Audrey Robinson Jones left Kansas to attend Wellesley College, graduating in 1972 with her degree in anthropology/sociology, planning to be a social worker. Instead, she worked in healthcare administration for almost 30 years with her husband, including running his multi-office pediatric practice for 24 years. She also earned master’s degrees in healthcare administration and business.
She became managing partner of an airport concessions company and purchased two business franchises with her sons. At the same time, she and her husband built a loving home with three sons. As life unfolded, her sons and husband were diagnosed with ADHD. Managing businesses and four ADHD males took its toll on her health.
In 2008, Audrey was stricken with an almost fatal autoimmune disease. Recovering and retired, Audrey remains a vital force, including participating with Larry in several international health missions trips. At home, she continues to lead a local food pantry, something she’s done for over fifteen years, in addition to family advocacy activities.
Larry Albert Jones, MD, grew up in the 1950s with an overprotective mother and grandmother in a poor section of Memphis, Tenn. His childhood was greatly impacted by the village of educators and church folks who recognized his intellect. That village launched Larry to Wesleyan University, Johns Hopkins University and The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Unfortunately, he lost his mother to cancer before his 20th birthday, but his path was set. He began to notice how much time he required to maintain his college GPA as he prepared for medical school. Keeping his eye on the prize, he persevered, never considering that he would later be diagnosed with ADHD.
For at least 20 years of his career as a pediatrician and parent, he did not link his children’s symptoms and signs of ADHD to himself. While being an effective and popular clinician, he lived in denial about his own diagnosis. Larry is currently a departmental medical director for the SSM Healthcare System. With treatment and counseling, Larry is pursuing community projects, including facilitating a STEM program with elementary school students in Ferguson, MO.
The memoir of Audrey and Larry Jones and their three sons demystifies ADHD in childhood and beyond.
A blend of love, humor and real-life irony, Falling Through the Ceiling makes sense of the nonsensical, shedding light on the challenges of living with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). These stories offer the real-deal reality of living with a house full of ADHD, including the ups, downs and chaos of what happened and the consequences of such. The authors, a married couple of 45 years, offer experience, practical insight and what they learned from counselors, research and their own mistakes to assist people coping with children and adults who are affected by ADHD.
Sharing their personal life challenges with the effects of ADHD, this is a real, sometimes painful, story written to help families recognize and navigate to controlling chaos and unlocking the gifts of ADHD in their children and themselves.
Thank you, Audrey & Larry, for taking the time to share your book Falling Through the Ceiling: Our ADHD Family Memoir. Please take us on your journey to writing this book.
As doctors and parents, how has that influenced your writing?
AUDREY: We had difficulty understanding my husband, the doctor’s, behaviors and the learning and attention struggles that he had in medical school, residency, and working in his own practice. He was still in denial even after our sons were diagnosed with various types of ADHD. But Larry did not receive a final diagnosis and begin treatment until my psychologist recommended testing.
We started thinking seriously about how our stories would help other parents and affected adults understand what ADHD looked like and the path to unlocking their talents and gifts. I wanted to share this story because both Larry and I thought we could help parents like the ones in his practice who were silently suffering from the effects of ADHD in their families.
LARRY: The clash of parent vs. physician is a major struggle that other professionals will have as parents as well. In work situations you have control, over your life, but as a parent you have much less control and you are faced with situations that are challenging and filled with emotion and doubt about whether you are doing the right thing. My objective was to write as a parent while using my clinical background to provide depth and understanding.
How do you find or make time to write?
AUDREY: We worked with a writing coach and editor because of my impairment from my illness. It has truly taken a village to bring the project together.
LARRY: Working full-time, I could only write evenings and weekends. Many of the stories required lengthy discussions to recall all of the details of the events. Audrey and I had the discussions during walks and driving trips.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write?
AUDREY: My favorite chapters to write was “Falling Through the Ceiling” because for the first time our son shared his personal recollection of trials controlling his behavior. I told the story as an example of why parents needed to see God’s grace in parenting. When he literally fell through the ceiling from the attic to our home office, he just called it a painful lesson that changed his perception of the consequences of his behavior.
LARRY: My favorite chapter is the “Samurai Swordsmen”. It was through this trauma that we discovered the strength of the bond between our two youngest sons. The two were always squabbling about something and never seemed to be friends. Rob protected Jay from getting into trouble for cutting him. Then after the surgery Jay made himself available to help Rob in any way that he could to express his love for his brother.
What do you hope readers will learn/discover from reading your book?
As parents who raised ADHD gifted children, we hope parents, children, and adults struggling with ADHD can find resources and strategies from our experiences and suggestions recounted in our book and move towards living lives of fulfillment and resilience.
What’s next for you?
Dr. Jones, after 24 years as a practicing pediatrician, successfully living with ADHD, will be completing his training as an ADHD Life Coach. With this certification, we will package our expertise as: Stop Failing and Falling Coaching. Online, Larry will provide services to connect affected people and their families with medical, educational, and support resources accessible to them locally. He will continue to be available for local, individual coaching.
We are also collaborating with researchers from Howard University on a study about the stress factor of mothers caring for children with ADHD.
Any message to your followers?
We hope that our readers realize how valuable it is to connect and tell personal stories to help others.
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