Members of the Board will receive a presentation about ADHD and will be invited to discuss the context of ADHD across Leicester including challenges and service provisions.
The Chair welcomed Christine Jarvis from ADHD Solutions CIC to the meeting to talk about ADHD, then briefly introduced this item to the Board, explaining this was a particularly close subject matter for her as her son had been diagnosed with ADHD 26 years ago.
Members of the Board received a presentation giving an insight into what ADHD was, how it impacted upon children, young people, adults and their families.
Christine Jarvis from ADHD Solutions CIC set out the context of ADHD in Leicester City and provided details of service provision around ADHD, together with impacts on families and individuals, outcomes and the challenges faced by people with ADHD.
It was noted that:
· 2-5% of school children had ADHD, equal to between 1,100 and 2,800 children in Leicester City. ADHD in the adult population was between 3-4% with the majority of those being undiagnosed, equal to 8,000 to 11,000
· ADHD is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder and was recognised as a disability under DDA, the exact cause was not fully understood although a combination of factors were thought to be responsible, with certain groups thought to be more at risk e.g. premature births especially those born before 37 weeks.
· ADHD was not just about Hyperactivity, that was a stereotype perpetuated by media. ADHD is a disorder of executive function which makes life very difficult for the individual and has a complex range of affects.
· Of the positive aspects, people with ADHD were often incredibly creative and were known for thinking outside the box, they were very keen to be involved although this could be seen as “just interrupting” and so their talents needed to be harnessed in the right way.
· There was an intergenerational predisposition to ADHD which could make the situation more difficult. Knowledge awareness and understanding across schools, workplaces and among various professionals was therefore important.
Members discussed the levels of access to support and services for those with or affected by ADHD and the ensuing discussion included comments as follows:
· Families affected by ADHD are at much higher risk of family breakdown, domestic violence, social and emotional difficulties including self-harm/suicidal ideation, experiencing poorer mental health, greater parenting related stress, lower parenting self-esteem, and have greater alcohol consumption.
· Earlier diagnosis was better for outcomes; however, a diagnosis shouldn’t take place before the age of 5 as it was difficult to differentiate between stages of life or ADHD, most diagnosis occurred around 7 years old. In terms of identifying the issue there was a joint responsibility among professionals, i.e. teachers, GP’s and other services as ADHD was diagnosed in more than one setting. Parents should also be listened to as they know when children do things differently e.g. compared to siblings.
· It was noted that approximately 25% of the prison population has ADHD, either diagnosed or undiagnosed, and came out of prison without it being addressed. General knowledge and widespread understanding within the police force weren’t there. Lord Bach, the Police and Crime Commissioner agreed to discuss the topic with the Chief Constable of Leicestershire, with a view to taking forward any opportunities to raise awareness/workshops with the police.
· Concerns were raised for those with ADHD in current climate of Covid especially children and young people in education regarding the difficulties of engaging, interacting in bubbles and learning online. It was recognised that the socio/emotional health agenda within schools and pastoral care needed to support children through their education and raising the profile of Mental Health in schools and improving teachers awareness had begun but that needed to incorporate more such as ADHD so that interventions were carried out in a more meaningful way.
· It was noted that the reconfiguration of UHL Hospitals included plans to build an independent Children’s Hospital, there were various things that could be done to make buildings more ADHD friendly and Christine Jarvis agreed to liaise on that outside this meeting.
· It was clarified that in terms of diagnosing, there was no “blood” or simple medical tests that determined ADHD however professionals did use the QB Test which is a diagnostic screening tool that measures core symptoms associated with ADHD to aid assessment of ADHD, the QB test uses age and gender matched comparisons to assess someone’s ability to concentrate, their movement and impulsivity.
Members of the Board were surprised at the low level of funding around ADHD and the difficult funding position the ADHD Solutions team were in. It was noted that ADHD Solutions received about £30k from the Local Authority as part of the Troubled Families programme, however the team referred on average 200 children through that. An amount of funding was also received from Children in Need, but the rest of ADHD Solutions funds had to be raised through Traded Services and in the current climate of Covid the organisation was at great risk of not surviving. There was a brief discussion on other potential sources of funding and grant schemes that could be applied to including a grant scheme through the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
In summary of the discussion, the Chair commented that a lot had been said about children however, there was a plea to recognise the adults with ADHD, adults that haven’t been diagnosed and for the parents and families of those people too as the figures around family breakdown were a cause for concern.
The Chair thanked Christine Jarvis and officers for their informative presentation.
All Board members to take this conversation back to their organisations, to discuss and raise awareness of ADHD and ask the questions whether people in their organisations know about and understand ADHD, whether there was discrimination against ADHD and was that being challenged.