The British ADHD organization – ADDISS – ran a campaign a few years ago in ADHD awareness week (this year happening on October 14 ) called “ADHD IS real”. I can’t think of many Awareness weeks that have to focus on the fact that the condition they are campaigning about actually exists.
Few mental health issues seem to suffer from the same stigma as ADHD. When I asked the head of the UK ADDISS, Andrea Bilbow OBE, to explain to me why I could only find well-funded parenting groups for Autism and Aspergers in my area, and nothing for ADHD, she explained: “Autism has the Aaahh factor, people feel sorry for the sufferers or carers. ADHD is just seen as annoying”.
When the Guardian writes a piece about preschoolers and ADHD, as they do here , we don’t expect it to scaremonger or to conform to prejudices around this complex neurodevelopmental disorder. We expect some breast beating from the Daily Mail or the Telegraph, but we hope for sense from the Guardian. However, while medicating preschoolers is controversial, ADHD medication (please don’t call it drugs – this not pushing recreational ecstasy tablets or making toddlers smoke joints) is immediately written off as a Bad Thing – without any explanation for what type of medication it is. Continue reading “Pre-schoolers and ADHD medication – scary? Not so much…”→
Childrearing in traditional societies – a lesson for ADD parents
For a year since my 12 year old son was diagnosed with ADHD, I’ve been trying to get hold of the Hunter school in Massachussetts. Recommended by a friend in the States, it’s known for its alternative ways of schooling children with ADD, I have a hunch it might help me find some behavioural strategies that just aren’t available here in the UK. It’s so called, because it believes ADD kids are genetic throwbacks to a time when we were “hunters”, alert to all sounds in the jungle (have I lost you already?), as opposed to our so-called civilised society where we have become “farmers”, able to tend to our corner of the world by sitting still and waiting for the crops to grow. This link to a Radio 4 programme today looks at childrearing strategies in “Hunter” tribes in Papua New Guinea, as opposed to childrearing strategies in the Western world. The programme speaks to parents of ADHD children. Click the letter “C” in the title to listen to the clip.