Children with ADHD often acts in ways that prove difficult even for their own parents to understand and manage. Studies show a general lack of understanding towards ADHD among parents and teachers alike, resulting in certain bias against these children. Subsequent maltreatment, such as scapegoating the kids, can undermine their long-term development.
Mainstream treatments involve medication and behavioural training to children with ADHD and their parents; the former induces side effects, while the latter is deficit-oriented and child-focused. While professionals and teachers lack cooperation among themselves, parents are not fully engaged in the treatment of their children, and often feel isolated by the society’s parent-blaming attitude. There is a need to promote strength-based and family-centred perspectives that focus on children’s developmental needs instead of pinpointing merely their behaviours.
From their three-year clinical research, the team has found that family-related factors play a crucial role in either hindering or facilitating development of children with ADHD. Using multiple family therapy (MFT), participating parents saw improved behaviour in their children, who are able to make friends easily in the programme. They view their children in a positive light and gain a stronger sense of parental competence.
At the strong request of parents to promote this successful approach as a part of mainstream services, the team is translating their research insights into animation videos, dissecting ADHD from a family perspective and introducing the merits of family-centred intervention. Parents and students with ADHD are involved in the production to share their experience and showcase their talents. The videos are then disseminated online, as well as via public talks and training workshops to teachers and helping professionals.
ADHD children participants would be empowered when given a voice in the animation to call for greater acceptance towards their condition. Families with similar concerns are connected for mutual support, while a broadened understanding of ADHD helps teachers and professionals feel for parents’ difficulties, thus better engaging them in supporting the children. Overall, the society’s understanding of the disorder may switch from deficit-oriented to strength-based and resilience-focused, inspiring service models with due consideration to the kid’s development and the family’s needs as a whole.
– 200 parents and children with ADHD
– 350 school teachers
– 100 helping professionals, e.g. school social workers, counsellors and teaching assistants
Joyce was elected the President of the International Family Therapy Association for her widely recognised work and expertise in family therapy and children with mental health needs. Her recent research focuses on eating disorders and ADHD. Besides teaching in CUHK, she is a Clinical Fellow and Approved Supervisor of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. Joyce once described that it was love at first sight since she first committed herself to social work. She received her PhD from HKU.
A dedicated child psychiatrist, Kelly has for many years pioneered service systems to provide better care for kids and their families. She shares with Joyce research interests in ADHD services and eating disorders. Kelly is also an Honorary Consultant for Against Child Abuse. She believes that healing relationships is the key to healing people. Kelly got her MBBS from Newcastle University.
Angela is a registered clinical psychologist and an Associate Fellow of the Hong Kong Psychological Society. Her clinical experiences are mostly in social services and education settings. She has substantial experience in counselling children with diverse needs and their families. Her research focuses on the social and emotional development of children and adolescents, assessment and intervention, and play therapy. Angela got her PhD in CUHK.