What is an ADHD Conference and why should you consider attending one?
The National Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service (ADDISS) arrange regional and national conferences about ADHD to share information, dispel myths and offer practical advice for adults and those parenting or working with people who have ADHD. The ADDISS conferences are there to not only provide information for attendees, but also to provide inspiration and help to remind people of the positives of ADHD.
In June 2015 ADDISS are holding three conferences entitled ADHD – Early Interventions and Outcomes. The first of these conferences will be held in Leyland, Lancashire on the 22nd and 23rd of June.
On the face of it arranging a sit down conference where a large percentage of the audience may find it difficult to sit in one place and pay attention, might not seem like the best idea, but the knowledge and acceptance that people with ADHD have these challenges, is one of the many positive things about them.
Conferences are an opportunity to get more information about the condition and help you understand what is going on ‘under the bonnet’. As a parent would you keep comparing your child to others their chronological age if you knew that their brain developed at a different rate? As a teacher would you still punish a child for doodling if you knew that this was the best way for them to keep their fidgeting under control in the classroom? Conferences are not about letting children with ADHD get away with things and it is not about allowing them to make their own rules at home. It is about understanding them and using that knowledge to make reasonable adjustments for the things that are beyond their control. For parents and teachers sometimes it is about picking your battles and for children it is about learning to manage themselves.
The ADDISS regional conferences are the perfect opportunity to get accurate information from a line up of experts and professional speakers rather than the uneducated opinions and myths we so often hear. So whether you are an adult with ADHD, a parent of a child with ADHD or a professional, working with others who have ADHD, the regional conferences are an excellent opportunity to get the right information.
Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines conference as “a meeting of two or more persons for discussing matters of common concern” and the common concern in this matter is that early intervention is needed to protect our young people.
Intervention is a key part of managing children with ADHD and it is vital that parents and teaching staff are able to support our children and help them build the resilience they need to grow and thrive, but it can be difficult to find the right strategies to use. No child comes complete with a manual, but confidence and common sense can give you a head start, however when you are faced with a child who responds differently, it can be difficult to make the right decisions. For parents the tried and tested techniques that work so well at home with your other children, might be a waste of time with your ADHD child. For a teacher who has to balance the needs of thirty children at a time, having one child that absorbs all the attention and seems to disobey the rules must be a daily challenge and not necessarily the sort that you signed up for.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela
Most adults remember their school days and almost all of us have fond memories of a favourite teacher. Those teachers are not necessarily the ones who taught us the most, but are instead often the ones who we felt understood us.
Anecdotal tales of children with ADHD missing playtimes for not sitting still on the carpet, ongoing chastisements for interrupting and being excluded from activities because of their behaviour are still very common place. Children are notoriously undiplomatic when it comes to dealing with each other and generally have no qualms about excluding people from their social groups. Problems at school can quickly become a problem at home and vice versa.
Childhood is a very short period of time and what happens in those few years goes on to make a huge difference in not only the life of that one child, but also the lives of those around them and the next generation of children born into their families. The UK prison population features a disproportionate amount of people with ADHD and past studies have shown teenagers with ADHD featuring higher than average in figures on substance abuse, teenage pregnancy and attempted suicide. (1998, Lilly & Barkley) Early intervention is the best way to reduce the amount of negative outcomes for children with ADHD.
Parenting doesn’t end just because your children grow up. Early interventions, which improve the quality of life for parents and carers, can be the difference between enjoying the parenting journey and barely surviving. Common misconceptions and stigma don’t make that journey any easier. There is a lot of misinformation about ADHD which can be confusing for parents, particularly those with a new diagnosis, conferences are an excellent place to get the right information, speak to other parents and find out what support is available. There will always be those who think they know about the condition and having the right information gives us ammunition we can use when we have to go into battle defending our children and fighting for their right to be themselves.
June 2015 Conference Details