ADHD is real – so why question it?

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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”.

 Continue reading "ADHD is real – so why question it?" 

ADDISS International Conference in Liverpool – Well Worth the Schlep

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A lot could be said about the two days spent in the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool, along with a hundred or more ADHDers, all twitching to get out of their seats.

The atmosphere reminded me of those signs in the pub above the Optics saying: “You don’t have to be mad to work here… but it helps”. There was a frenetic, hyperkenetic pace to the whole affair, and any speaker not an ADHDer, of which there were only a few, paid for the slowness of their delivery with the comings and goings of the participants. They weren’t so much booed off, as bored off. Anything went at this conference, and usually it was people leaving the room. Continue reading “ADDISS International Conference in Liverpool – Well Worth the Schlep”

Countdown to Meds for my 12 year old ADDer

IMG_0671On Tuesday, we give up with the year’s experiment of keeping our ADHD  son unmedicated, and head for the pharmacy. Despite the promises of the NHS with their NICE guidelines suggesting Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Social Skills training, group and individual therapy and parenting classes – it’s clear that NONE of it is available. There is only medication on the NHS, and the rest is down to you the parents to sort. Mental health is appalling in the UK, we just don’t get it.

Of course medication is no silver bullet, I have read too many chat room posts and message boards where adult ADDers talk Ritalin, Strattera, Concerta, Medikenet, dosages, availability – like drug addicts swapping tips. It may or may not work, but the alternative (nothing) doesn’t work either. Continue reading “Countdown to Meds for my 12 year old ADDer”

ADD kids are hunters, the rest are farmers

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.