Parents of ADHD children to be offered training

jumping boy About 365,000 children in the UK are thought to have ADHD

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Parents of children in Scotland who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) could soon be offered special parenting classes.

The NHS in Scotland has issued recent guidelines for treating the condition which includes a recommendation that parents receive "behavioural training".

Doctors have said the guidance should not be viewed as an attempt to blame parents for their child's behaviour.

An estimated 5% of school age children in the UK are thought to have ADHD.

Specialist Gordon Brown, who already runs parenting classes, said: "If parents understand ADHD better, they'll be in a better position to help their children with the symptoms and also help their children with their development.

"We're very keen to stress it's not a 'parenting programme', we're not inviting you to learn how to become a better parent, we're inviting you to learn more about ADHD so that the parenting skills you already have are more effective."

The parental training has been recommended by the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network, or SIGN - an organisation set up to examine the evidence for treatments and decide which should be provided by the NHS.

Val Turnbull's son, Andrew, was diagnosed with ADHD and Asperger's Syndrome about five years ago.

When she was offered the opportunity to go to parenting classes, she said she jumped at the chance.

'Expert training'

Mrs Turnbull explained: "I was very happy to go.

"We looked at individual behaviours and triggers; where we can make a situation better or defuse a situation. It was very positive."

She said the course reassured her that her son's behaviour wasn't her fault, and gave her coping mechanisms.

"To be able to manage ADHD with the best control that you can, in the calmest environment that you can, can only be beneficial for you and the child," she added.

The recommendations will be highlighted on Wednesday at a specially convened conference at the University of Stirling.

Although Mrs Turnbull welcomes the guidelines, she feels more needs to be done to get schools on board.

Some of Andrew's teachers refuse to acknowledge he has ADHD despite the fact it has been clinically diagnosed.

"Expert training should be compulsory for teachers and educationalists.

"I've gone in with the diagnosis and the recommendations from the NHS, expecting help for my child and that help hasn't been forthcoming...and I have seen him struggling," said Mrs Turnbull.

Parent training for ADHD is also recommended in other parts of the UK by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), although is not always offered.

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