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Children at risk from ADHD diagnosis delays, experts warn

From BBC - November 2, 2017

Slow, complicated delays in diagnosing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are putting UK children at risk, a report has found.

According to those surveyed, nearly a third of children waited two or more years to be diagnosed with ADHD.

Most felt it was not recognised as a real condition by the GPs, school staff and specialists they encountered.

The ADHD Foundation called for urgent change, saying the current system "fails thousands of children".

ADHD is the most common behavioural disorder in children - affecting 3-5%, or one child in every classroom.

Those who have the condition are often easily distracted or forgetful. They find it hard to concentrate and sit still, and may blurt things out rather than wait their turn.

The ADHD Foundation's chief executive, Tony Lloyd, said: "Ignoring ADHD is a potential time bomb for these children, placing them at risk of severe problems that may well burden them for their entire lives."

He was one of a number of experts that advised the A Lifetime Lost, or A Lifetime Saved report, which surveyed 32 adults and the parents or guardians of 72 children diagnosed with the disorder across the UK.

'Enormous amount of energy'

Charlotte Dowson was about seven years-old when her mother, Jane, noticed she was "slightly different to her peers".

"She was taking a little longer to reach normal developmental milestones", such as holding a pen and doing up her shoelaces.She was constantly in trouble and often "away with the fairies".

Jane said: "She just seemed like she had an enormous amount of energy."

She approached the school, but Charlotte's teachers did not recognise there was a problem. They thought Charlotte was just "annoying" and would interrupt a lot.

A year or so later they went to a GP, who told Jane to keep an eye on it.

"I had been, for two years," she said.

'On another planet'

Charlotte was later referred to an occupational therapist for hypermobility in the hands.

When she was there for a test, the specialist realised something else might be going on.

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