Today’s Herald article: ‘Medication Generation’ – a response

Today’s Herald front page ‘Medication Generation’ highlights the increase in prescribing of ADHD medication which has taken place over the past 5 years in Scotland – based on data published a year ago.

We see this increase as a positive sign that Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services are recognising that ADHD is a serious condition with implications across the life course which needs to be appropriately diagnosed and addressed – in part stimulated by the ADHD Services over Scotland final report which was published in 2012. While there are many more children in Scotland being treated with medication for ADHD now than five years ago, the number remains below 1 in 100 children, suggesting that many more still go undiagnosed.

Where we agree with the Herald coverage, though, that ‘parking’ children with ADHD on medication is not enough. That’s why we are calling for a national strategy for ADHD. In particular:

• Teachers need training on how best to teach and support children with ADHD at school. Far too many are currently excluded, formally or informally.
• Children with ADHD need to be identified and diagnosed at an early stage through joined up pathways between education and CAMHS services. Current waiting times for assessment are too long in many places, and referrals to CAMHS may be rejected without clear reasons.
• Health Boards need to adhere to SIGN guidelines and treat ADHD appropriately, not only with medication (where appropriate) but also through structured parent training programmes such as Parents InC – currently available in some health boards but not others
• ADHD should be part of the national schools census dataset so that diagnosis rates, attainment and long term outcomes can be systematically tracked. Currently, there is no data on the number of children diagnosed with ADHD other than prescribing statistics.
• Pathways for children transitioning into adult services need to be strengthened, and adequate provision made to assess and treat previously undiagnosed adults with ADHD. The new Scottish Royal College of Psychiatrists guidelines explain what is required.

One of our Trustees, Alison Clink, contributed to the discussion with a reflection on how difficult the decision to medicate a child is, but how much it can help – something previously highlighted by a survey of parents of children with ADHD around Scotland.

NICE new draft guideline on ADHD out for consultation

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the NHS body which guides NHS provision in England, has produced a new draft guideline on ADHD which is out for consultation until October and available at this link.

Among the recommendations are that GPs should look particularly carefully for girls with ADHD, as their symptoms may be much less obvious than in boys.    The guidance also reiterates that special diets, such as eliminating nuts, milk and wheat, or cutting out artificial colours, will not improve ADHD symptoms.   Importantly the guidance recommends that NHS teams should offer parents and carers of all children with ADHD group-based ADHD-focused support that includes education and information on causes and impacts of ADHD and advice on parenting strategies.

Although the guidance will not apply directly in Scotland, many clinicians across Scotland look to NICE guidance for high quality evidence to inform practice, so the availability of this up to date information is welcome.

Renfrewshire Carers Centre in Paisley has joined the Scottish ADHD Coalition

The Coalition is pleased to welcome Renfrewshire Carers Centre.  They provide group support for young people with ADHD aged 8 -18 with groups offering peer support, fun, workshops, outings and integration within the local community.  They also have a support group for Parent Carers of children/adults who have a diagnosis of ADHD, together with one to one befriending.   

Calling parents to complete short survey about research on ADHD and exercise…

Are you the parent of a child with ADHD? If so it would be great if you could complete this questionnaire. Josie Booth and colleagues at the Universities of Edinburgh and Strathclyde are leading research projects around physical activity and children with ADHD. Currently, their work involves developing physical activity programmes which can be especially beneficial for children with ADHD. These programmes take various forms but generally include active play and physically active games which are fun and engaging for children and young people (playing rounder’s for example).

They strongly believe that parents are the experts when it comes to what is best for their child. Therefore, they have created a short survey to get parents’ views on what they think researchers should be working on around physical activity and ADHD. The survey will also help them to find out how best to put a research study into practice. It will take no longer than 10 minutes to complete the survey.

The survey is open until 18th July.

https://edinburgh.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/physical-activity-and…

Launch of the Scottish ADHD Coalition

Today is the formal launch of the Scottish ADHD Coalition!      Please spread the word in any way you can and encourage anyone in the ADHD community to follow us on Facebook so we can keep them posted on our progress, resources we produce and opportunities to help shape ADHD-related policy in Scotland.  You can download our press release here – Scottish ADHD Coalition launch press release 16 6 17

ADHD Foundation Conference

The 5th annual ADHD Foundation conference will be held in Liverpool on the 9th– 10th November 2017, entitled “ADHD in the Twenty First Century.” 

Bursary discounts are available to anyone who has attended the conference previously, worked with the ADHD Foundation, all SENCOs and nurses.

On the 9th November 2017, there will be speakers from a range of clinical backgrounds  presenting on subjects such as Nurse led ADHD Services, ADHD and Genetics, Transition from Paediatric to adult services and Improving accuracy in ADHD Screening.

On the 10th November 2017, there will be two distinct pathways for delegates to select from. One pathway will focus solely on ADHD and include sessions on ADHD and Challenging Behaviour, ADHD and Literacy and ADHD and Attachment. The second pathway will explore Comorbidities and associated mental health issues and include sessions on Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Mental Health Tool kits for schools.

To make a booking visit www.adhdfoundation.org.uk and click “Book Now” on the Conference section on the Homepage.

What ADHD research is needed in Scotland?

Research Priorities for Learning Difficulties in Children and Young People is a project to find out what research is most important to people living with learning difficulties – including ADHD – and those working alongside them. Across Scotland, we’re asking people who have learning difficulties, their families and the professionals working alongside them, to complete a short survey telling us what they would want researchers to find out about learning difficulties. By bringing all the responses together, the project will identify the top 10 research priorities for learning difficulties amongst children and young people. The results will help inform future research work into learning difficulties and the work of The Salvesen Mindroom Centre.  Click here to complete the survey.