Every 20th of February, as declared by the United Nations, the world observes a day of recognition for the need of more social justice. This year’s theme is: “Closing the Inequalities Gap to Achieve Social Justice”. The UN states that “We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.”
While ADHD is not what most would think of as our biggest issue when you consider the injustices and inequities in the world these days, it is a cause close to my heart and that of families and individuals who struggle with the consequences of this disorder on a daily basis.
We are still dealing with four major areas of inequity for those with ADHD: health, education, employment and justice and corrections. Of course, the over riding issue that continues to fuel these inequities is the lack of recognition that ADHD is a real and potentially serious mental health condition. Recent research has also shown that ADHD is also a major health risk with long-term consequences.
Here is a list of the key issues with links to CADDAC’s papers outlining these issues and our asks of government.
Lack of comprehensive access to long acting ADHD medications across Canada
Lack of assess to assessment, diagnosis and comprehensive effective psychosocial treatments
ADHD not recognized as a serious health concern even though it reduces healthy and whole life expectancy up to 22 years
Students with ADHD are unable to access support for their ADHD impairments due to certain provincial special education policies and lack of educator training
Lack of access to post-secondary accommodations
Since this paper’s release in 2015 we have seen significant improvement in post-secondary students’ ability to access accommodations through a report from their treating physician without psychoeducation testing.
ADHD is a disability and as such can impair functioning in the workplace, however few receive accommodations in the workplace. Guidelines for screening of ADHD, or knowledge within the employment and social assistance services, do not exist.
Justice and Corrections
Incident rate of ADHD seen in the correctional population is five times that of adults in the general population and ten times greater for youth; Canadian prevalence rates of ADHD in the corrections population is 33%. Building awareness of ADHD and implementing screening and assessment procedures within the justice system would increase the chances that those with ADHD could be flagged and receive appropriate treatment. Newer ADHD treatments that significantly decrease the potential of diversion and abuse should be accessible to those with ADHD.
Tell us what social justice means to you as someone living with ADHD or caring for someone who does at adhdspeaks.ca