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ADD/ADHD News

April 7th 2001 - 14:30 GMT

Social Exclusion To Be Tackled By European Group

The long awaited first issue of the newsletter ADDvance, for the National ADHD Alliance is out. It includes a report that the Alliance has been approached by the Danish DAMP Association to participate in a project to tackle social exclusion across Europe. This European Social Fund project is to be called "Knowing Me, Knowing You" and will be a partnership of groups from Denmark, Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and the UK.

Jim Hedgeland of the National ADHD Alliance has given permission to adders.org to reproduce the article as follows:

"The Alliance was approached months ago by The Danish DAMP Association to take part in a European Social Fund project bid entitled 'Knowing Me Knowing You'. This was seen as an excellent opportunity for us to work in partnership with Denmark, Netherlands, Finland and Sweden to address ADHD and social exclusion. The European social fund has approved and funded the project which will explore solutions to the social exclusion facing children/young people and adults affected by ADHD. The outcomes of the project will be made available within various seminars/conferences and reports and the project will culminate in a wrap-up meeting in London in March 2002.

Social exclusion is a problem facing children and adults affected by ADHD. They are unable to understand the 'social code' and society reacts with bewilderment and fear. Up to 5% of school age children are affected by ADHD and approximately 25% of these get through adolescence unscathed. About 75% have profound difficulties adapting to the school environment which can lead to poor educational attainment and underachievement. As a result many of these children find it difficult to find and sustain paid employment after leaving school. It is believed that solvent, drug, alcohol abuse and crime, suicide and attempted suicide is significantly more prevalent among people with ADHD than the rest of the population.

Social exclusion is frequently experienced by children, adolescents and adults affected by ADD/ADHD. The purpose of the project is to identify the types of social exclusion and the extent to which it happens across Europe.

The project started in February 2001 and will last for 14 months - Work involves:

. Undertaking a mapping exercise, via questionnaire and telephone enquiries, of the situation regarding social exclusion across Europe looking at the existence, support and identification of key needs of family organisations to combat social exclusion at local, regional and national level. This will culminate in a consensus report.

. Setting up an informal European 'interactive' support network for individuals affected by ADHD and their families to encourage their empowerment, self-respect and participation. The network will be reviewed and refined during the lifetime of the project based on the inputs of consumers.

. Exploring two areas which play a critical role for children, adults and families affected by ADHD:

a) Diagnosis and Early intervention Centres - Based on their own experience, parents from throughout Europe wilt meet in a seminar to devise the ideal centre which meets real needs and provides sustainable support for themselves and their child to promote their social inclusion. This will involve 30 parents from 5 countries, 2 from UK, 5 from Denmark and 23 from the rest of Europe.

b) How to share and utilise knowledge and best practice for children and young people affected by ADHD and who are intelligent but consistently under-achieve at school and often excluded from work.

. Hold a European mini-conference for professionals and people affected by ADHD to enable them to develop a 'Curriculum for our Future' which will then be translated and widely published across the EU, and introduced as a possible contribution to the 2002 Review of Social Exclusion.

INVOLVEMENT OF PARTNERS

Representative organisations from the five countries will participate on an equal basis. Both the Mapping exercise and the Informal Network and its review will be set up on a European wide basis.

AWARENESS-RAISING AND POLITICAL STRATEGY

The project will deliver three key reports:

The 'consensus report' on the mapping exercise, and the 'seminar report' on the ideal centre for diagnosis and early intervention will be widely publicised across the 'ADHD community' and are intended to contribute positively to internal and external policy discussions. The informal interactive network will be developed on the basis of these reports, and the project partners will be largely responsible for marketing the network in the first instance.

The conference report, 'A Curriculum for our Future' will be published and disseminated across the 'ADHD community' and targeted towards educational and vocational training professionals at all levels. Following presentation to various EU Commissions it is hoped that a synthesis of this project could be integrated as part of the 2002 Review on Social Exclusion. Each of the partner organisations involved in the project will work closely with their national Governments to ensure that the Social Exclusion National Action Plan reflects the outcome of the mapping exercise and the meeting reports."

Thanks to Mr. Hedgeland for allowing us to reproduce this article and on another matter he has asked us to highlight the competition the National Alliance is running for a logo. Details from the newsletter are as follows:

"The ADHD National Alliance needs a LOGO so start thinking!

We would like to receive your suggestions and hope to pick the most suitable to be used as the LOGO for all the Alliance material.

There are some requirements for a good logo.

It must be relevant
It must be clear
It must be in no more than 2 colours, better in 1
It must look good on letter head, posters, information leaflets

Closing date for the competition is April 20th 2001 and there is a prize of a bottle of champagne for the winner."

You can contact Jim Hedgeland by email at jim@cafamily.org.uk

Simon Hensby for adders.org

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