Parenthood is difficult. Although there are a million and one books out there every child is different and if your child starts to exhibit signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder you may not know where to turn. The Electrical Industries Charity launched their Employee and Family Support Programme to assist you in supporting you and your family. Carole, an electrical distributor employee, and her husband Martin contacted the Charity about their daughter Katie when Katie first started primary school.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that typically appears in early childhood, usually before the age of seven. ADHD makes it difficult for children to inhibit their spontaneous responses—responses that can involve everything from movement, to speech, to attentiveness.
Katie’s teachers began to recognise that she may have learning difficulties and she was also displaying signs of ADHD. Katie was really struggling, predominantly with restlessness, retaining information and maintaining focus, often flitting between tasks with an inability to remain on the same activity for a prolonged period. Carole explained that Katie was also finding general organisation quite challenging, resulting in her often misplacing her belongings. Her teachers had also expressed concerns that Katie would often daydream and required a member of staff to keep her on task. Her academic ability was reported to be below the expected level for her age.
It can be difficult to distinguish between ADHD and normal “kid behaviour.” If you spot just a few signs, or the symptoms appear only in some situations, it’s probably not ADHD. On the other hand, if your child shows a number of ADHD signs and symptoms that are present across all situations—at home, at school, and at play—it’s time to take a closer look.
Katie’s combination of symptoms were causing her to feel distressed and unhappy. Katie also had a diagnosis of dyslexia which may have accounted for her struggles with organisation and retention of information, but Carole was keen to investigate the suggestion from her teachers that there may be underlying ADHD.
Katie had been referred through the NHS for an ADHD assessment, however the wait for this process was 12 - 24 months. Martin and Carole were concerned for Katie's mental wellbeing and her falling further behind academically. Without a formal diagnosis Katie was unable to apply or receive further support. The diagnosis would hopefully qualify the family to obtain an Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP), which would provide them access to the funding required for the additional support in the classroom.
To fast-track this process, the EIC arranged for a private ADHD assessment to be carried out within 6 weeks, which enabled a specialist psychologist to observe Katie at school and to speak with her teachers to gain an insight into how she was coping in a classroom environment. Martin and Carole also completed detailed questionnaires which were analysed by a clinician before a formal assessment was carried out by a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at the clinic.
A formal diagnosis of ADHD was finally made by the psychiatrist and Katie’s parents received a full written report, medication recommendations and strategies which would benefit Katie and ease her daily routine.
Life with a child or teen with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD) can be frustrating, even overwhelming. But as a parent you can help your child overcome daily challenges, channel their energy into positive arenas, and bring greater calm to your family. And the earlier and more consistently you address your child’s problems, the greater chance they have for success in life.
*ADHD assessments are mean tested against Charity eligibility criteria
Katie is responding well to the medication and is coping much better in a classroom environment. She has begun to join in with classroom-based activities and is able to maintain her focus for a longer period. Carole and Martin are now in the process of applying for an EHCP.
Through the Employee Family Programme the Electrical Industries Charity have managed to support Carole, Martin and Katie through a trying time. The Employee Family Programme is just one branch of the EIC Employee Assistance Programme which can assist any industry member no matter what hurdles they face.