CEO of ADHD Foundation calls for radical re-evaluation of the condition

Dr Tony Lloyd, CEO Liverpool-based ADHD Foundation, has called for an end to the stigmatisation of people living with ADHD, after hackers revealed US gold medal winning gymnast, Simone Biles, took medication for the condition.

Biles, who won four golds in Rio, has defended herself, after leaked documents showed the athlete took methylphenidate, better known as Ritalin, in August this year. Biles, who has the backing of the USA gymnastics governing body, says the drug does not give her an unfair advantage. Therapeutic Use Exemptions allow individuals to take banned substances if required for specific medical needs.

Dr Tony Lloyd, applauded Simone Biles’ response, and called for a radical re-evaluation of ADHD. He commented:

“It is time we challenge and drop the continued stigmatisation of people living with ADHD.

“This sends out a very clear and positive message that recognises the very fact that a lot of people with neurodevelopmental conditions are successful individuals, dispelling the myth that anyone with ADHD is an under-achiever with behavioural difficulties.

“Having ADHD does not mean you can’t achieve in your chosen field. In fact, there are some very high-profile high-tech companies in California who actively recruit people with neurodevelopmental conditions such as ADHD and Asperger syndrome because they recognise the unique skills these people bring to the workforce. There are people with ADHD in every profession and many successful leaders, executives, athletes, psychiatrists, paediatricians, entrepreneurs, barristers, you name it, are testimony that challenges the stereotyping and stigma that were all too common in the past.

“Simone Biles demonstrates that with the right support in place, people with ADHD can achieve and fulfill their potential.”

Dr Lloyd called on government ministers in both health and education to work together to enable children with learning difficulties, including ADHD, to achieve their full potential in the classroom from a young age, including early intervention. This would include supporting and training parents to enable their child to learn how to live and learn successfully with ADHD through school-based parents training programmes.

He added:

“We want ministers from both health and education to ensure greater collaboration between schools and health providers so that young people with mental health difficulties are identified within the first year of school and have access to the NICE guidelines multi-modal services.

“Without this commitment, many very gifted and able children with additional needs and learning difficulties will have their educational prospects hindered. The UK cannot be a meritocracy until we recognise the gifts and talents of all children – and use diagnostic labels as an excuse for underachievement.”

The ADHD Foundation annual conference takes place in Liverpool on October 13 and 14, 2016, hosting internationally renowned experts in the field of mental health, Autism and ADHD.

The largest event of its kind in Europe, this year’s conference will welcome over 800 delegates from Italy, France, Sweden, Ireland, Spain and the UK – the biggest attendance in its four year history. Taking place across two days, the conference will explore new ideas, approaches and best practice in health, social care and education for children, young people and adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and other neurodevelopmental conditions.

To book your place, or for more information about ADHD Foundation, visit or call 0151 237 2661.

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