CADDAC Policy Papers
Girls and Women with ADHD: our missed forgotten and most vulnerable
When most people hear the term Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, they usually picture young overly active boys, who have difficulty sitting still and staying focused. What they rarely picture, are bright, daydreamy, girls unable to get their school work done, or forty-year-old moms struggling to keep their families and households organized, their employers happy and their volatile emotions in check. While all of these presentations of ADHD are accurate, it is the girls and women with ADHD who remain significantly underdiagnosed and undertreated in Canada due to our lack of awareness, training and research. This is placing some of our most vulnerable Canadians at risk.
ADHD: A Significant Health Risk
ADHD can reduce one’s life expectancy by up to 22 years if persistent into adulthood and reduce one’s healthy life expectancy by 8.4 years (Barkley, Fischer, 2018). That is 2.5 times greater than the top four risk factors that we focus on as a society, combined; such as obesity, alcohol use, smoking, and coronary heart disease, (Barkley and Fischer, 2018). In addition, to physical health risks, individuals with ADHD also suffer from co-morbid psychiatric disorders; as many as 80% of adults and 43% of children and adolescents have another mental illness.
Ignoring ADHD Increases Justice and Corrections Ministry Budgets
Building ADHD awareness and assessment, diagnostic and treatment services for ADHD into our justice and corrections services would reduce costs for our Ministries of Justice, Safety and Corrections.
Inequitable Access to Education for Canadian Students with ADHD
The lack of recognition of ADHD as a serious impairment to learning has allowed for inconsistency and inequity for students with ADHD across Canada, provinces and school boards when accessing accommodations and education resources for for their medical disability.
ADHD and the Justice System: The Benefits of Recognizing and Treating ADHD in Canadian Justice and Correction Systems
Incident rates of ADHD seen in the correctional population are 5 times that of adults, and ten times that of youth in the general population. Screening, early detection and appropriate treatment would reduce recidivism rates and costs to the justice and correction systems.
Understanding ADHD as a Disability in the Post-Secondary Environment
This paper outlines the lack of national or provincial standards backed by medical research defining what medical documentation should be required of students with ADHD by post-secondary schools to qualify them for academic accommodations. Some post-secondary institutions are demanding that expensive and unnecessary psychoeducational testing be done before students are eligible for the necessary accommodations. This is resulting in discriminatory practices potentially leaving colleges and universities open to legal challenge.
Equality of Access for Canadians to New Medication
Medication should never be the only treatment for ADHD, however for many it can be an important part of a multimodal treatment approach. Despite this, long-acting or extended release (XR) medications, the clinically-recommended
Paying Attention to the Cost of ADHD… The Price Paid by Canadian Families, Governments and Society
This paper examines some of the known costs of ADHD and indicates what the Canadian and provincial governments might do to reduce these significant long-term costs. Left untreated, ADHD impedes an individual’s ability to attain human and social capital and thereby impacts the Canadian economy.
Equitable Access to Education for all Canadians
Students with ADHD continue to fall through the cracks in our education systems. Students who are impaired due to their ADHD continue to be denied the official identification and appropriate accommodations that would allow them to reach their academic potential.
ADHD and Special Education across Canada, “2010 Provincial Report Card: ADHD in the School System”
In 2010 CADDAC published a report on how students with ADHD were recognized as having learning needs in Canada. The main goal of this exercise was to ascertain whether or not students with ADHD have equitable access to educational accommodations, across all of Canada, as do other students with impairments such as learning disabilities. This report outlines how these systems impact students with ADHD and grades them.