Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Welcome to My Blog!

Welcome to my blog. As the CEO of CHADD I am constantly looking for ways to deliver information to the general public, and a blog is an effective way to do so!

I am the father of a 16 year-old son with the inattentive form of AD/HD. Andrew has a variety of co-occurring health and learning challenges. Even though I am blessed with a wonderful family, church, community, and access to professional resources paid for by health insurance, our journey has been one of frustration. I wish you success as you work for your own wellbeing or that of a family member.

We launched the new CHADD Web site last June, and continue to post information. I probably don’t have to tell you that the demands of technology can exceed the capacity of individuals to meet those demands! So, if there is a section that doesn’t have the information you’re looking for, please know that the CHADD staff are working diligently to post relevant information for you in a timely manner.

Last year our National Resource Center on AD/HD responded to 13,800 individual requests for assistance from 10,600 distinct people. We average 137,514 unique visitors a month to our web sites. 844 of these unique users a month speak Spanish as their primary language. We apologize for delays in responding to you, but there is a tremendous need for information and assistance and we do our best to respond.

We’re working on plans to celebrate CHADD’s 20th Anniversary this year. The celebration will last the entire year with the big event being our Annual International Conference, which will be held in Washington, D.C., November 7-10. The conference brings people affected by the disorder together with professionals and leading researchers in the field for several days of education and empowerment. Usually, a few hundred attendees are from outside the United States. It’s a great way to make people feel connected while raising awareness about the disorder.

Speaking of raising awareness… we’ve been making every effort to reach state legislators with information about AD/HD. We recently held receptions in Utah and Georgia, where we brought people affected by the disorder together with their public policymakers. In the last couple of years state policymakers have considered legislation that could impede vital communication between teachers and parents about a child’s learning and social challenges in the school setting. From personal experience, I know that teacher-parent communication about a child’s special needs is already a tremendous problem. What we don’t need is anti-psychiatry motivated obstacles to communication. CHADD, as a family-based organization, is an advocate of informed consent when schools recommend assessments and treatments, but teachers and parents must be able to talk about a child’s struggles. We plan to continue this important work in the coming year. Read more about our policy work.

The February issue of ATTENTION!® magazine is in the mail to members. For the first time we’re making our cover stories available to the public for free. The stories are about two parents sharing their experiences of “Struggle and Success,” raising children with AD/HD. If you’re not a member, the stories will provide you with a sneak peak at one of our member benefits. We are constantly struggling with how to make information and resources available to the public, while maintaining our focus as a family and consumer membership organization. To build a social movement to assist all persons with AD/HD and related disorders, we need paid memberships and donations from the public.

CHADD is about sharing the published peer-reviewed science of AD/HD, providing support for individuals where they live, and sharing the lived experience with others to provide better assistance. We are slowly building support for our community-based chapters but we are frustrated that resources are lacking in this area. We know that most people impacted by health and disability want science-based information and face-to-face support where they live.

Until my next posting, as those of us of Scottish ancestry say, “As aye.”