Erica Richley-Duda, MSEd, LPCC-S, CCTP, Executive Director of Special Education for Summit Academy, puts her expertise to work to help those struggling with ADHD. In her new book, “Unmasking ADHD: Navigating the Neurodivergent Mind,” Richley-Duda provides strategies to help parents, educators, partners and those living with ADHD navigate the challenges of daily life.

For Summit Academy Executive Director of Special Education Erica Richley-Duda, penning her first book — aimed at unmasking ADHD — has been an 18-year-long labor of love, simmering since she started her career in counseling and special education.

Richley-Duda, who is both a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with Supervision Designation and a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, has been entrenched with helping students with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder since she launched her career nearly two decades ago. Sharing her insight on ADHD was not just a logical, but an ethical move for Richley-Duda, one geared to make life more manageable for people with ADHD and those in their lives, she says.

In “Unmasking ADHD: Navigating the Neurodivergent Mind,” Richley-Duda dissects ADHD into bite-sized pieces and bullet-list strategies to help parents, educators, partners and those living with ADHD navigate the challenges of daily life.

“The purpose is to understand the why,” explains Richley-Duda. “Where did ADHD come from? What does it look like at school, at home and in relationships? How can it be managed?”

Richley-Duda reflects on her own first encounter with a child with ADHD. Then a brand-new college graduate at her first job, Richley-Duda eyed with curiosity a moving backpack dangling on a hook inside the school where she worked. She discovered a puppy inside. A student, acting on impulse when she saw the stray at her bus stop, scooped up the pooch and brought it to school. “It was an impulsive act. She wasn’t thinking ahead about what would come next after she picked up the puppy,” Richley-Duda explains.

Richley-Duda says she would love to see the book engage readers in a-ha moments, to help them understand hallmarks of ADHD, such as impulsivity, or struggles with starting tasks, organizing thoughts or communicating clearly. Ultimately, Richley-Duda says, she hopes the book helps readers develop a better understanding of ADHD and empathy toward those with the disorder so they can nourish deeper and better-engaged relationships. “I hope it draws on the strengths of individuals with ADHD,” she says.

In fact, Richley-Duda dedicates chapter six of her book to the out-of-the-box, creative-thinking ADHD brain. She describes those creative tendencies as passionate, focused and productive. Overall, the book is packed with support strategies to apply for success with ADHD at home, at work, in school and in relationships.

The 74-page, reader-friendly book serves as a “go-to” for practical, helpful information and guidance in one comprehensive resource. “Unmasking ADHD: Navigating the Neurodivergent Mind”  is available for $14.99 through Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats.

Richley-Duda released another new book, “Unlocking Trauma: A Guide for Creating Trauma-Informed Environments and Transforming School Disciplne,” on December 27, 2023. Details on her latest work will be out soon.

Erica Richley-Duda is a graduate of Youngstown State University’s Clinical Counseling graduate program and is a Supervising Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in the State of Ohio. She is also credentialed as a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional. She has conducted groups to teach social and adaptive behavior skills to children with autism, ADHD and emotional disturbances. She has presented at local, state and national conferences on topics such as special education law/best practice, autism, mood disorders, ADHD, personality disorders, emotional intelligence and behavior management. She has worked with students with disabilities in schools since 2004. She conducts clinical assessments, provides clinical supervision to dependently licensed counselors working toward their independent license and provides staff training. In her free time, she helps to lead her church youth group weekly, which she describes as a tremendous blessing. She runs daily, which is both her favorite pastime and stress reliever. She enjoys sharing time with family (her twins, Liam and Cadence, are her motivation), friends and her precious dog, Noble.