I am happy to present an interview with Jim Forgan, PhD., author of Terrific Teddy’s Excessive Energy.
Dr. Jim Forgan is a licensed School Psychologist in Jupiter, Florida which is in Palm Beach County, Florida. Dr. Forgan has two children and he understands giftedness, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and ADD/ADHD from the parent and professional perspective. He specializes in helping parents help children.
Dr. Forgan is a Diplomate of the American Board of School Neuropsychology and a Barton certified dyslexia testing specialist. He is a tenured associate professor at Florida Atlantic University where he instructs teachers how to assess and teach students with various learning or social disorders. Dr. Forgan has written five books that are published by national publishers and in bookstores including Raising Boys with ADHD and Raising Girls with ADHD. To learn more about Dr. Forgan’s practice, publications and resources, check out his website here.
I want to personally thank Dr. Forgan for answering my questions which can be helpful for many parents who have a child or children diagnosed ADHD.
1. What inspired you to write Terrific Teddy’s Excessive Energy?
I wrote this book because I have a child with ADHD and had to explain to him why some things were harder. In addition, since I’m school psychologist in private practice, when I meet with parents to review their child’s testing results parents often ask, “What should I tell my child?” I’ve talked parents through what to say to their child and decided to put the conversation into a book that parents can read to their child. Most children enjoy being read to and easily relate to a book’s character. Using a book to explain learning differences helps guide a conversation to give children understanding.
2. What recommendations can you make to a parent that suspects their child has ADHD? If a parent suspects their child has ADHD, trust your instinct. In my experience of working with families, a mom’s instinct is usually right. While ADHD can be diagnosed by a pediatrician, consider having a full psychoeducational evaluation done if you child is also experiencing learning difficulty or emotional problems.
3. I love that you gave two optional endings. Why did you offer two endings and how would you choose which ending to use? In each book in the learning differences series parents have the option of using the specific term or by describing the challenges in general terms. I’ve learned that when a child is very young, parents often do not want to use a label such as ADHD or dyslexia but by the time a child is in third or fourth grade, they are ok with using an official term. I believe by the end of fourth grade, a child should know the official term and what it specifically means for them.
4. At what age would you explain to a child that they have ADHD? I recommend explaining ADHD to a child as young as five years old using a general description and to children ages fourth grade and older using the official term. The main idea is to give your child understanding that you realize some things are harder for him or her and that you’ll work together to help your child.