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6th February 2005

Horizon 'Living with ADHD' BBC2 Thursday 3rd February 2005

Well having waited so long and with baited breath finally the Horizon program was shown on Thursday 3rd February 2005

Well I for one found it most moving and fantastic - the two families who were filmed were incredibly brave to allow the film crew to follow them around for so many months - I know that I would not have been able to cope with keeping my house clean and tidy all the time to make sure it all looked OK on camera!

The things that were shown through out the program were the problems that there are surrounding the condition of ADHD - the myths and misconceptions which they showed were really not what it is all about - the fact of the matter is that this program tried to focus on some of the positives of ADHD and how when it is correctly diagnosed and treated those of us with ADHD can achieve so much.

Our own Charlotte from our forum boards and her children were a true inspiration to families with children or adults with ADHD - the way she has coped throughout her life and how honest she was about the problems she has now overcome since her diagnosis and also the way she lives her life with her children now was amazing. Jasmine and James showed how that having ADHD need not be a major problem and that they are able to succeed in things they do - James with his football for which is his fantastic and maybe we will see him play for one of the big football clubs in years to come - and Jasmine - well her artistic ability is spectacular and the drawings that were shown were amazing.

Following the other family to getting a diagnosis I must say that the trip to the shops and in the car park took me back to the years of torture before our own son was diagnosed to how he used to be when we went out! Talk about a nightmare.

The program also focused on the adult side of ADHD and showed how with the right help and support including medication Charlotte was able to turn her own life around and start to embrace her ADHD to work with her children to enable them to accept that the condition they have can be something they can use to their own advantage to enable them to succeed in life just as she has.

I can only say that I know that expectations for this program by many from this site may have been slightly more in that they hoped to see some of the ways that families get isolated and the problems that our children face with their peers but the thing is with this one program being only 50 minutes it was obviously not possible to include everything in one go.

However I feel that for the members of the general public at large this will have had a huge impact and lead to far more understanding of ADHD.

I would like to say here and now to both the producers of the program and to Charlotte and the other involved how moved I was by this and I really do hope that in the near future that maybe a follow up program could come from this to cover a few more of the aspects that this one didn't quite manage to fit in.

I was also really encouraged to read the following in the highly respected BMJ.

Horizon: Living with ADHD

BBC 2, 3 February at 9 pm


When I see a child with a disability or behaviour problem I know that I see them for 30 minutes and then move on to the next patient. The parents cannot move on. This programme showed some of what parents of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have to put up with.

As cameras followed two families for six months the parents told their experiences without interruption from an interviewer. The viewer saw some of the day to day behaviour of children with ADHD and the parents' feelings of frustration, impotence, anger, and guilt. There was sensible information about what ADHD is; co-morbidities such as dyslexia and oppositional defiant disorder; the genetics and neurobiology of ADHD; and methylphenidate, which for once was not demonised as a chemical cosh. It would have been helpful to see the children's behaviour in school.

Liam was a runner and a climber. He clearly had ADHD and oppositional defiant behaviour. Initially it was tempting to wonder which came first-his defiant behaviour or his parents' frequent (ineffective) efforts telling him to behave. One could see why parents of children like this smack them or worse. Liam's mother admitted to being at the end of her tether and clearly felt guilty that she disliked her child. She admitted that if she disliked an adult that much she would have nothing to do with them. But she also recognised Liam's good qualities.

Liam's behaviour at home, in a multistorey car park, and when shopping was a good picture of a child with ADHD. When the local ADHD assessment team gave the diagnosis, the parents were relieved. They found strength in that and opted for the moment not to give Liam medication. They have been offered special behaviour classes.

James and Jasmine were two siblings with ADHD. Their mother, who was doing a grand job as a single parent, realised she had had ADHD as a child and still had it. All three of them were on methylphenidate. On Jasmine's first day at secondary school the household was in chaos and mum forgot to give everyone their methylphenidate. We saw the deterioration in behaviour when a dose was missed. A psychologist worked with the mother on behaviour management-tokens and rewards for the children; and a timetable and structure to the mother's day, all of which seemed to help.

The shortage of child psychiatrists in the United Kingdom will not be resolved in the next decade, so most ADHD will continue to be diagnosed and treated by community paediatricians, often without the ideal package of behaviour support as well. I will use some parts of the video of this programme to give trainees an insight into ADHD outside the clinic.

C.E. consultant neurodevelopmental paediatrician



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