‘A weight off my shoulders” is how Monaghan-based artist and fashion designer Helen Steele describes the day six years ago when she was diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Today is ADHD Awareness Day, which aims to highlight the positive aspects of the condition and its link with creativity and sport. ADHD is a genetic condition that is caused by a balance of chemicals in the brain that is different to that of the average person. It affects an estimated 60,000 children in Ireland, with the majority diagnosed between the ages of five and seven.
This misunderstood psychiatric condition leads people to assume that a child’s hyperactive and erratic behaviour is down to bad parenting.
Research by HADD, the Irish support group for people living with ADHD, found that more than six in 10 parents of children with the condition feel it isn’t properly recognised by society. Some eight in 10 parents of children with ADHD feel judged by other parents.
But Steele is “quite proud to wear the ADHD label”.