Welcome to ADHD Awareness Week 2011!
A Message from ADDA's President, Evelyn Polk Green
In the excitement of ADHD Awareness Week preparations, I've enjoyed reminiscing about its humble-and humorous*-beginnings. This year we mark the 8th anniversary of this national period dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of ADHD. We've certainly come a long way! A small group of determined ADDA members (including three of ADDA's president's, past and present-David Giwerc, Michelle Novotni and myself) chasing a dream has evolved into the ADHD Awareness Week Coalition. Four key organizations (ADDA, ADDitude Magazine, ACO and CHADD) supported by many others, work tirelessly to coordinate all aspects of ADHD Awareness Week.
When ADDA's representative, Zandra Maffet (for whom all of us at ADDA are so grateful-she has made a tremendous contribution to the success of ADHD Awareness), was travelling and unable to participate, I briefly worked with the coalition, which triggered my "stroll" down memory lane. For several years I was part of a VERY small group of ADDA members determined to establish ADHD Awareness Day (Day, not Week!) No organization wanted anything to do with us, insisting the days, weeks and months dedicated to Mental Health Awareness were sufficient; we didn't need special ADHD Awareness! Everyone was clear that without the support of major "players" in the advocacy world, our efforts would fail; ADDA was too small and insignificant to ever be able to create an ADHD Awareness Day.
Committed (or stubborn), we never let the naysayers stop us. Through the vision of Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) and the sheer will of a few dedicated ADDA members, ADHD Awareness Day has become a week-long opportunity to promote ADHD awareness and understanding to policy makers, educators, the media and the general public.
My reminiscing made me realize that my personal journey paralleled the evolution of ADHD Awareness Week. ADDA's intention was not just to raise awareness of ADHD, but also to encourage individuals challenged by ADHD to empower themselves through education and advocacy. In the earliest days, I was just beginning to acknowledge and work on my issues as an adult with ADHD, having focused on my children's issues with the disorder, and I've grown and succeeded right along with ADDA.
ADDA has always focused on strengths; we believe awareness and education is the best path for people with ADHD to live fulfilling, successful and productive lives. That's why passing the Senate Resolution was so important to us, and why I feel tremendous pride for both myself and ADDA when I think of the how our original modest efforts have grown; we now have a whole week internationally recognized and set aside to raise awareness and understanding about ADHD! But I also feel proud of my own growth as an ADHD adult; I've empowered myself through education and advocacy.
That's why ADDA created ADHD Awareness Day-and it is ADDA's greatest hope for each and every person living with ADHD. Get the facts-empower yourself with education, then learn to advocate and use your knowledge and skill to create a happy, successful and fulfilled life.
*If you're interested in a behind-the-scenes look at how ADHD Awareness Day-now ADHD Awareness Week-started, tune in to Attention Talk Radio on Wednesday October 19th at 8pm EST. Following Michele Novotni's interview recounting the "official" story of the birth of ADHD Awareness Day in 2004, Michele, David Giwerc and Evelyn Polk-Green will tell the REAL story, sharing their experiences of writing the original ADHD Awareness Day Senate Resolution that put the event on the national radar.