‘Debating Mental Health Partnership with ADHD Richmond at the ADHD Foundation National Conference’
Young people living with ADHD often feel misunderstood, as they may struggle to conform to social expectations and to understand their behaviour and differences. They are also likely to have a variety of strengths and positive attributes that may be overlooked, as they are unconventional. For young women with ADHD this is likely to be more pronounced and yet, more hidden than in their male peers, due to differences in how the condition presents and how the different genders respond to and manage it. Young women from ADHD Richmondwho were diagnosed with ADHD later in their lives wanted to change this experience, challenge stereotypes and raise awareness about ADHD in girls.
ADHD Richmond received funding and supported a group of four young women to make a video for schools about their experiences of living with ADHD, seeking a diagnosis, understanding their behaviours and learning to thrive. The video is used locally within the London Borough of Richmond as an educational tool and has been received extremely well by practitioners in the area.
As a result of this reception, the girls were invited to present their video in plenary sessions at this year’s ADHD Foundation National Conference in Liverpool. Faced with the prospect of presenting in a large conference venue to hundreds of delegates, the ADHD Foundation (with whom we have a strong, existing partnership) asked us to deliver our debate training to the young women, to help them prepare for this speaking engagement.
On a particularly hot day in August, we came together for a day of games, activities and public speaking practise. Laura Wallis (Founder and Director of Debating Mental Health) worked with the young women in a group and individually, supporting them all to build on their individual strengths and to develop as confident speakers.
After the training, we travelled to Liverpool for the conference on the 4th and 5th October. The event was sold out and packed with parents, professionals and other young people, eager to learn more about ADHD and how to best support young people living with it.
The young women introduced their video by talking about their own experiences and what had led them to wanting to create it. They then showed the video, which visibly moved the audience and made them reflect on their own experiences as teachers, parents and professionals interacting with young women with ADHD.
The young women presented with confidence, clarity and personality and we are extremely proud of what they have achieved.