“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margret Mead
What a fitting quote to start today’s blog post on ADHD advocacy, below we have included a link for a fantastic article from Dr. Kenny on ADHD Advocacy.
We are very grateful to Dr. Kenny Handelman for addressing the issue of ADHD advocacy this week in his newsletter. Although individual and systemic advocacy may be one of CADDAC’s most important roles it is very difficult to engage people in these efforts. To a parent, spouse or friend, etc. individual advocacy for their loved one, although possibly intimidating in the beginning, is a natural instinct. Carrying the message to the next step of systemic advocacy can be too intimidating for most. Dr. Kenny is right when he says that you must start with your own story, but openly talking about your family’s weaknesses and struggles, often not very pretty, can make you feel very vulnerable. Even more stressful can be the fear of exposing your child to criticism or bullying.
Dr. Kenny is also right about the misinformation, misunderstanding and stigma that continues around ADHD. This will only decrease when people begin to openly challenge these myths and provide the “right” up-to-date, medical information to take the place of misinformation.
Speaking to your child’s teacher, coach, a relative or friend about ADHD and giving them the facts is a fabulous first step. Your are educating and decreasing stigma one person at a time and hopefully that one person will go on to share the information with others. However, the next step to systemic advocacy can be even more important. When we at CADDAC meet with elected politicians or government administrators our first major hurdle is convincing these decision makers that ADHD is an important issue for their constituents. We hear the same statement time after time, our constituents do not talk to us about this issue, so why should we be interested.
If as research tells us, at least 5% of the population has ADHD, and only their parents and close extended family contacted their elected officials about this issue, politicians would begin to take notice. If medical health care providers, educators, coaches etc. also let their voices be heard ADHD might be in the news as often as autism.
If you have an interest in ADHD, CADDAC and other Canadian ADHD support organizations need your help! Advocacy efforts cannot succeed unless the voices of those like you are heard.
Last year for 2013 ADHD Awareness week a web site was developed for the purpose of growing awareness and advocacy efforts. A host of information and easy to use tools have been created to assist you in writing letters, and possibly meeting with your elected officials.
Please access http://adhdawarenessweek.ca/
Executive Director CADDAC