Zoe is the founder of ADHD Connections, an organisation which provides training and support to schools, families and other organisations. She’s also an NCMH Research Champion, helping to spread the word about our research. This is her story:
My name is Zoe, I’m 35 years old and I live in Bridgend with my husband and three children. My involvement with NCMH has been ongoing since 2012 when my middle child Dylan was diagnosed with ADHD.
At the time my husband and I were devastated but nothing could prepare us for what was to come; a lack of understanding, lack of support, criticism and a great deal of stigma all seemed to come hand in hand when being associated with ADHD.
In May 2012, I set up a Facebook page for families and individuals affected by ADHD in the Bridgend area. We wanted to provide these individuals with a safe place to talk, without judgement or embarrassment.
It quickly became apparent as members to our page increased, that we needed to provide a more substantial service. Seeing first-hand the numbers of families in the area who were affected, like us, and who were struggling on a daily basis was enough for us to work at creating a wider network of support. ADHD Connections was born.
Since 2013 we obtained charity status and have now expanded into the Rhondda Cynon Taf area, providing 330 families with advice, parenting programmes and social interaction opportunities they may not otherwise have.
Being engaged with research is one of the most important aspects of my work with ADHD Connections. I aim to learn as much as I can about ADHD; from diagnosis to treatments, right through to the widespread social implications of the condition.
I have spent the last few years attending seminars and taking part in genetic studies in Cardiff with Professor Anita Thapar, all of which were provided by NCMH.
The genetic testing in particular has become a massive talking point within the charity. All new families contacting us are given all the information on the amazing work that NCMH is doing and what it has already achieved. I strongly believe that this work will help change the common misconception of ADHD being an excuse for bad behaviour, rather than the complex condition that it is.