Have you ever had a really bad day? You know the kind. You get up late. Your hairdryer breaks. The car won’t start and you’re late for work on the one day you have to be on time. You have twenty things on your mind that won’t settle in one place long enough for you to grab hold of them. You feel uptight, frantic and overwhelmed in a world that is spinning around at hyper speed.
Jamie Cavanaugh has lots of those days. She always seems to be moving too fast, her mind on overload and her attention flying around and landing everywhere but where it should be. If she isn’t accidentally knocking over the fishbowl for the millionth time, she’s missing the school bus or letting words come out her mouth that should stay in. She finds herself in trouble all of the time, both at school and at home, in spite of her desire to do the right thing. When the suggestion is made that a school social worker might help her sort things out a little, Jamie gets a chance to talk things out. As she describes her whirlwind life, she has a sudden flash of insight – she decides that she doesn’t have a problem after all, but a gift….the power of superspeed!
Jamie shares her new discovery of superpowers with her best friend Max, who is struggling with his own issues. Jamie and Max find themselves between a Rock and a Hardplace, literally and figuratively, as they end up in a conflict with the school bullies that results in Jamie hitting Rock. Life goes from bad to worse as Max and Jamie have an argument and their friendship starts to split apart.
Meanwhile, Jamie’s parents, having been contacted by the school social worker, have started to worry that their daughter has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). They make an appointment with a paediatrician and their suspicions are confirmed. Jamie begins to doubt her superpowers and starts to think that maybe she does have a problem after all. She starts a trial round of medications for the ADHD that leave her feeling like someone else is walking around in her body. She begins to feel more like a villain than a superhero, and in frustration, she lashes out throwing and breaking things. This time on purpose.
But, as most bad days do, Jamie’s comes to an end as a brighter morning promises to arrive. New medications seem to be working and her head feels clear for the first time ever. She discovers ways to manage her ADHD and even starts to help her dad get a handle on some of his time management problems through accommodations she has been taught to use. She repairs her friendship with Max, while discovering a surprising new friend in Rock, who isn’t quite as tough as he appears to be when he’s around Hardplace. Jamie begins to realize that, even though she might not be a comic book superhero, she is super just the way she is; she feels better about herself. Life has taken a turn for the better for Jamie Cavanaugh.
The Incredible Speediness of Jamie Cavanaugh is an insightful look at the impact of ADHD on a child’s life, told with gentle humour and passionate honesty. As the irrepressible Jamie tells us her story in her own words, both as a participant in the story and as an observer, we can’t help but be drawn in as we take a walk – or rather a run – in the shoes of a child with ADHD.