New group starting in Valley for parents of children with ADHD

Published on February 6, 2017

John Lohr

©John DeCoste - kingscountynews.ca

PORT WILLIAMS - Parents of children with ADHD often have to be full-time advocates for their children, because resources and supports for them are sometimes scarce.

One such mom in Kings County wants to change that in her community, and form an ADHD support network from the ground up.

Seana Collins had her son assessed for and diagnosed with ADHD - a neurological disorder that affects a person’s executive functioning centre of the brain - when he was six years old. In the intervening six years, she’s had to learn to adjust many aspects of her life to help him navigate the world around him a little bit easier.

“You have to stick to a routine, and you have to have the same steps every morning. We have checklists all over the house,” says Collins.

“You have to teach yourself patience if you have a child with ADHD.”

Luckily for Collins, there was local support in the form of a specialist who helped parents and children cope with ADHD when her son was diagnosed, but funding for that program soon dried up, and resources in the community since have been scant at best. 

“You become your child’s full-time advocate,” says Collins. “I would rather just be his mother.”

Collins has been able to pay a child psychologist to help her son, but she sees a great disparity in the county for parents of children with ADHD who are less fortunate than her, and are unable to access the support they need.

“Therefore, they get no support, and their children get no support,” says Collins, who wants to see an “equity of care” made available in the Valley. 

She has been trying to organize a support group of some kind for the last few years on her own, to no avail. 

“There has to be a plan that provides the same level of support for people across social strata and level of education. There has to be a way to provide it across our county where all people can take advantage of it.”

Now, with the help of Kings North MLA John Lohr, she might be within reach of providing that equity of care to her community.

Lohr became involved when he realized he was often plugging ADHD support networks out of Dartmouth, such as the Excalibur ADHD Association, and wanted to start adding some local groups as well.

“I started looking for the Valley ADHD support groups, and just couldn’t find one,” says Lohr.

Lohr was put in contact with Collins, and also reached out to Maya Warnock of Excalibur, and they were able to put together an ADHD info session for Feb. 7.

Warnock will be there to talk about ADHD to local parents, but if there’s enough interest from the community, she’ll also be willing to provide resources to help set up a Kings County chapter.

“We will need people to step forward and take roles on in that, if it’s going to happen,” says Lohr. “I think there’s enough interest - it’s just a matter of somebody saying, ‘OK, let’s make this work.’”

Collins says parents can’t rely on politicians or an overwhelmed healthcare system to provide this network for the community.

“I’m hoping that lots of people come out,” she says. “It has to be built from the ground up in the community if it’s going to work and if it’s going to be sustainable.”

If you go: The first meeting will be held at the Louis Millet Centre in New Minas Feb. 7 at 7 p.m.