Today’s debate in the Scottish parliament was opened by Daniel Johnson MSP with an inspiring speech describing the strengths which having ADHD give him as a politician, and his anger at the misinformation about ADHD which still circulates. This was the first debate about ADHD in the Parliament and is a testament to the campaigning of many organisations, including the Scottish ADHD Coalition, over the past year.
We are looking forward to a roundtable with Health Minister Maureen Watt early in the next session.
We have sent the attached briefing to all MSPs about ADHD issues in Scotland.
If you have anything you would like your local MSP to raise, you could email them about it and ask them to attend and talk about it. Mark your email urgent as there is not long to go. If you don’t know who your MSP is, consult http://www.parliament.scot/msps.aspx
A video of last week’s half hour Westminster Hall debate on diagnosis and treatment of ADHD is available on our Facebook page. Big thanks to Jo Platt MP for bringing this motion and speaking so powerfully, and good to hear the response from the Health Minister Jackie Doyle Price MP. The huge response from all across the UK to the brief survey carried out by ADHD Action to prepare for the debate adds to the weight of evidence presented in our ‘Attending to Parents’ report. Many of the issues highlighted in England apply here in Scotland too – and we plan to bring these to the attention of the Scottish parliament soon. Watch this space.
Watch last week's half hour Westminster Hall debate on diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. Big thanks to Jo Platt MP for bringing this motion and speaking so powerfully, and good to hear the response from the Health Minister Jackie Doyle Price MP. The huge response from all across the UK to the brief survey carried out by ADHD Action to prepare for the debate adds to the weight of evidence presented in our 'Attending to Parents' report. Many of the issues highlighted in England apply here in Scotland too – and we plan to bring these to the attention of the Scottish parliament soon. Watch this space.
Adult ADHD was discussed on the BBC2 Victoria Derbyshire show this morning, featuring Michelle Beckett of ADHD Action, Jo Platt MP and Abi Nicol, co-moderator of the ADHD/ASD UK Community Support Facebook group which has over 66,000 members. The feature highlighted the fact that adult ADHD has only been fully recognised in the past 10 years, but that adults with ADHD benefit enormously from diagnosis and treatment. Michelle described how the (unquantified and likely minimal) risks of medication for adult ADHD can be far outweighed by the mental health risks of ADHD remaining untreated. Other participants to the programme talked about the importance of other therapies alongside medication to help adults with ADHD manage their lives, and the patchiness of NHS services for adults.
April 17th 2018 saw the publication of the results of our survey of parents about health and education services for children with ADHD across Scotland. The survey was answered by more than 200 parents of children with a confirmed diagnosis of ADHD across Scotland and paints a picture of health and education services which are excellent at best, but not consistent enough. Many health services are overly focused on medication provision as the only treatment on offer for ADHD, and teachers urgently need more training on AD.
The report also highlights the huge value that peer support groups, including Coalition members, bring in supporting parents to feel less alone.
The availability of written information offered to parents and children about ADHD needs to be improved. Children need information tailored to their age group. As children mature and reach adolescence, it is particularly important that they are supported to find out about ADHD for themselves and begin to take responsibility for managing their own condition.
Current treatment for ADHD is very medication-focused. Whilst our survey could not assess unmet need, there is a case for greater multi-disciplinary team support, involving not only ADHD nurses and psychiatrists but also psychologists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and dieticians for children with more complex needs. Families who do not at first accept the offer of medication should not be discharged from the service if they still have needs.
ADHD cannot be seen in isolation. There is a need for more joined-up neurodevelopmental care pathways where children can be assessed for related difficulties such as ASD and sensory issues alongside ADHD, and holistic treatment plans can be put in place.
CAMHS teams need to be more proactive in reaching out to education services, and not only as part of the assessment process. After diagnosis, CAMHS should be working with schools to ensure they understand the diagnosis and make and implement appropriate plans, and jointly to monitor the effectiveness of both health and educational interventions.
For Education Services:
Additional support plans for children with ADHD need to be made and, crucially, consistently implemented by schools. This includes clear communication between teaching staff and between schools and parents.
Teachers need more training about ADHD, both in order to recognise signs and symptoms and refer children for assessment and also to manage children with ADHD in the classroom. There should be a systematic programme of continuing professional development about ADHD and related disorders, as well as online resources available as needed to support teachers.
Mainstream education may be an unrealistic goal for some children with ADHD and more complex needs. Where needed and appropriate, specialist provision should be available.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has just published its new Guideline on the diagnosis and management of ADHD. It applies only in England, but is still a useful document for us as it summarises all the latest evidence about ADHD treatment and is therefore much more up to date than the Scottish SIGN guideline (2009). To access the Guideline, visit https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng87
A newly published editorial in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry highlights the need for more research on the amazing strengths of people with ‘high functioning ADHD’ – people who fully meet the criteria for ADHD but are still able to function relatively well. Such people, the editorial argues, often compensate for their ADHD difficulties through extraordinary strengths – such as creativity, hyperfocus, high levels of agreeableness and above-average openness to new experiences. If high functioning ADHD can be better understood, it will be possible to re-characterise ADHD less as a ‘disorder’ and more in terms of the extraordinary potential that these people have. The article also makes the case for more research into treatment approaches including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness which have the potential to help manage ADHD symptoms and let strengths shine through.