Progress in education and health supports for children with ADHD / HKD – Hanafin
Ms. Mary Hanafin T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children today (Saturday, 26th May, 2001) opened a conference on ADHD / HKD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder / Hyperkinetic Disorder) organised by INCADDS, the Irish National Council of ADHD Support Groups, in Moran´s Red Cow Hotel, Dublin.
The Minister spoke of the significant progress that has been made in recent years to improve the services for children and adolescents suffering from ADHD / HKD. This year, £3.225 million has been provided towards the development of a comprehensive child and adolescent psychiatric service.
“The evaluation and management of the treatments used for ADHD / HKD requires input and co-operation from the patient, the parents and the school,” said the Minister. “Considerable care and expertise are essential in assessing children’s emotional and/or behavioural disorders in order to ensure a correct diagnosis and put into effect an appropriate therapeutic intervention,” the Minister stated.
Minister Hanafin reported on the range of educational provisions currently available in Ireland to students with ADHD/HKD. These include supported mainstream schools, special education and initiatives designed to support schools serving designated areas of educational disadvantage. She noted that pupils with ADHD-HKD, who have low levels of achievement in reading or maths, can avail of supplementary teaching from a learning support teacher. She also welcomed the fact that there are now 1,480 such teachers in the primary school system.
Minister Hanafin emphasised that the ability of teachers in identifying ADHD / HKD and other learning disabilities is extremely important for the long term welfare of the child.
“I believe that the development of the National School Psychological Service will play a major role in supporting these children. There are approximately 70 educational psychologists working within the education system at present, and this figure is expected to rise to 200 by 2004, by which time it should be able to provide a service to all schools,” the Minister said.
“Given the considerable developments which have taken place in recent years and those currently underway in both the health and education sectors, services for children and adolescents suffering with ADHD / HKD will greatly improve in the years ahead,” concluded Minister Hanafin.