ADD/ADHD - Thanet ADDers
Article In The Prison Reform Trust Magazine - Autumn 1997
Although the words to describe Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may be unfamiliar, it is a condition, which has been known about for many years.
ADHD is a condition believed to be caused by a malfunction or lack of activity in the frontal lobule section of the brain. It's symptoms in sufferers include
irrational and often violent behaviour, inability to concentrate on tasks
for more than a few moments, being easily distracted, fidgety and restless.
Sufferers often have a very poor short-term memory and seem to have
ADD is the same condition but without the hyperactive
behaviour. Sufferers are often distant, find concentrating very difficult
and are frequently labelled as just plain lazy.
Whilst to my knowledge there have been no studies in this country regarding
ADD/ADHD and a link to destructive or criminal behaviour, many firmly
believe, as I do, that a number of offenders are in fact sufferers from this
disorder. My own 13 year old son, was expelled from school last year for
holding a knife to another boys throat in a home economics lesson. He has
since been diagnosed as suffering from ADHD.
Since he was two years old we
were aware that something was not quite right. We had two other sons to
compare him with, neither of whom displayed the tantrums and behaviour mood
swings that he did. We were constantly walking on eggshells, for the
slightest remark could be misconstrued and he would fly off the handle for no apparent reason.
Since our son was diagnosed, my wife and I have started a support group (Thanet ADDers) for
sufferers and their families in our part of Kent. We now have over two hundred
members locally in this small area. There are around 60 similar groups up
and down the country but the numbers of those who have been diagnosed is
just the tip of the iceberg. Because the condition is so little known about
amongst professionals and the general public, there are thousands of
children and adults (the condition does not necessarily disappear in
adulthood) who are left undiagnosed.
With appropriate medication and support, ADHD and ADD can be treated very
successfully. Many of our child members have been excluded from school
because of violent and disruptive behaviour, further confirming my belief
that many are labelled as delinquent when in fact
suffering from this treatable medical condition. They are not the product
of bad parenting or society's declining standards. They are ill.
The Government recognises the disorders and, I hope, is looking
at ways of improving knowledge and facilities, so that early diagnosis and
treatment can be provided
for those that need it.
We have an Internet website at http://www.adders.org
giving more information.
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