Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provide national guidelines and advice to improve health and social care and this month they released a new set of guidelines for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD / ADHD) These new guidelines update and replace the previous guidelines from 2008.
The team here at SPACE are particularly pleased to see an increased focus within the guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of girls and adults of both sexes. A common ADHD myth is that the condition only affects male children, which is now known to be completely untrue.
There are a number of common misconceptions about ADHD, particularly the idea that it is solely a problem of behaviour, which leads to the common stereotype of naughty boys shouting and throwing chairs. Whilst there are many cases where this is true, it completely ignores anybody that doesn’t present with those symptoms which creates a serious problem for those who have the Inattentive form of ADHD. The new guidelines includes a reference to attention issues, under recognition, highlighting the fact that ADHD is not a behavioural condition, despite the fact that it is often challenging behaviour that is most widely recognised.
By only recognising challenging hyperactive behaviour, children who are well behaved in the classroom and able to maintain a reasonable level of academic attainment are left to manage without support. This can lead to them fighting internally to control their behaviour during the school day and “exploding” the minute they get home.
Internalising the effects of undiagnosed ADHD is also a problem for adults, particularly women and there are large numbers of adults presenting with mental health complaints, which actually stem from a lack of diagnosis and support for ADHD.
The updated NICE Guidelines are for healthcare professionals, medical commissioners, those with ADHD and their families and carers. Outdated information is responsible for many people not receiving the support they need to thrive and we are pleased to see that the updated information from NICE recognises a number of factors which were not present in the previous edition, including a recognition of the hereditary factory. We are hopeful that this will lead to an improvement in diagnosis and training and lead to better outcomes for families with ADHD.
View the NICE Guidelines here: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng87/
On October the 7th the SPACE Team are travelling to Wales to take on the Titan.
Titan is a four person zipwire that flies 2000 metres down a Welsh valley, which raises the question of why four women, three of whom are terrified of heights, are driving to Wales to put themselves through that ordeal. The answer to that question is that they are raising money for SPACE Stockport, the ADHD parent support group they run.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition which is regularly characterised by hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity. It is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be challenging, especially if children and young people have problems managing their behaviour or experience difficulties at school.
Despite all the scientific research there is a lot of misinformation about ADHD, which leads to ignorance and negative stereotypes. To help combat these problems and raise awareness of the facts, we’re challenging the misinformation about ADHD by challenging our fear of heights. October is ADHD Awareness month so we decided to celebrate and raise funds for our group with a sponsored Zipwire.
ADHD is still stigmatised and parents and carers often find themselves on the front line. SPACE provides information, advice and support for parents in a friendly open environment, with others in a similar situation.We share information on a variety of topics including school conflicts, medication, and the diagnosis process. We are also able to signpost parents to services which can help them and their children. As a community of ADHD parents we are able to share personal experiences, which can especially helpful for those with a new diagnosis who may feel overwhelmed.
SPACE holds regular monthly meet ups and provides online support, but we’d like to extend the range of services we offer and unfortunately that costs money, so we’re taking on the Titan and we’d appreciate your support. If you’d like to make a donation to our zipwire challenge please visit our Just Giving page where you can donate securely.
If you happen to be in Wales on the 7th of October and hear screaming, don’t worry it’s just the SPACE Team supporting parents, abolishing myths and fighting sterotypes.
Wish us luck.
What does the world famous reality star Kim Kardashian have to do with a small Stockport based ADHD childrens’ charity? The answer to that is very little (as far as we know) other than the fact that we are both harnessing the power of social media to let people know that we exist.
Just like Kim, SPACE Stockport are on Twitter but if you happen to follow us both, you’ll notice that she has a lot more followers than us and we’re totally OK with that. We are 100% fine with the fact that Kim has over 42 million Twitter followers whilst we only have 500, because Kim’s marketing goals are different to ours.
SPACE Stockport is run by parents of children with ADHD for parents of children with ADHD and as such we won’t be getting any celebrity endorsement deals. We don’t have our own cosmetic products, skincare range or clothing line. We don’t even have our own fragrance, but despite the lack of branded products we are on a mission. We’re on a mission to make sure that Stockport parents of children with ADHD know that we’re here. We are looking for what marketing professionals would call a niche market. If you live in Stockport and have a child with ADHD, then we are looking for you because we want you to know that we exist.
Our marketing goals are quite straight forward. We’re a non-profit organisation so the number of people that attend our monthly meetings and engage with us on social media doesn’t generate us any income. The committee is made up of volunteers, so nobody gets a new BMW if more people join us for a coffee and getting a 100,000 likes on Facebook or a million followers on Twitter won’t get any of us a bonus, but we’re still on a mission. If you are from Stockport and your child, or a child that you care for, has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder then we want you to know that we exist, that’s it. That’s our mission.
Parents of children with ADHD are regularly told what they should be doing. We’re told that we are parenting our children incorrectly. We’re told that our children will grow out of it. We’re told that our children are eating the wrong foods. We’re told that our children just need a firm hand. We’re told that ADHD doesn’t exist and that our children are just badly behaved. Parents of children with ADHD are told lots of things. We’re not here to tell you anything. We’re here to provide information. We’re here to share our experiences. We’re here to signpost agencies that we have found useful. We’re here to make sure that you know you are not the only family going through some of the day to day challenges that you face. Even if local parents of children with ADHD never contact us, our marketing mission is that they know we exist, because if they know that we are here, then they know that they can get in touch if they want to.
Using Twitter and Facebook to spread the word about our existence may be relatively new, but we’ve been on a mission to support other parents for over a decade. The venue has changed over time as have the volunteers and the parents joining us every month, but the mission has always been the same, to make sure that people know that we exist. Stockport has less than 300,000 residents so if we manage to get a million followers then the chances are that most of them aren’t really interested in us and vice versa. We love having our Facebook posts shared and being retweeted on Twitter because somewhere amongst those extra readers will be more of the people we’re looking for.
If local parents know that we exist, then that means that they know they’re not the only parents going through the challenge of raising a child with ADHD. It means that if they have a bad day, they know that they can vent to us privately on Facebook. It means that they know that we have a library of books about ADHD that they can borrow free of charge. It means that they know that there is a network of other parents they can talk to. It means that they can find out about local conferences. It means that we can provide a source of information. It means that they are able to attend our specialist presentations. It means that once a month they can join us for a coffee and a chat if they want to.
The bigger picture is that we want to fight the ongoing stream of ignorance about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. We want to dispel the myths and ensure that our children are not penalised by schools for things that they cannot control, but our priority is to support families. If you have a child with challenging behaviour, the playground can be a lonely place. We can’t do anything about that, but when you’ve had one of those days we can be there to reassure you that you are not alone. We can’t do anything about the fact that raising a child with ADHD can lead to family disagreements on the best way forward, but we can be there to let you know that you are not the only family with those problems.
The reason our mission is to let people know that we exist is because if local parents know that we exist, then it means that they know that we’re here if they want us. It means that they know that they are not the only one and some days that’s enough. SPACE Stockport may officially only be four people on paper but we’re part of a much bigger community. A community of other parents who want the best for their children. Kim can keep her 42 million followers because we’ve got each other.
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