Moving Forward with ADHD Every Day
As the end of ADHD Awareness Month gets closer, we reflect on the many ways we have moved awareness forward. Our messages about ADHD as a health concern and manageable condition reach more people every year.
Raising awareness isn’t confined to just one month, though. The journey goes on all year because ADHD is a lifelong condition that affects all areas of life for millions of children and adults in the United States.
Why do we raise awareness?
ADHD Awareness Month is coordinated by CHADD, ADHD Coaches Organization (ACO) and the Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA). These organizations also host the Annual International Conference on ADHD. Working together through the coalition and the conference, they strive to empower individuals and their families to have successful and fulfilling lives while managing ADHD.
“We’re working to raise awareness about the importance of early diagnosis and treatment to make life better for the members of the ADHD community,” says Karen Sampson Hoffman, CHADD’s director of marketing and representative to the ADHD Awareness Coalition. “Without ADHD awareness, many children and adults will continue to struggle.” The lifespan condition affects about ten percent of children and five to seven percent of adults.
“ADHD awareness is something we need to have happen all year round,” says Roxanne Fouche, the director of the coalition. “ADHD doesn’t go away. It’s a 24/7 sort of thing. We need to be aware of it at all times.”
Neil Peterson, editor of ADaptHD and the former writer of the PsychCentral column ADHD Millennial, also reflects on why continued awareness efforts are so necessary.
“Spreading ADHD awareness increases the chance that people will make the connection between the problems in their lives and ADHD, which makes it more likely that they’ll seek treatment,” he says. “Spreading ADHD awareness lowers the odds that people with ADHD will be misdiagnosed by breaking down stereotypes about the disorder that persist even among some medical professionals. And spreading ADHD awareness reminds us as a society that making sure people have access to mental health treatment is a worthwhile use of our money. Personally, if there’s one fact I’d really like to get out there for ADHD Awareness Month, though, it’s that ADHD has real, long-term consequences in people’s lives.”
CHADD, ACO, and ADDA strive to provide the ADHD community and the public with reliable, evidence-based information about ADHD, treatment, and lifestyle management. Through its National Resource Center, CHADD provides information for adults and parents on how to help themselves and their families. CHADD’s local affiliate groups provide adults and family members with support and connection.
“We have the evidence-based information for ADHD,” says Patricia M. Hudak, PCC, BCC, president of CHADD’s board of directors. “It’s reliable, it’s credible. The ADHD professionals involved with CHADD are the best of the best in the world of ADHD. As home to the CDC-funded National Resource Center, CHADD has the experts to review the science and provide easy-to-understand descriptions for parents, adults, teachers, and other caregivers.
Moving forward with ADHD
As we move forward from ADHD Awareness Month, CHADD CEO Laurie Kulikosky, CAE, says she hopes the community takes away feelings of empowerment from this month. She added that she hopes the greater public develops a deeper understanding and appreciation of their friends and family members who have ADHD.
“I’d like to see a better understanding of how we can help and support each other regarding ADHD come from this awareness month,” Kulikosky says. “Everyone in the ADHD community has gifts and talents. We’re seeing those talents displayed beautifully through the ADHD awareness art and personal stories that have been shared all month.”
“I want people to feel empowered by ADHD Awareness Month to seek the treatment and support they need,” says Hudak. “I also want the public to understand that someone affected by ADHD might need support, but once they have it, they can achieve anything. Together we can improve people’s lives, and together we will make a difference for those in the ADHD community.”
What you can do
- Print out the NRC fact sheets on ADHD and share them with your friends and community.
- Get tips and resources on how you can increase awareness about ADHD.
- Host an event promoting ADHD Awareness Month or local resources for ADHD and mental health.
- Use your social media—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms—to share information about ADHD. You can find useful information on CHADD’s Facebook page and on the ADHD Awareness Month Facebook page, and also on their other social media channels.
- Speak out when you have the opportunity, whether in conversations among family and friends or by contacting your local news media, school districts, or elected officials. Let them know what it is like to live with ADHD and refer them to evidence-based information they can use. Help to set the record straight in your own way every day.
- Consider attending the 2023 Annual International Conference on ADHD, either in Baltimore, Maryland, November 30-December 2, or online December 5-6. Learn more about the conference and register at TheADHDConference.org.