As October is ADHD awareness month and this is my first blog, I thought the subject should be one that is very close to my heart. My daughter at the ripe old age of 19 has just being diagnosed as having ADHD. It isn’t something that we ever considered and it isn’t something that we knew anything at all about.
We knew that Flo was “naughty” we knew that she was challenging, we knew that she took risks with her health and wellbeing. She was permanently in trouble at school and her attendance was sporadic to say the least. She was unhappy anxious and underachieving yet nobody throughout school or throughout her engagement with CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) identified any underlying cause for her behaviour. She was terrible to live with.
I love my daughter, of course I do, and seeing her make ridiculous choices that were preventing her from being safe, happy and achieving her potential was hard going. This went on from first year primary school right through high school and into college. We had no clue why our daughter was so very different to absolutely everybody we had ever met.
Flo herself was looking for answers. She wasn’t satisfied that how she experienced the world was right. She saw her friends organising their lives very differently to her. She saw that they weren’t permanently in conflict and failing to complete work on time or get to college when expected.
Mainly she thought to herself “ I’m not growing out of this, and if I don’t get answers I’m not going to be able to do the things I want to do.” She read around personality disorders and educated herself.
She said to me, “Mum do you think I’ve got ADHD?” I said no, because I knew nothing at all about it. It’s interesting how often we close down things we don’t understand. I asked a teacher friend of ours because I thought she’d have a clue, and she said “ No, she hasn’t got ADHD”. I believed her because she is a teacher and works with kids in all kinds of circumstances every day. But she was wrong.
My little girl, has now been assessed by a specialist Psychiatrist and Psychologist, and yes in fact she does have severe ADHD and is now in a position to understand herself, her experience and move forward with the tools she needs to live her life her way.
It turns out that girls are often overlooked in terms of ADHD and a lot more research and awareness is needed. Not every child, adolescent or adult who can’t organise a party in a brewery or isn’t keen on school has ADHD but if you are concerned about your child and want to find out more (as I wish I had) there is a lot of information on line.
by BITMO Chief Executive, Deborah Kelly