What actually is ADHD? Giving facts and support to families

Changing Lives Initiative header

What actually is ADHD? Giving facts and support to families

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders affecting roughly one in twenty children.  The NICE guidelines and the World Health Organisation recommend parent groups as the most effective early intervention for children suspected to have ADHD.

The Changing Lives Initiative (CLI) was developed to try and fill the gap of suitable parent interventions for children with suspected ADHD.

We do this by holding information and awareness sessions, mostly in primary schools, for parents and other family members.  If the parent feels they would like support then they do the screening process involving filling out 3 parental rating scales.  The CLI team psychologist then reviews the screening and either offers them a place on the parent programme or directs them to something more suitable, such as Triple P.  The parent programme we use is the 20 session Incredible Years parent group.

We offer a two hour staff training module to all education, health and social care staff in the three areas we work in, County Louth & surrounding border area; Belfast and Argyll and Bute.   Archways (the project lead partner) and Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) are doing research on the benefits to families and the cost-effectiveness of the initiative.

ADHD; There’s an app for that!

Example of App

The home screen of the CLI app

CLI has developed an app so that anyone who is interested in ADHD in young children can access the information given during the face to face sessions usually done in the schools.  The people who benefit the most from this are working parents, families living in remote or rural areas such as islands, extended family members as well as professionals and volunteers working with families.

In the current difficult circumstances we are all living in technological support has become an even more vital part of our lives and more of us are turning to our devices for support and encouragement while we are unable to meet up with people.

The app explains the behaviours associated with ADHD and links them to real life situations that parents experience every day, such as running up and down the aisles of the supermarket or not being able to find the paper and pencils when it’s time for homework.  It then gives information about how ADHD affects the brain and executive functioning including planning, organising, timing and short term memory.  Once the app user has learned all about ADHD they can then go onto the section giving practical tips and strategies to manage the behaviours better at home.  On completion of all sections of the app the user will be given links for further support and they can use the tools provided in the app over and over again.

To access the app or further information on the programme please visit the website: https://changinglivesinitiative.com


An example page of the app


NHS Highland, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Archways, Colin Neighbourhood Partnership,          The Genesis Programme

A project supported by the European Union's INTERREGVA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

Team photo

The official launch of the app in Dundalk, Ireland

By Rebecca Quelch Parenting Coordinator for Argyll & Bute, NHS Highland.