Beyond the Maze founder and ADHD coach Paula Burgess with her son Jesse.
Beyond the Maze founder and ADHD coach Paula Burgess with her son Jesse.

Parents learn how to cope with ADHD

ANYONE wanting to find out more about ADHD is invited to a Murwillumbah support group meeting on Friday, July 21.

Guest speaker will be Brisbane-based Paula Burgess, a qualified ADHD coach, author and founder of Beyond the Maze, an organisation dedicated to supporting families living with the condition.

Ms Burgess's son, eight-year-old Jesse, lives with ADHD, and it's estimated one in seven children in Australia have the condition.

According to Ms Burgess, the hardest thing about coping with a child with ADHD is "school”.

"These children don't fit the mould of typical schooling and teachers don't have the support to be able to teach them effectively, therefore you are constantly having to advocate for them to make sure they don't fall through the cracks,” she said.

"I don't think children who are living with autism should be separated from their peers as that simply gives neurotypical children a reason to make them feel even more different than they are.

"I think the true answer here is for teachers to just have more support and education on how to include these children in the best way they possibly can.

"With so many different learning styles across all sorts of children, not just ASD or ADHD children, teachers simply do not get the support they need to ensure they can educate effectively.

"Another thing I find difficult is people who have an uneducated opinion and judge parents of children living with ADHD as just being bad parents.”

To improve her family situation, Ms Burgess has learned to accept her child has a different way of thinking and tries to understand ways to help the family through their day-to-day life.

"There is support available for parents of children living with ADHD and they are able to do this,” she said.

"If they support their children and learn as much as possible about how to work with them, rather than fight against them, then we are raising some pretty amazing children.”

While there is support for children with ADHD, there's not enough, Ms Burgess says.

"There is very little support for parents of children living with ADHD and, in addition, it is not funded in schools so parents have to constantly advocate for their children,” she said.

"This is exactly why I do what I do, so parents know there is support available to them.”

At the ADHD Support Group meeting in Murwillumbah, parents will learn how to use coaching strategies to understand what their child needs, and to help the child achieve.

"If you live with ADHD yourself, the strategies you will learn will help you excel in your day-to-day life,” Ms Burgess said.

Support group founder Natalie Dreha said she created the group after her daughter, now 12, was diagnosed with ADHD.

Ms Dreha said the group, which met monthly at the Murwillumbah Community Centre from 10am to midday, had free entry.

"It's a place where carers of kids with ADHD and oppositionist defiant disorder (ODD) and anxiety disorders can come to either share their story, listen to ideas and learn from each other,” she said.

"As parents you just feel very isolated. We have to trust our instincts and follow up with the GP, be our own child's advocate and learn as much as you can about ADHD.”

Some indicators of autism are an inability to pay attention, moving rapidly from one activity to another, being in trouble at school and struggling to make friends.

Ms Dreha said adults with ADHD were often thriving, doing teaching degrees and excelling at university.

For more information contact 0427 778 667.

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