Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention

Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention

by Katherine Ellison


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401312794
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 12/04/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Katherine Ellison is a Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative journalist, former foreign correspondent, writing consultant, author of four books, and mother of two sons. Her most recent writing has focused primarily on neuroscience and the environment.

Table of Contents

Prologue: The Predicament: "Understand Me!" 1

It's Personal

Chapter 1 History: Stuck on Input 15

Chapter 2 Emergency: Crossing Lines in the Ritalin Wars 36

Chapter 3 Biology: The Anatomy of Distraction 53

Chapter 4 Relationships: The Cookie of Peace 77

It's Cultural

Chapter 5 Society: Attack of the Chronophages 99

Chapter 6 Education: The Rules of Engagement 117

Chapter 7 Add-Vocacy: The Strength in Numbers 134

Is It Curable?

Chapter 8 Wired: Braving the New World of Neurofeedback 153

Chapter 9 Meditation: "No One Ever Died of Restlessness" 172

How About Reframable?

Chapter 10 The White Contender 195

Chapter 11 Knots To Undo 207

Epilogue: What Else Worked 217

Notes 227

Select Bibliography 277

On Methods and In Gratitude 279

Index 283

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Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 58 reviews.
Hope Matheny More than 1 year ago
A book that brings hope and peace to a world full of noise and brilliance! A must read for parents and teachers who deal with the fragile mind of a child with ADHD.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is easy to read and the author is very enjoyable. If your child shows signs of ADD or just isn't the standard learner and social follower you hope he/she would be, the author provides incidents you have probably faced in trying to understand the situation and all the resources of information - she gives you the pros and cons of all sides.
smartell on LibraryThing 21 days ago
I commend Ellison for accepting her need for help in dealing with her ADD at the same time she is trying to help her son deal with his. Although the writing seems disjointed to some, those of us with ADHD or ADD understand fully this style of relating. I learned much from this book and was impressed with Ellison's honesty about the mistakes she made as a parent. Although I am not a parent, I can only imagine how helpless one would feel if you couldn't get through to your child enough to help them. By embracing her own diagnosis, Katherine was able to help Buzz deal better with his own. A worthwhile read for those struggling with loved ones with the diagnosis.
katherinebarrus on LibraryThing 21 days ago
I took my time reading this book and found, in the end, I really appreciated Ellison's approach. I am not facing similar problems at the moment, but worry about my young son and I thought Ellison was thoughtful, open, and forthright about what worked and didn't work for her and her family. Her suggestions could certainly apply to other challenges as well, and her optimism was encouraging. I felt that I got to know her and Buzz and wanted to cheer them on in their efforts to create more harmony and understanding in their home.
athometarheel on LibraryThing 21 days ago
I also have 2 children with ADD, my son more affected than my daughter. The process Katherine goes through to discover ways to help her son is so touching. I can relate to the pressure that I was put under from teachers to medicate my own son, who then developed facial tics so we tried yet another medication which did not work as well. As Katherine rode that emotional roller coaster of guilt, I could relate because I experienced the same emotions and guilt. After finishing her story, I became more aware of myself and my children as individual beings whose disability did not define who they are. Thanks Katherine for sharing your story.
Mmccullough on LibraryThing 21 days ago
A mother's attempt to come to terms with her son's and her own ADHD issues during one year of their lives.
dablackwood on LibraryThing 21 days ago
I really loved this book. Since I work at a school that specializes in the education of ADD kids, I wasn't really expecting to hear much that I hadn't heard already. Katherine Ellison does a wonderful job of getting inside the head of her ADD son, Buzz, and also her own head because she has ADD also. I was fascinated with her descriptions of family life when one or more member is so distracted and disorganized. She is such a believable parent. And she tells on herself. Many of us as teachers and parents know what the right thing to do or say is - but we don't always do it. Ms. Ellison gets right down in the trenches and admits her failings and her small successes. I really appreciate the service she has done to folks dealing with this neurological disorder.
hsullivan on LibraryThing 21 days ago
I wanted to love this book. I sympathized with Ellison's struggle to accept and live with her and her son's ADHD diagnoses. However, it was described as a memoir, and there were some stories on the difficulties and triumphs that she and Buzz faced, but there was a lot more information in this book than I wanted to know. I would recommend it to a parent who is struggling with their child's ADHD, but as a parent who doesn't face that struggle, I wouldn't recommend it to most people as casual reading. All in all, very well written and informative.
acornell on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Katherine Ellison wants to specifically spend a year focusing on her son because he is diagnosed with ADD¿Attention Deficit Disorder. He is chronically misbehaving in school and fighting with his parents and brother. Ms. Ellison realizes that she shares a lot of these problems with her son and thinks a year of learning to focus can be good for them both.Each chapter is devoted to a different kind of practice and learning about ADD and the therapies that have arisen to teach people to focus in spite of ADD. In the chapters we see a very interesting story of a mother and her real struggles with husband and children culminating in an emotional but successful Bar Mitzvah for the boy who is subject of this story.The thread that ties most of the chapters together and the most interesting debate and argument that runs through the book is whether or not to medicate one¿s ADD child. It is a rancorous debate and one which I will need to stop pontificating on myself. The author suggests that you can not really know what you will do unless you have a child with these problems. I did find this memoir to be very interesting especially if you are a parent who is struggling with these issues or thinking about medicating your child. It got a bit dry at times¿mostly when discussing various therapies and how they work or don¿t work. The real interest for me was in her sweet relationship with her son and her own realizations about how to be a better parent. The chapter when she went to the mediation retreat was funny. I really related to her struggles with silence.To be sure there are lessons for all of us in here about being a better parent, focusing on your life and what is important to you, loving your children in spite of who they are and a great discourse about the place of big pharma in all our lives.
jpsnow on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Written by an accomplished journalist, this book chronicles the author's trials at dealing with her son's and her own ADD. What I liked most about this book is cleverness at combining psychological observations with more general social commentary. What I found confusing was understanding what part of the book was the specific Year of Paying Attention.
oelusiveone on LibraryThing 21 days ago
I especially enjoyed this book because the author was open minded & willing to try anything even if she wasn't a fan(i.e. medication). Unfortunately, not everything she felt was helpful was within the economic reach of most people. I found some of her behavior towards her son a little disturbing, but overall I felt it was an interesting way to present different approaches to ADHD
SallyApollon on LibraryThing 21 days ago
I found this book engaging (if a little hard work) and appreciated Ellison's candour as she exposed her parenting and journey to understand and address ADD in herself and her son. My perspective is that of a nurse--with past experience in child psychiatry and school nursing, also, that of a parent of two school-aged children. As such, Ellison held my attention well. Even though you can sense her overload at times, she managed to organize the book into chapters relating to different therapies, which could be taken alone if you wanted to. I did learn quite a lot about emerging therapies available, such as neurofeedback. She did her best to cover each topic comprehensively, although to some degree it was difficult to establish what really worked for them, as their follow-through was a little scattershot. This made the book somewhat anecdotal as an advice resource, but it stands firm in terms of relatability and support. It is also exceptionally well-referenced, therefore it can provide an introduction to each particular treatment avenue.There are many parenting skills that she learns along the way, which any parent can learn from; we all have our "bad Mommy" moments and can learn to better appreciate our children and not frustrate them further. At times, Buzz had me cracking up, I just appreciated his dry sense of humor.As a memoir, it is too weighty, too bogged down in reportage, but there are some truly poignant moments, such as the note of response she receives from the Meditation retreat staff member whom she asked to call her husband. Also, the account of the bar Mitzvah was really touching and had me in tears. At this point I really was in Buzz' corner, where I think Ellison was too, she had shifted her position from the beginning of the year, (where she seemed to be in opposition to him) which for me, made it all worthwhile.
daly5 on LibraryThing 21 days ago
loved this books... as i have adhd and so do my 2 sons very good book
monzrocks on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Buzz is the memoir of a mother deciding to spend a year devoting herself to exploring and improving her adolescent son Buzz's (and her own suspected) ADHD. It's set against the backdrop of Buzz preparing for his bar mitzvah. Ellison does a good job of merging her own family's individual story with the larger picture of how ADHD generally tends to affect children. She presents different approaches she tries for both herself and Buzz, such as meditation, medication, and neurofeedback, and assesses their effectiveness for them personally versus the research currently. availableI think it would be very useful for people struggling with ADHD.
MarilynD on LibraryThing 21 days ago
In her memoir, Buzz: A year of Paying Attention, Katherine Ellison chronicles her struggles with Attention Deficit Disorder. She describes her decision to devote a year to analyze and work with her son, Buzz. Her goals are to learn about the disorder and to improve their relationship and his behavior. During the year she conducts research, visits schools, experiments with medications, interviews specialist and tries alternative methods to reduce daily living stressors while obtaining optimal results for Buzz. Reading the book is like unraveling a mystery. Ms. Ellison describes a different approach in each chapter. She packs hours of research, lectures, interviews and experiments into an informative, engaging narrative. The question becomes whether or not the new approach is the magic bullet or is there a combination of approaches that will make her family ¿normal¿? In the process, Ms. Ellison has developed a resource book that I¿m sure needing parents can read and feel assured that they are not alone in their struggle with an awful label, set of attitudes and problems. She has probably unwittingly made herself a role model for what can be accomplished when you pay attention to what you are doing and work with your unfair label.
dpelaez on LibraryThing 21 days ago
this book opened to the world of ADD and a mother's journey to better help her son. I am very glad to have the chance to read this book. I learned a lot and the memoir was well written. A good read!!
tloeffler on LibraryThing 21 days ago
In the midst of dealing with her son's Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Katherine Ellison learns that she has the same diagnosis. She realizes that whatever she's doing isn't working for her son (whom she refers to as "Buzz"), and sets off to spend a year paying attention. She concentrates more on Buzz, on her reactions to his behavior, and seeks advice, both medical and alternative methods, on how she can best mother Buzz without incurring the wrath of her own internal monster. Having raised a son with ADHD, and watching a teenaged grandson with bipolar disorder, I was anxious to see how she did it. The book is extremely interesting, and I give Ms. Ellison kudos for sharing some of the things she shared. However, reading the book wore me out. She moved too quickly from one thing to another, and some parts were just mentally frustrating (perhaps her ADHD was showing?). It was well-written overall, and parts of it had me laughing out loud. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone dealing with this kind of situation, just to help you realize you're not alone, and even "award-winning veteran investigative reporters" lose their temper.
KatKealy on LibraryThing 21 days ago
I found this book very interesting at times and a bit dull at others. I've read better books about the same subject matter, but I think the personal account was touching. I gave this book away to a friend I thought would enjoy it.The feel of the cover is very nice... It's pretty rare for a paperback book to feel so soft.
karieh on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Parts of ¿Buzz¿ were fascinating to me as I know a couple of little boys who have similar traits to author Katherine Ellison¿s son. Many of the attitude shifts she experiences as she deals with the diagnosis of ADHD for both herself and her son are ones that I, too, have espoused¿although in my case there was very little actual fact to back up my arguments.She shifts well between the emotions she feels in this year of ¿paying attention¿ and the medical and sociological facts she presents. I knew very little about ADHD beyond what one reads in the news and in magazines¿watching as attitudes swing from pro-medication to very anti. Her presentation of the facts she learns meshes well with what she herself is experiencing.¿Are we blessed or cursed by supposedly knowing so much more than our parents did? Especially when there¿s such fierce debate of nearly every aspect of what we think we know? Well-informed as we modern parents may be, we¿ve ended up with much more data than knowledge, inclining us to burn countless megawatts of brainpower trying to discern that shifting line between character and disorder, explanation and excuse, ¿I can¿t¿ and ¿I won¿t¿.¿Above all, what comes across in ¿Buzz¿ is that ADHD, its diagnosis, its possible treatments, all involve a great deal of heartache and difficulty for the child and for the parents. There is no right answer; there is no one size fits all cure. Everyone seems to have an opinion but no one really has the answer. Raising children is hard. Being a child, especially today, is hard. The one criticism I might have (and again, this is based on my experience which is different than the author¿s) ¿ is that what comes across in this book is a near total disgust and frustration with the public school system. With the exception of one of two teachers she encounters, Ellison seems to find little value in the way public schools try and deal with all of the children they interact with. Where private schools have better luck dealing with kids with different needs ¿ public schools must accept all children ¿ and have their hands tied in many ways private school do not. I found myself skimming some of the paragraphs near the end of the book when they appeared to further disparage the schools.But I am very glad I read ¿Buzz¿. It gave me insight about what parents go through when their child is diagnosed with this disorder. There are so many struggles ¿ not only between parent and child, but parent and doctors, children and teachers, parents and other parents. It is exhausting to read about and my heart goes out to these parents and children. While there seems no magic answer, I certainly hope they find an answer that works for them.
Laffrey on LibraryThing 21 days ago
It¿s hard raising kids. Any parent will tell you that. And when your child has special needs it can seem nearly impossible. For Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Katherine Ellison, raising her elder son was almost her undoing.Buzz: A year of paying attention is the story of Ellison¿s return from the brink. The book opens with a screaming match between her and her son, whom she calls ¿Buzz¿, that results in the realization that something has to change. So she decides to take a year off. She vows to become a calmer person, someone who will be better able to meet the needs of her sons, Buzz, whose ADHD is tearing the family apart and Max is who is abused by his brother and feels neglected by his parents. Ellison not only lets the reader in on her family¿s struggles ¿ to medicate or not to medicate; does behavior modification work; what about biofeedback? - but shows us how they fit into the larger world of ADD and ADHD politics.Though I found the sections on Ellison and her own (possible) ADD issues boring, the history of the ¿disease¿, the treatments and the plusses and minuses associated with each were fascinating. Not to mention Buzz himself. The reader understands how infuriating he is and how badly he needs help (both for his own sake and the sake of everyone around him). But, like his mother, you can¿t help but love him as much as you want to muzzle him.I recommend this book for every parent who¿s ever felt inadequate ¿ if only for the Super Nanny moments ¿ you know, ¿Wow, at least my kids don¿t do THAT¿- and for every teacher who¿s ever wished to get rid of that one kid who drives everyone batty.
dmcco01 on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Katherine Ellison's family life is beginning to spin out of control. She, perhaps suffering from ADD, and her ADD-diagnosed son contantly bicker. He's even called 911 when she takes away his GameBoy. Her younger son both bullies, and is bullied by, his brother, and feels neglected because of the attention his special-needs sibling receives. And her husband seems mostly detatched from all these issues. At her wits-end, Ellison decides to spend a year focused on remedies and interventions for her son's and her family's ADD problem."Buzz" drew me in immediately. Ellison does a fine job of telling her family's story with humor and compassion, without sugar coating the real problems they face. The story and the characters are compelling, and the science and research are fascinating. I only hope that Ellison will write a sequel in a decade to let us know how her family has progressed. You will find yourself rooting for the Ellisons!
nanagee on LibraryThing 21 days ago
I expected a little bit more out of the book than I got, but overall it was a good read. I'm not yet a parent and very much already expect it to be a challenge-- but having ADHD while raising a child that also has it? At the end of the book, I was left pondering the pros and cons of medicating a child with ADHD and trying to figure out whether another option would have been a better choice. I admire Katherine Ellison for writing this book as it will definitely have a lot of people criticizing her parenting.
brookeott on LibraryThing 21 days ago
I've tried for several weeks to get into this book but have had little luck. The writing is scattered and unorganized. As a school psychologist I am very interested in the subject matter, but have failed to be drawn into what seems to be the self-absorption of the mother. Like kaypendragon I too am uninterested in spending any more time trying to get involved in her life.
sussabmax on LibraryThing 21 days ago
I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I am currently investigating the possibility that my son might have ADHD, and I am newly diagnosed with the condition myself, so I have a lot of identification with this situation. Many things that Ellison describes in this book seemed right on target. I recognized many situations, which was validating. Also, she has some very good suggestions and does a fairly thorough review of the treatment philosphies and options out there for this condition.On the other hand, she seems a bit overly antagonistic toward her son at times. I understand that there are two things going on here, probably: her need to make people understand that this really is outside the normal high-spiritedness of kids, and does deserve a diagnosis and support (because there is a lot of bias toward this diagnosis, and a widespread belief that the condition doesn't really exist), and the fact that she is focusing on the difficult behaviors because that is what the book is about. However, it seems she could have done that in the context of a more well-rounded view of her son and their relationship. For the first third of the book or so, this kid sounds terrible. She talks so much about how he hurts his brother, I started to wonder why she didn't consider institutionalizing him. Once she established the severity of the problem, she did seem to back off that a bit and he sounded like a not bad kid who happens to have some difficulties, but geez, it was a bit much. Also, it seemed farily clear that the biggest thing that she did during this year of working on her son's problem was to stop seeing him as the enemy and start working with him rather than against him, which I found a bit frustrating. Parenting 101: you never win a power struggle with your kids. Never. This has nothing to do with ADHD.That said, I read the book in less than 2 days after it came in the mail, and I feel that I learned a lot from it. I particularly liked seeing this Pulitzer prize winning journalist struggle with the same day to day tasks that trouble me. It makes me feel better about my potential and the accuracy of my own diagnosis. I appreciated Ellison's bravery and honesty in detailing both her son's and her own behaviors that were, at times, (far) less than perfect. All parents have an ideal that they strive toward as a parent, and they all fall short at times. Showing her own failures opens her up to negative feedback that must be difficult to hear. Despite my criticisms above, I could clearly tell from this book that Ellison loves her sons and is a good parent to them. Overall, definitely recommended, despite my annoyances with a few points.
DianaCoats on LibraryThing 21 days ago
My point is view is that of a mental health therapist so I can certainly empathize and understand the struggles of the author and have treated many children and adults with ADHD. I have also worked as a school psychologist and evaluated and set up treatment plans for children with ADHD so the parts of the book dealing with the school system and their lack of response was hard and not my experience, although I am familiar with many districts whose children are more and more medicated and class sizes increase.I asked for the book because my experience as a therapist is that children with mental health problems are largely the product of parents with mental health issues and this book clearly highlighted my experience.Am I glad I read it? Yes. I think the book would be particularly affirming and validating for others in this exact situation.That being said...I had a hard time with the "buzzing" of the book itself and thought it needed to be a bit more "focused" in its content. Given the subject that is probably an unrealistic expectation.