participation.”

For more information, visit

‘Gettin’ Home: An Odyssey Through the ‘60s’ b​​​​​​y Steve Nelson

The seminal 1960s rock band The Velvet Underground is back in the spotlight with the opening of a major multimedia exhibit in New York City; the show, running through Dec. 18, features rare photographs, portraits, videos, live concerts and musical workshops.

What may have been forgotten about The VU is that the band gigged several times at the former Woodrose Ballroom in South Deerfield, a rock club circa 1969-70, and at the Paramount Theater in Springfield, in shows produced by one-time local music impresario Steve Nelson. It’s a story Nelson details in his memoir, ”Gettin’ Home,” about coming of age in the turbulent 1960s, a journey that took him from New York to South America to Harvard Law School and eventually western Massachusetts.

Nelson, who today lives in Berkshire County, became the manager of a former Boston rock club, the Tea Party, in the late 1960s, and his memoir is full of anecdotes (and pictures) of the noted bands that played there, including The VU (whose members he became friends with), The Yardbirds, B.B. King and other notable acts. He once had dinner in Boston with Eric Clapton and rock critic Jon Landau, listening a little open-mouthed as Landau bluntly told Clapton his band Cream was “getting stale.”

When he managed the Woodrose Ballroom, Nelson says, it became the first club in western Massachusetts regularly to feature national rock acts like Van Morrison, The VU and The Allman Brothers, as well as local bands such as FAT. In the Valley, Nelson also developed a relationship with his future wife, Jan, then a graduate student at UMass Amherst.

Nelson also recounts battling his draft board during the Vietnam War, his decision not to become a lawyer, and eventually getting involved in solar energy creation, video production and other fields. He recalls a troubled night at the top of a fire lookout tower in Shelburne Falls in 1970 when he wondered whether he’d made the right choices in his life.

For more information, visit ​​​​​​​​​​​​.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at


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