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Interview with Author Debbie Zimmett

By: LD OnLine (2003)

Debbie Zimmett

In "Eddie Enough!" we meet third grader Edward Anthony Minetti, who never sits still, was born running, and whose "…first word actually was a sentence and I haven't stopped talking since." Do you know someone like Eddie?

Through my experiences as a teacher, summer camp nurse, mother and friend I have met many children and adults who talk too much, move too fast and can't seem to control their bodies no matter how hard they try. However, I was moved to sit down and write this book after I witnessed the confusion and hurt that my youngest son experienced while he was undiagnosed. I want everyone to know that there are solutions for many of the challenges that people with AD/HD experience. Eddie wants you to know that he knows lots of Eddies and some of them are even girls!

Eddie is having trouble making friends at school because he is fidgety, wiggly, and impulsive. In art class, Eddie isn't picked as a partner. Shelly Sue yells out "But Mr. Starr, I can't draw Eddie because he never sits still." The other kids laugh and Eddie pinches Shelly Sue. What advice can you give to the art teacher in this scenario?

Mr. Starr knows Eddie and probably has some idea of his capabilities. I would suggest that Mr. Starr begin by choosing Eddie as his partner and show the kids how to begin their assignment. Perhaps Eddie doesn't have to sit for his portrait. Maybe Eddie could hold something interesting which would help keep his hands busy and his mind focused. Eddie likes squeezing silly putty. When it is Eddie's turn to draw he could draw another pair of students doing their assignment so that he doesn't have to have his own partner. Soothing background music would help all the kids settle down and concentrate on their art.

Once Eddie is diagnosed with AD/HD, he begins medication, therapy, and starts to experience success on his new reward system. Is it important to talk to children about their AD/HD? What can you suggest?

I believe that it is extremely important for adults and children to communicate whether or not AD/HD is the issue. Whenever there is a conflict in the family or at school everyone involved must discuss the problem in order to work towards a solution. Certainly this is true when a child has a medical condition that requires changing routines and behaviors that are not effective. Sometimes kids with AD/HD are misunderstood and labeled "mean", "bad" or "a trouble maker". Therefore, it is important for the child, his friends and teachers to know what the child's challenges are so they can also be part of the solution. Eddie wants to tell you that even though it gets on his nerves when Miss Perfect Rachel tells him to "S.T.A.R." (Stop, Think, Act, Review), he knows she is really trying to help.