"Real Voices", reporting the lived experience of people with ADHD, is being presented on October 14th at the European Parliament. Supported by 1,355 pledges amplifying the need for change in policies and attitudes across 20 EU countries, the report shares the personal accounts of people living with ADHD and the impact the condition has on them, their family, friends and communities.
The campaign team, led by a steering committee of independent multidisciplinary experts in ADHD, initiated, developed and funded by the pharmaceutical company Shire, collated individual testimonies to give a voice to those people living with condition.
"I know first-hand how difficult it can be for individuals with ADHD to have potential, but be unable to succeed in a system that does not accept or include their differences. We hope that this report will confront the widespread discrimination that was so evident from the stories we collected," said steering committee member Kate Carr-Fanning, Vice Chairperson of HADD Ireland. "By listening to the voices of people affected by ADHD, we can help others understand how ADHD can impact all areas of a person's life; how they learn, feel, and socialise. By hearing their voices, we can move forward together towards a truly inclusive and flourishing Europe where people with ADHD can achieve their potential and positively contribute to their communities."
The report challenges misconceptions about ADHD and highlights the changes that need to be made. It states how:
- Institutions need to be more aware of the needs of people with ADHD and better equipped to meet them
- Early detection of ADHD needs to be improved
- Provision of support needs to be more widespread
- Stakeholders need to work together to end stereotyping
The report also provides clear recommendations that can be actioned by policymakers, teachers, health professionals, parents and journalists. For example, policymakers must "include ADHD in national educational outcomes frameworks" and journalists writing about ADHD should consider "the perspectives of people with first-hand experience of the condition."
"Our aim is to demonstrate the impact of ADHD and the need for continuing the ongoing drive for change. There has been great support for this report, so our next step must be to work with European policymakers to realise the report's call to action," said steering committee member, Fulgencio Madrid Conesa, President, Spanish Federation of ADHD Supporting Associations (FEEADAH). "Even small changes in policy and attitudes can enable people with ADHD to fulfil their potential and participate successfully in their schools, companies and communities."
ADHD is a complex medical condition, which affects just under 1 in 20 children and adolescents around the world and can continue into adulthood.1-3 Thought to be caused mainly by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain,4 the condition and its core symptoms (i.e., hyperactivity, impulsivity, and/or inattention) can make daily activities very challenging,5 which may lead to problems in relationships, education and employment.6
The ADHD Alliance for Change Steering Committee consists of six independent multidisciplnary ADHD experts from across Europe. Working closely with a number of European patient advocacy groups, they represent the real-life needs of people affected by the condition.
The report is being presented at a launch event hosted by Rosa Estaràs Ferragut MEP. 1,355 pledges for change in attitudes and policies to support people with ADHD, have been signed and presented to the European Parliament. To show your support, please visit: www.adhdallianceforchange.eu