Worthing support group for ADHD helps deal with diagnosis

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SUS-151109-152127001

Imagine sitting in a room watching eight cinema screens playing different films all at once.

According to some parents, that is what their sons and daughters who have ADHD experience every day.

There was a lady in the shop who called him an animal.

Sheena Blackmore

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) refers to behavioural symptoms that include poor concentration, restlessness and fidgeting, impulsiveness and being easily distracted.

A Worthing support group has been set up for parents – in a bid to get information, advice and share experiences about coping with the condition.

Sheena Blackmore, who set up the group with Sharon Featherstone, said: “I remember being in Wilkinsons and my son must have been about six. He was running around.

“There was a lady in the shop who called him an animal. I just dropped my bags of shopping and we left, I was so upset.”

The group is trying to raise awareness for the condition – and relieve some of the prejudice surrounding ADHD, including how parents are often deemed responsible for the behaviour it creates.

The group is also urging other families going through a diagnosis to get in touch.

Although no two children affected by ADHD are the same, the parents at the group shared a lot of similar stories.

Rachel Osborne’s son has ADHD. She said: “Ever since he could move I knew he was different. I just knew he wasn’t quite right.

“People sometimes describe children as bouncing off the walls but he was literally bouncing off the walls.

“Unless you have a child with ADHD you will never understand.

“It is hard work. He said his brain goes too fast.

“When you hear your four-year-old saying he wants a new brain, it is very difficult.”

“He was four went he went on medication.

“That was a massive decision, you feel useless like you can’t help.

“People are more understanding when there is a diagnosis.”

While many parents said they had received great support from schools such as Worthing High School some parents said they struggle to keep working because they are often called in to school by teachers, or their children are isolated or expelled for being disruptive or rough with other children.

Rachel’s son now attends Springboard in Brighton, a specialist school which caters for pupils with emotional, behavioural, social and communication difficulties.

Parents say their children have trouble sleeping, can’t settle or focus, and other siblings can be affected by their behaviour.

Claire Booth has three sons. Her eldest, who is ten, has ADHD.

“I was told he will grow out of it,” she said.

“I thought I just needed to give him a bit of discipline.

“I would be saying go and sit on the naughty step, but it wouldn’t work. I thought I was a terrible parent.”

Claire, and some of the other parents said coping with the disorder makes it harder to take their children out. Many of the parents at the group described felling guilty for putting their children on medication.

Claire said: “No one wants to give their children a pill. But if they fell over you would give them a plaster. Why wouldn’t you want to make them better?”

The ADHD Parent Support Group – based in the Maybridge Children and Family Centre, on Tuesdays, every two weeks during term time. The next meeting is on September 22, from 12pm.

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