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(Ireland) "ADHD Ireland" calls for acceptance/services for "neurodivergence"

Aug 11, 2022, Irish Examiner: ADHD Ireland moves Leeside with pop-up events available as it seeks new premises
Amid a huge increase in awareness and knowledge, and a shift to establishing further acceptance and accommodation in wider society, the conversation around neurodivergence including autism, ADHD, dyslexia and dyspraxia will inevitably grow louder as diagnoses continue across the age spectrum, along with demand on services and assistance.

One organisation putting together a bottom line of support on a non-profit basis is ADHD Ireland, involved in creating awareness, spreading information, providing support groups and training, as well as accrediting public institutions like primary schools for ADHD-friendliness. The group’s Cork Services Development Manager, Martin Finn — whose own ADHD presents as inattentive — talks about their work.

“The mission statement is to support people affected by ADHD, and that's all the demographics, from young children to the elderly. We create awareness by providing information on the website, and directly to schools, businesses and individuals. Every possible avenue, really to get the word out there, is what we do.

“But awareness simply isn't enough anymore. People can be aware, but there's the stigma there, if we can get to acceptance, then that's the ultimate goal. We run support meetings online and in person, for ADHD adults, parents of primary school children, parents of secondary school children, for men, separately, for women, for couples... there's so many different angles that you can take with it.

“We have a school accreditation program, which we're rolling out at the moment in Cork, the idea being that the right information is given to principals, teachers, and SNAs, so that they can identify the issue in school, identify someone who might have it and put the supports in place and get them on the road to diagnosis.

“There's also regular campaigns for getting the word out to employers, so that ADHD people in the workplace can have the accommodations they need, because it falls under the Disability Act 2010.” …

Following the success of a trial in-person support group for primary school parents at the Clayton Hotel in Cork, the organisation is currently seeking Leeside premises to facilitate local advocacy and support — and there’s plenty of call for it, says Finn.

“That event was a real eye-opener because of the relief and joy that parents expressed, so happy that there was an independent voice, an independent service able to provide the services that have always been in Dublin for a long time. With open arms, we're being embraced here, anyway.

“The second I put up a Cork Facebook page, I had teachers from all over wanting information and trying to sign up for the school accreditation programme. People want the service, which is a big help.”

People at an ADHD Ireland outdoor event in Fitzgerald's Park recently


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