October is ADHD Awareness Month. Not too long ago, ADHD Awareness Month was filled with awareness activities that fought the label of “made-up” diagnosis; experts would explain why ADHD was a real diagnosis. Luckily, for the most part, we have moved beyond believing ADHD is not a real diagnosis. Even so, myths, misconceptions and untruths about ADHD are still commonly circulated and believed. That’s why ADHD Awareness activities are still important. With millions of people in the United States and around the world living with ADHD, accurate information is essential.
How can you help? There are many ways you can work to raise awareness of ADHD this month. The following are five things you can do today.
Use social media to help spread awareness and information. Facebook and Twitter are good places to start. Follow people who routinely share information and forward tweets and posts to your followers. Some people to follow on Twitter include: @eileenmbailey, @TerryMatlen, @ADDitudeMag, @CHADD_ADHD,@ADHDSupport, @womenwithADHD, @LindaFox
Register to join the ADHD Awareness Expo. This is a free, virtual event where you can find information about ADHD including tips for managing ADHD in yourself and your children. Speakers include Dr. Ari Tuckman, Sari Solden, David Giwerc and many more experts. It is hosted by Tara McGillicuddy from October 25 until October 31, 2015.
Contact your child’s teachers. Send an email to your child’s teachers with some information about ADHD. Provide links to basic information, how ADHD can be addressed in the classroom and some of the common misconceptions about ADHD. Let the teachers know that you would be glad to supply additional information if needed.
Contact your local newspaper. When ADHD is in the news it is often a derogatory story. Why not suggest an upbeat story on ADHD - maybe success stories of local people with ADHD or interviews with local doctors who specialize in treating ADHD.
Pass on books about ADHD. Do you have books about ADHD lying around your house? Maybe you bought them when you or your child were first diagnosed and no longer need them. Donate the books to a local library, local schools or pass them on to people you know that have been recently diagnosed.
Join an ADHD advocacy group. Children and Adults with ADHD (CHADD) andAttention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) are the two largest advocacy organizations. Both work to provide information and resources to the general public.
About 11 percent of children between the ages of 4 and 17 years old have been diagnosed with ADHD [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - CDC]. While some people believe that ADHD is overdiagnosed, other experts believe that it is underdiagnosed. It can cause significant problems for students and many adults with ADHD have suffered through years of problems in their jobs, relationships and daily life before finding out they have ADHD. By spreading the word and helping others understand that ADHD is treatable, you can help others lead successful lives.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.