SINCE the Phoenix ADHD Project was set up five years ago it has worked with 206 people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Based at Ballycastle Road in Coleraine the Project is currently working with 75 young people, some of whom are attending after-school and evening programmes and others participating in the Youth Mentoring Programme.
Although public awareness of ADHD has increased there are still many misconceptions surrounding this disability.
Comments such as “they are just badly brought up” and “completely uncontrollable” are frequently heard when discussing young people with ADHD.
Phoenix ADHD Project (previously Causeway ADHD Support Group) has now been in existence for ten years helping young people and disseminating information about the condition.
During ADHD Awareness Week the Project says that: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD is one of the most common neuro-behavioural childhood disorders - affecting about 5% of the population It comes under a group of specific problems referred to as ‘hidden learning disabilities’ as these young people look normal and are therefore expected to display ‘normal behaviours’
The defining behaviours involve a persistent pattern of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.
Boys are three times more likely than girls to have ADHD: however it is believed that many girls go undiagnosed as their symptoms often present differently There is no cure - young people do not grow out of ADHD but with support they learn to manage it and therefore early diagnosis and intervention is important Phoenix ADHD Project is currently funded by Big Lottery and BBC Children In Need and offers a range of tailored programmes to support young people who have being diagnosed with ADHD, or those who are being assessed for ADHD.
A spokerson said: “We also wish to thank the following organisations who have provided us with small grants: - TBF & KL Thompson Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, Community Foundation NI, Bombardier and the NEELB Youth Service.
“Programmes offered by the Project are designed to build self-esteem and confidence, develop social skills and provide a safe environment where the young people can have fun.”
Among the programmes offered by Phoenix are: Why Try/Social Skills; Personal Development; Transition Club; Elements (Forest School); Club Phoenix; Phoenix Youths and Youth Mentoring.
The Project also works in partnership with the families and carers of young people with ADHD and their schools offering Parenting ADHD Sessions, teacher training on ADHD awareness, home and school support and a drop in advice and information service.
By working with the young people the Project has seen improved self esteem, better performances at school, improved confidence and social skills and better family relationships.
The spokesperson added: “The main message we are keen to get across to parents and those who work with young people is the need to identify the symptoms of ADHD as early as possible.
“If you have concerns with regards to a young person then speak to their parent or carer and arrange for the young person to attend their GP or speak to their school.”
More information on Phoenix can be found at www.phoenixadhdproject.org or call into 1 Ballycastle Road, Coleraine, or call 028 7000 2050.