Time is now to address ADD/ADHD needs

I recently read the 11 April, 2006, issue of the Caymanian Compass and what caught my attention was the article, Education system changes needed.

The Minister for Education Mr. Alden McLaughlin was quoted as saying: ‘The number of children in our school with ADD or ADHD is absolutely outstanding. We do not have the facilities in Cayman to deal with all of these children.’

What puzzled and concerned me was that he did not mention what was planned, if anything, to help deal with the situation.

Will one of the four school proposed be a facility specializing in children with ADD/ADHD?
I totally agree with him that the number of children is astounding and that we do not have the facilities to deal with these children. I personally believe that by there not being the resources for these children they are labelled and considered bad children and are just going through the system.

‘We do not have the resources to deal with these children’ are words that I’ve heard for such a long time, being the parent of a child who has ADHD and who is in the final year at George Hicks. It scares me so much just thinking of sending my child to John Gray in September, but because I cannot afford to send my child anywhere else, I may be stuck with John Gray and everything will start all over again.

I don’t know how many more hours or days I can miss from work to deal with issues concerning my child who has recently been through a change of medication for ADHD.

Another service I needed for my child a few years back was to have a language assessment done. I know that nature got in the way in 2004 with Hurricane Ivan, but even since then I have tried to find someone to do this but was told that Government is focusing on primary school aged children. I recently found out that a private company offers this service, but it would cost quite a sum, which sadly I still cannot afford.

Hats off for the mention of discussing the plan of increasing the number of reading specialists.

This issue is very serious and needs more mention of just an acknowledgement that we do not have the facilities. A solution to this problem is long overdue. Not everyone is lucky to get a grant from the United States that specializes in children with ADD/ADHD. If we don’t address the problem now, I’m afraid these Islands will suffer substantially because such problems as these with our youth are not being addressed in the manner they should be. If we do not have the resources now, when will we ever have them?

L. Morrison

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