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Help, my ADHD Teenager is becoming an ADHD Adult!

Recent Research studies find a shortage of Transitional Services for Young Adults (18+) who have ADHD: This Needs to Be Rectified.

Our children for whom we advocated 10 years ago (Green Paper, 2006) are now young adults, and the services that we pleaded for throughout the intervening years have on the whole improved for this age group. However, ADHD-Europe members now find that there are a lot of difficulties for young adults (18+) when the services that were available for them as children and adolescents are no longer available to them once they reach 17- 18 years of age, a critical time in their further development when they are still in education and training.

Research shows that there is a continuity of symptoms and that new comorbidities can appear in adulthood; it is widely recognized today that ADHD continues into adulthood for up to 75% 1 of those diagnosed as children/adolescents, the severity of which is directly related to the presence and seriousness of comorbidities; this is especially the case if ADHD has not been diagnosed and treated as children/adolescents.

Most adolescents with ADHD symptomatology are transferred to adult services, where they are not given proper interventions to help them at this time. As a result, many are not motivated to continue their studies, seek solace with companions who are also struggling and often end up abandoning their studies, which puts them at extremely high risk for developing substance abuse problems and engaging in risky or offending behaviours. In most cases, the reason is that the psychiatrists and psychologists whom they encounter in the adult clinics or services often do not have adequate training about ADHD in adulthood and do not understand the needs of young people (18+), which are distinct from diagnosis and treatment in childhood and adolescence. As ADHD is often accompanied by one or more psychiatric disorders, such as Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Personality Disorders, young adults who have not been diagnosed or treated as adolescents are more likely to be treated for a psychiatric condition rather than ADHD; this means that many of them are misdiagnosed, often with disastrous repercussions.

At the same time, the ADHD medication that they may need is not available anymore or - if available - is not reimbursable. This puts a big economic burden on their parents, who very often have two or more children affected by ADHD and cannot afford to pay for this medication. This is a recipe for disaster at an important time in the lives of these young people. Similarly, psychosocial interventions (e.g., ADHD coaches, CBT, etc.) are not available publicly, and very difficult and expensive to source privately.

1 This figure comes from a range of research papers quoting figures between 50% and 82% depending on severity of symptoms and co existing conditions
2 NICE Guidelines February 2016

In general, ADHD is a persisting disorder. Of the young people with a sustained diagnosis, most

will go on to have significant difficulties in adulthood, which may include continuing ADHD,

personality disorders, emotional and social difficulties, substance misuse, unemployment and

involvement in crime.2

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Written Declaration on behalf of ADHD Europe

Adult Clinics should be able to offer ADHD transition services to young people where they can continue to obtain the care and multimodal interventions that were available to them as children and adolescents or to establish proper interventions to those newly diagnosed.

  • ï‚·The services that are available for other psychiatric disorders should be also available specifically for young adults (18+) who have ADHD.

  • ï‚·General psychiatrists should familiarize themselves with the symptoms of ADHD in young adults and the specific needs of young adults with ADHD, as well as the new comorbidities they may develop at this age.

  • ï‚·ADHD medication should be available and reimbursable throughout Europe for young people who have ADHD.

  • ï‚·Psychosocial interventions that specifically address the needs of young adults with ADHD should be available publicly throughout Europe.

  • ï‚·Educational accommodations and interventions that support young adults with ADHD in Further Education and Higher Education should be mandatory for educational institutions across Europe.

  • ï‚·The transition from child and adolescent services to adult services should be seamless without a break in treatment

  • ï‚·Lack of adult services should not lead to withdrawal of treatment 

    Contacts for Press Purposes:  

    -  Andrea Bilbow OBE, President of ADHD-Europe: 

    -  Dr. Joanne Norris, ADHD-Europe (Brussels): adhd.edu@gmail.com

 

Our Visit to the Academy of Collaborative Education (ACE of Brussels)

A delegation from our organization recently visited ACE of Brussels, the new school (2 1⁄2 to 14 years) that is now accepting pupils for the 2016/17 school year.

We welcome this school as it is unique both for its educational philosophy and its very competitive tuition fees, the former providing a project based learning environment to suit pupils of all abilities and the latter including a reduced fee option for families in need as well as a lower regular fee for all students.

While the school will not cater specifically for Special Needs, it welcomes children with ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, etc. The learning environment is structured so that exceptionally bright and gifted students can flourish as well as those with different learning styles. In fact, project based learning (academic and personal excellence through learning, discovery, questioning and creativity) makes pupils more motivated as they are given more choice and control over their own learning outcomes. The school offers a choice of inspiring curricula for all strengths, interests and goals.

There is a Learning Support room in a quiet area upstairs, which will be manned by well- qualified support teachers and coaches, and a Speech & Language and Occupational therapist complete the staff roll. English as a Second Language will be provided as needed for children whose mother tongue is not English.

The tuition fees can be found on the school website, www.aceofbrussels.com, suffice to say there is a multi-tiered fee structure, which is designed to appeal to many different budgets, and the full corporate paid fees are some of the lowest around.

The school building is also unique, set in lush gardens to the front with a large green area to the rear and located in the green belt on the borders of Auderghem and Woluwe Saint Pierre, it stands majestically in its very well maintained grounds. The interior more than lives up to the promise of the exterior; this is an old house with marbled floors and period features, high ceilings and welcoming décor, with the added modern comfort of a lift (elevator). We imagine that pupils will feel at home and special in these surroundings. The classrooms are roomy with plenty of natural light, pleasing wood features and great views of gardens. Right at the top of the house is the Art Room, a sunny space with both windows and skylights to bring in even more natural light, great for budding artists.

All in all, our expectations were surpassed and we left ACE in the knowledge that a school that has the potential to bring out the very best in all its students had just opened its doors to some very lucky pupils who we expect to thrive and be the trail-bearers for future pupils; on another note, it is refreshing to see a school that is able to offer exceptional services at a much lower cost.

Contact School Principal: Jackie Daire: info@aceofbrussels.com / Tel: +32 (0) 2 420-0204 Web: www.aceofbrussels.com; Address: Drève du Prieuré 19 1160 Auderghem/Brussels 

Our Team Visit to Luxembourg in May 2016

 

ADHD and relative risk of accidents in road traffic: A meta-analysis

The present meta-analysis is based on 16 studies comprising 32 results. These studies
provide sufficient data to estimate relative accident risks of drivers with ADHD.


The highlights of the study:


Drivers with ADHD have considerably lower relative risk (RR) of being involved
in accidents than previously estimated.

The overall estimate of relative risk for drivers with ADHD is 1.36 (95% CI:
1.18; 1.57) without control for exposure, 1.29 (1.12; 1.49) when correcting for
publication bias, and 1.23 (1.04; 1.46) when controlling for exposure.

The assertion stated by Barkley et al in 1993, that ADHD-drivers have 3-4 times
higher relative risk than non-ADHD controls, is rebutted.
In a sample of ADHD-drivers where a majority had comorbid ODD and/or CD
the estimated RR was 1.86 (1.27; 2.75) compared to 1.31 (0.96; 1.81) in a sample
of ADHD-drivers with no comorbidity.

All accident studies fail to differentiate between deliberate, intentional driving
violations and unintended driver errors.

More frequent speeding among ADHD-drivers than non-ADHD controls may
be associated with a feeling of less inattention and more vigilance.

Read an entire research article here.

 

Making the invisible visible

President of the European brain council Mary Baker told TheParliament.com, "A lot of people do not believe in [ADHD's] existence. So therefore, if it does not exist, then people do not understand that there is treatment for it. We need to make this illness visible to society."
Baker, also a consultant to the World Health Organisation and chair of their working group on Parkinson's disease, was speaking at the launch on Tuesday of an expert white paper on ADHD.
The white paper aims to provide policy solutions to address the societal impact, costs and long-term outcomes in support of individuals affected by ADHD.
She added, "There is a lot of support that can be given to children living with this disorder, if people start to work together."
If ADHD is recognised early and treated appropriately, the child "will get a better education, a better chance in the workplace, a better chance at family relationships and making relationships of their own", said Baker. "It's an illness which requires good investment and I think teachers, psychologists, criminal justice, all need to come together and help society face up to a challenge that could be considerably better managed."
Baker added that it is "very difficult" for older people diagnosed with ADHD "because, like anything in life, to be diagnosed with [an illness] later is always hard".
She also warned that it is often something quite major in an adult's behaviour that signals the need for help, from driving offences to criminal activity, "So an early diagnosis to make an invisible illness visible is the way to go."

Video of the interview with Mary Baker and Nessa Childers on ADHD - click here

For the expert White Paper on ADHD - click here


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ADHD Europe asks for better provisions for Teenagers with ADHD who continue to need access to mental health services after they turn 18.
This must be a priority across Europe so please sign the Declaration:
DECLARATION HERE

Click here to get this resource in other languages:


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