More than 8,000 people have signed a Harrogate campaigner’s petition calling on the Government to provide a detailed strategy supporting children and adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Diagnosed with ADHD this year at the age of 44, Michelle Beckett was among the 90 per cent of adults who are unaware that they have the condition, which is characterised by symptoms including inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
Hugely passionate about ensuring frontline services are trained to spot symptoms as early as possible, Michelle spontaneously stood up on stage at the Labour Party Conference and delivered a speech which led to her launching the parliamentary petition, a national ADHD Action charity, and a campaign for an All-Parliamentary Group.
In just one month, the campaign has attracted international interest, support from MPs, and backing from Harrogate residents. Among the local supporters is 27-year-old Matt Truscott, who was diagnosed with ADHD three years ago.
Like Michelle, Matt slipped through the diagnostic net as a child as he did not show some of the typical external signs of hyperactivity.
Matt said: “Making teachers and other frontline services more aware of all the symptoms is really important. Teachers are the first point of contact. They spend eight hours a day with you, they see you often more than your parents do. If anything they are the most important part of getting it diagnosed.”
Thriving in his job as a research and development engineer at Econ in Ripon, Matt said it is important to use the creative mind you have with ADHD to your advantage.
He said: “Having ADHD is a blessing, not a curse. It can give you so many unique and amazing abilities, and it’s really sad that a lot of people won’t experience it until later on in their lives or never, until they get diagnosed. And especially at a young age it is really easy to spot, so it’s amazing that this campaign is pushing for that integrated and structured framework approach which makes services more aware of the signs.”
Being given the ADHD diagnosis radically improved Matt’s life, and he is excited about Michelle’s idea to set up a recruitment company for people with ADHD to boost their self-esteem.
Matt said: “We have been given a gift whether you want it or not, it’s about knowing how to use it to your ability.
“We are creative people, we see things in a way that other people don’t. Society needs more people with these abilities. Employers should see that ADHD is not a burden, they are getting more for their money.
“Before the diagnosis, it was like having an inner turmoil. I was completely and utterly disorganised, and I was always late to stuff. Procrastination was the worst. But when I knew it was ADHD, my friends said I was like a different person. I felt like me for the first time in forever.”
Matt said the campaign will also play an essential part in stamping out misperceptions. He said: “People can see it as something only children can have, when it affects so many adults - that it’s down to bad parenting and that medication is really bad for children when it’s proven to help.”
To find out more about the ADHD Action charity and the parliamentary petition launched by Michelle, go to: www.adhdaction.org
Read the full story about Michelle's campaign here: http://www.harrogateadvertiser.co.uk/news/health/harrogate-campaigner-launches-national-adhd-charity-and-government-petition-1-8827915