Vancouver’s Battle Against Adult ADHD Stigma

I was notified about an incident that occurred during a Vancouver City Park Board meeting which highlighted the continued misunderstanding and stigma which still remains about adult ADHD. Vancouver Park Board Commissioner Melissa DeGenova shamed and stigmatized Vancouver Park Board Commissioner Sarah Blyth, who is the first politician in Canada to go public with ADHD.

Asking a question about Vancouver paying for the cost of business coaching is of course acceptable, making someone with a medical condition feel ashamed for asking for assistance is not.

About a year ago Sarah Blyth asked park board staff for help as she would be chairing some upcoming contentious meetings. She was offered business coaching. At this park board meeting questions were asked with regard to expenses surrounding the ADHD coaching she received. Commissioner Jasper asked staff to bring to the board any related information; and added that chairing the park board is at times a difficult job, and that if a commissioner needed help that he thought the request was reasonable. He also stated that Sarah Blyth was open about being diagnosed with ADHD.

Following this discussion, Melissa DeGenova asked why the governing party would not elect someone capable of doing the job, and further stated that she had disabilities, too. Melissa has two diagnosed Learning Disabilities: dyslexia and written output disorder, and is on the City of Vancouver Disability Advisory Committee. Ms. Blyth and others reported that, as she was leaving the meeting, Commissioner DeGenova proceeded to follow her out the door asking why she was playing the, “Poor me, I have a disability card.”

To access Sarah Blyth’s description of the stigma she felt, please click on the following link or copy and paste it into your browser: https://www.facebook.com/notes/sarah-blyth/stigma/10152386409495210

To access Jamie Lee Hamilton’s account of the incident and request for an apology, please click on the following link or copy and paste it into your browser: https://www.facebook.com/jamie.hamilton.9480/posts/461977273945834

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