Ep. 174: How to Empower Different Thinkers with Dr. Yael Rothman and Dr. Katia Fredriksen

Feb 27, 2024 | 0 comments

Welcome back to the Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast where we are diving into a topic that is especially important for families raising children and teens who learn and think differently. Today's episode is particularly special as we explore empowering children and teens with ADHD and other learning differences by helping them understand their brains and embrace their unique gifts.

I am joined by Drs. Fredriksen and Rothman, pediatric neuropsychologists from Maryland, who bring a wealth of knowledge and insights into this often misunderstood area. They share their journey of writing their recent book Different Thinkers: ADHD, a resource designed specifically for elementary-aged children and their families. We learn about the motivation behind creating this resource and the importance of not keeping diagnoses a secret from children but rather empowering them with knowledge about their developing brains.

Throughout our conversation, we discuss the misconceptions surrounding ADHD and other learning differences, and the need to focus on strengths and not limitations. Drs. Fredriksen and Rothman share the struggles that children face in a world not built for different thinkers and offer some strategies for families to celebrate differences.


Show Notes:

[1:50] – The book Different Thinkers: ADHD is unique as it is written for elementary-aged children. They didn’t have a resource for families, so they made it themselves.

[4:26] – Adults tend to underestimate children and how much they realize that they learn differently. Don’t keep their diagnosis a secret.

[6:51] – We need to take the more effective path of demonstrating how a learning difference can be a gift.

[8:34] – There are a lot of misconceptions around diagnoses.

[10:28] – Attention levels wax and wane for the average neurotypical person, but there is a difference between those experiences and those who have ADHD.

[12:30] – Standardized tests and questionnaires are sometimes frowned upon, but they have a helpful purpose.

[14:10] – Kids can and should learn that their brains are still developing and may develop differently than their peers.

[17:20] – The world was not built for different thinkers.

[22:51] – Research shows that children with ADHD receive more negative feedback than their peers.

[24:55] – Different Thinkers: ADHD is intended to be a resource for families to talk to their child about a diagnosis. Drs. Rothman and Fredriksen suggest ways to use it.

[27:21] – Children can read and listen about the characters in the book who are experiencing ADHD like they are.

[30:06] – Celebrating differences is key.

[31:31] – The work that neuropsychologists do is important, but it isn’t always accessible to everyone.


About Our Guests:

Drs. Fredriksen and Rothman are both pediatric neuropsychologists in Maryland who specialize in comprehensive evaluations for children, adolescents, and young adults with a wide range of conditions that impact learning, behavior, and/or socioemotional functioning, providing families with a road map to support their children. They recently published their first book, Different Thinkers: ADHD, and share an Instagram account (@neuropsychmomdocs). Dr. Fredriksen trained at Princeton University and the University of Massachusetts Boston. She lives with her family in Arlington, Virginia. Dr. Rothman trained at the University of Michigan and Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. She lives with her family in Washington, D.C.


Connect with Our Guests:

Links and Related Resources:

Connect with Us:


The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.