Understanding Attention Deficit Disorders in Children
26th July 2017
I attended an Conference on ‘Understanding Attention Deficit Disorders in Children’. The conference was organised by SEN Talk Charity, a local charity set up by parents and carers which is dedicated to supporting children and young people with high functioning autism (ASD) and attention deficit disorders (ADD/ADHD) and their families living in the London Borough of Wandsworth.
This conference explored the nature of ADHD and Mental Health, the benefits of Pastoral Support Programmes and Understanding the meaning behind Challenging Behaviour.
The event was attended by both professionals and parents of children with ADHD. The event was a well balanced insight into how the condition is experienced and managed by both parents and educational provisions. Annaliese Boucher (Founder/Director of SEN Talk Charity) brought some excellent guest speakers to the event including a head teacher of a mainstream school who has specialist knowledge of ADHD and Autistic Spectrum Disorder, and Charlotte O’Reilly a Specialist Paediatric Occupational Therapist (see more information on the guest speakers below).
I learnt so much from talking and listening to the parents of children with ADHD. It was insightful to listen to the parents personal experiences and the emotions they felt on a day to day basis, and over time (as guest speaker Alastair Yates, parent of a child with ADHD so brilliantly conveyed). Occupational Therapist Charlotte O’Reilly’s presentation was also particularly helpful. She highlighted the links and similarities between sensory processing difficulties and ADHD, and using real life samples and volunteers from the audience she explained and demonstrated what it’s actually like to experience such difficulties.
Ellie Loughnan- Head Teacher of Mainstream Primary School, discussed her own difficulties and successes of supporting children with ADHD and other neuro-developmental disorders. She explained that looking at the evidence from literature and her own MA research she had found that after educational staff had received training on ADHD and other neuro-developmental disorders there was a decrease in the stress and anxiety levels of both the staff who had been trained, and the children and parents of the children. This correlation was a powerful reminder of the far reaching benefits of workforce development in schools particularly with staff who work with children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Key Learning from this event
- A better understanding of the many crossovers, similarities and differences between ADHD and other neuro-developmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder.
- The importance of listening to the children and parents experience, listening to their opinion and wishes regarding treatment and support
- The emotional impact on the parents and family of children with ADHD
- The vital importance of raising the knowledge and skills of educational staff who work with children with ADHD and other neuro-developmental disorders.
Annaliese Boucher- Founder/ Director of Sen Talk Charity http://sentalk.org/
Alastair Yates- Lead/Chair of ADHD Richmond https://adhdrichmond.org/
Head Teacher of Mainstream Primary School
Marc Lorenzi- Education Advocate at Communities Empowerment Network http://cenlive.org/
Charlotte O’Reilly- Specialist Paediatric Occupational Therapist http://www.otplay.co.uk/