Sarah Smith is a single Mum from Walkden who has been flagging her 11-year-old son, Harvey, for ADHD since he was 2-years-old.
As a Mother, Sarah finds it hard when other people don’t understand her son, instead of people providing support they just label Harvey and suggest she goes to parenting courses. At school, teachers just say how her son is disruptive, and punish him by removing break times from him.
She said: “You get a lot of people saying it’s just bad parenting until they know about Harvey’s condition. Not only does it have the stigma, but people don’t understand how it changes your life as a parent and his life, as he thinks there’s something wrong with him.”
October marks ADHD Awareness Month, an organised effort working to end stigmas behind the condition and highlight the shared experiences within the ADHD community.
ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a condition that affects people’s behaviour. Individuals with the condition can be restless, may have trouble concentrating and may act on impulse. Around approximately 8% of the UK population has ADHD.
Sarah said: “There’s big stigma around ADHD, any other neurological problems people have a sympathy for, but people just tell me my son is just a naughty kid. I have been flagging Harvey’s behaviour since he was 2 years old, but I has only just now been diagnosed by healthcare professionals because his school did a healthcare plan for him.”
The disorder is one of the most common mental health conditions affecting children and adults, but it is often misunderstood. The NHS have been diagnosing people with ADHD since 2009.
“ADHD has so may marvellous qualities, I tell my son that it’s his superpower. Underneath his behaviour he is a very sensitive young person that has rubbish self-esteem.”
Sarah has tried to find support in Salford for herself and her son however all that is available to them currently is the support from other mums in online groups. She is trying to break the stigma by getting more help from school to give her son a smoother transition to high school.