ADHD, ASC & LD Belgium is a founding member of ADHD Europe.
Our group started because parents and teachers did not have enough information about ADHD in Belgium and how it affected their families and pupils. As Belgium is a country with many temporary expats, our organisation felt joining other ADHD groups in Europe would help with collecting best practices. Families who move from another European country are usually looking for similar support services, education and medication as those in the previous country.
One challenge about living in Belgium is getting access to diagnosis and treatment, especially for adults. Our group can sometimes recommend services in other non-native languages (e.g. Spanish) as well as English, but these services are usually private and more expensive. ADHD Europe did a survey about access to diagnosis and treatment across Europe, so this is a Europe-wide problem. The whole community is advocating for better diagnosis, treatment, and education for people living with ADHD. There is a lack of knowledge in society and among healthcare professionals about ADHD. ADHD Europe endeavours to raise awareness of evidence-based information written by experts. It’s important that everyone recognises ADHD as an early onset neurodevelopmental condition.
ADHD Europe campaigns for better conditions for those with ADHD by attending various high-level stakeholder meetings; with GAMIAN Europe, Mental Health Europe, the European Brain Council, and the European Federation of Neurological Associations. ADHD, ASC & LD Belgium works alongside ADHD Europe and the Belgian Brain Council in these European meetings to better understand and improve the situation within Belgium.
We are currently looking for more Belgian partners, lead by neurodivergent people, to work alongside.
Neurodiverse in the Workplace
Our aim is to take part in the worldwide discussion, focussing on the strengths and talents available to ADHDers, autistic, dyscalculic, dysgraphic, dyslexic, dyspraxic (DCD), gifted and other neurodivergent people. The advantages of these employees are their creativity, ‘out of the box’ thinking, their pattern recognition and the attention to detail which they often bring to their work.
Neurodiverse Brains in the Workplace is part of European Brains @ Work Belgium – which is part of The European Brains @ Work Foundation, NL. ‘European Brains @ Work’ was founded in The Netherlands and it was co-funded by the Erasmus+ KAI Programme of the European Union.
We also have online Support meetings. These are gatherings of neurodivergent adults (both diagnosed and self-diagnosed). If you have an issue or a question you are welcome to come along and start a discussion – we are a small group, but we have experience of most issues…. (Contact us for the zoom link and the dates of our meetings).
In this website, we have introduced the section Neurodiversity 0 to 99 years to explore how Neurodiverse conditions change as people get older. For instance, the hyperactive ADHD child will probably stop running around and blurting out the answer to the question, but their mind can remain hyperactive solving puzzles whilst trying to do some routine administration. Many neurodivergent children who have struggled with the confines of school, find greater freedom in a working environment, especially if they are entrepreneurial and choose self-employment. So we have pages on:
This format is new to our organisation and we expect these pages to change and develop over time.
Neurodiverse Brains in the Workplace has Facebook and LinkedIn pages, where you will find posts and discussions which may be of interest and where you can be a part of and contribute to, our community.
Why did we start the ADHD Women Project?
In collaboration with ADHS Deutschland e.V, our main goal was to change women’s lives, to provide information, support and a network to be #bettertogether #strongertogether!
Women don’t know they have ADHD or suspect they have ADHD. Our efforts across Belgium and Germany are allowing women to discover more about symptoms and more….
How did it all begin?
In early 2020, we grouped together volunteers to start the ADHD Women Project namely, Prof. Sandra Kooij (Psychiatrist, specialist in female ADHD, Netherlands), Dr. Myriam Bea (Executive Director of ADHS Deutschland e.V. and President of ADHD Europe AISBL), Dr. Ed. Joanne Norris (ex. President ADHD, ASC & LD Belgium ASBL and ADHD Coach), Beverley Sinton (President of ADHD, ASC & LD Belgium ASBL and European Brain Ambassador), Chantel Fouche (Secretary General of ADHD, ASC & LD Belgium ASBL and Treasurer of ADHD Europe (AISBL)
The project has grown in leaps and bounds, become European, and is recognised worldwide with an endorsement from ADHD Europe. The project has been rolled out to members of ADHD Europe to raise more awareness and offer the much needed support in various European countries that speak different languages.
What is Raising Awareness ADHD in Women all about?
The heavy social and personal impact of ADHD on females points to the importance of early identification and treatment. In order to achieve this goal, the indicators (symptoms) need to be better understood by healthcare professionals and society at large. Satisfactory academic achievement should not rule out an ADHD diagnosis. We want to change the lack of recognition and started to do this via social media, and we invite you to join conversations online with the ADHD women community Facebook Linkedin Twitter Instagram.
Every day, we grab everyone’s ATTENTION with postings on social media on various topics, and we share informative articles…
You will be amazed how many of these stories may explain, or talk about situations that you have found yourself in.
We campaign to share experiences by women who have ADHD so that women who suspect they have ADHD can understand more about real-life situations, including EMOTIONS that women experience in their daily lives as many of us internalize FEELINGS and women don’t openly discuss this with family, friends or colleagues. This information can be found on our webpage.
Should you wish to be in touch with us to share your story or help raise awareness, please email us.
The ADHD Women Project fully supports United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, and the European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM Committee). More news to follow on social media and on the webpage.
Our aim is to raise awareness about ADHD in women so that those who are struggling realize that their challenges might be caused by this neurological condition. Then, we guide them towards getting diagnosed and treated. ADHD, ASC & LD Belgium provides workshops, courses, teacher, family & adult support and hosts an annual conference in an effort to show what helps people further. Some examples of what we suggest:
- Family psychoeducation
- Environment restructuring
- Parent Training
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Self-advocacy training (by learning more about ADHD)
- Professional organizer familiar with ADHD
- ADHD coaching
It is highly recommended that most newly diagnosed adults get cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) to help them reverse any negative survival strategies that they have developed in the interim. They usually need an ADHD coach too to help them with organizational issues. A good ADHD coach helps move the newly diagnosed woman forward in a more regulated, organized and confident way so that new habits and perspectives are formed. This can be a life-changing experience for a newly diagnosed woman. See more information about diagnosis.
Empowering and Supporting women
From founding the ADHD Women Project, starting by empowering women, we decided to start supporting women. Since May 2021, we formed free Peer-to-Peer Support group meetings with certified ADHD coaches under the name KM!KY! (Knowing Me! Knowing You!).
All the information about registering and meeting information can be found on our webpage.
Why do Women with ADHD Feel Disempowered?
The below text is an extract from an article from ADDitude.
Life with ADHD can be a little messy — both physically and mentally. For many (if not most) women with ADHD, life has been messy since birth. But while the neurotypical world accepts that infants and young children will be messy, it grants far less leeway to adults — particularly adult women, who are further burdened by society’s unfair expectations and unspoken rules.
Since childhood, we’ve heard criticisms and felt judged by the people in our lives. Unlike boys, who are often socialized to deflect criticism onto other people (“It was my friend’s fault we got in trouble, not mine” or “My teacher is just mean, that’s why she failed me”), girls with ADHD tend to internalize criticism. We assume we’re at fault for every bad thing that happens to or around us.
As girls grow into women, we take on additional roles — roles like wife, mother, caretaker, teacher, maid, chef, and nurse. Women everywhere are expected to take on these roles without complaint, so when those of us with ADHD struggle to keep up, we often feel like failures. We ask ourselves, “Why can’t I do this? Everyone else can — they’re must be something wrong with me.” – Credit ADDitude Magazine
Written by Chantel Fouche, adapted from the experiences of girls/women living with un/diagnosed ADHD and the website www.adhd-women which was authored by Joanne Norris.