You may have heard about ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and relate it to children that are hyperactive, disruptive and climbing the walls – but do you actually know what ADHD is and what it is like to have it?
ADHD or ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) as it is also known provides advantages and challenges to on average one in 20 New Zealanders. It is often most noticeable in young children effecting up to 5% and although up to a third of those will outgrow it, ADHD can persist into adulthood. There are many people in our community who live with ADHD in a variety of forms, and for every one person who is diagnosed there are a vast number who can be impacted whether it be their families, teachers, colleagues or friends. They all need help to understand, support and celebrate those travelling the ADHD journey.
People with ADHD have great advantages – but also can be very misunderstood, as their brains are uniquely structured and work differently. ADHD/ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is characterized by behavioural challenges that are caused by the blocking of common transmitters in the brain, including messages regarding everyday functions such as focus, organisation, impulse control, awareness of time, anxiety regulation and social skills. It is now clearly understood that an ADHD brain is different, and that it has developed or matured at a slower rate. Generally, most children with ADHD are three years behind their peers in many developmental areas. You can see why then, many student’s, and their teachers struggle with ADHD in school. With a lack of understanding of ADHD, problems in behaviour can be interpreted as naughty and the normal disciplinary measures do not usually work, creating a spiral of low self-esteem and anxiety in students, often resulting in very low achievement and negative social stigma at school. While children with ADHD experience difficulties, they may also be highly intelligent, resourceful, mathematically minded, and may have high levels of empathy and humour, and often the ability to achieve many accomplishments that supersede those of the average individual. They can often have enhanced creativity and / or an acute ability to calculate and analyse challenging problems. These often lead to having amazing careers in adulthood.
Due to the way their brains are wired, they often make great entrepreneurs and have a really unique ability to be able to view the bigger picture, see the problems and challenges currently presented, and unravel and redirect these issues, coming up with unique and successful solutions. As well as making great business leaders, inventors, sportspeople, scientists, public speakers (to name just a few), they also make great writers, artists, actors and other creative types.
There are many Famous ADHDer’s including Bill Gates, Robin Williams, Walt Disney, Da Vinci, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, John Lennon, Will Smith, Michael Phelps, Jim Carrey, Beethoven and Mozart.
In 2016, a couple of Pukekohe parents: Terese & Mike Marr, who were themselves navigating the ADHD parenting journey established the ADDventurers initiative under The Runway Foundation to support families and schools with the challenges of ADHD. Five years on, the not-for-profit ADDventurers initiative, provides specialised, small group Kids-Clubs for ADHD children, to support them with their development and social skills. Once graduated from ADDventurers Kids Club, the students enter the ADDventurers Youth Coach Programme where they are given individual and group mentoring support during their time at secondary school. The motto of ADDventurers is: ‘Belonging, Opportunity, Success’, and their mission is to provide a place where students with ADHD can be understood and celebrated. ADDventurers also provides support groups for the parents, where parents of ADHD children can share advice, knowledge, experience, friendship and fun with others who understand and care.
The Runway Foundation is a registered not-for-profit organisation who are here to support the vulnerable or those facing challenging circumstances in our Franklin region. One of their key current initiatives is ADHD Support through the ADDventurers programme.
The Runway Foundation relies on private funding, student sponsorship & donations to run their initiatives and are not Government funded. Based in Pukekohe they operate from ‘Runway House’ in Glasgow Road. Here they have a small team currently consisting of a Youth Worker, Kids Club Manager, CEO, Administrator, Volunteers, plus an independent Counsellor. This team (mostly made up of part-timers and volunteers), work together complimenting each other’s strengths, to provide services that help individuals and families who are struggling – either with challenging circumstances, or with their ADHD journey. They create a place where amazing children and youth who have ADHD, can walk with their heads held high, are accepted and can be themselves, while discovering and working towards their dreams – hence the name Runway (aiming to get them onto the runway and help them gain the momentum they need to fly).
People with ADHD give our world excitement, humour, beauty, new possibilities, solutions and out-of-the box thinking. For the sake of a much brighter world, we need to nurture our ADHD children and learn how to coach them well into their individual success.
If anyone would like to know more, subscribe, offer a donation or to sponsor a child / youth on their ADDventurers ADHD programmes, please contact the foundation through their website: www.therunwayfoundation.org. You can also support them through their Give-A-Little page: https://givealittle.co.nz/org/therunwayfoundation