Handling a child with ADHD can be difficult and frustrating, especially when others around you don’t seem to understand why your child is going on a strange diet or why your child won’t behave like other children. For moments like this, you may benefit from joining an ADHD support group. In an ADHD support group, you get to talk to the parents and loved ones of those with ADHD and learn from their experiences. You can also use the group to vent out your frustrations and feel better knowing that you are not alone. But what if there is no ADHD support group where you live? Consider starting your own.
Check if your support group already exists
If you live in a large city, there’s a possibility that parents of ADHD children already meet up on a regular basis. Check the database of chadd.org, the largest ADHD support group in North America; they have hundreds of chapters across the United States and Canada. There are support groups in the United Kingdom, Australia, Israel, Ireland, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates too.
Get help from like-minded people
Starting a support group sounds like a gargantuan task, but just remember that you don’t have to do all the work. There are many parents who share the same problem – it’s just a matter of finding them and asking for their help! Ask your child’s doctor or teacher to refer you to other parents who might be interested in forming a support group. You can also try putting up a flyer at your child’s school, the doctor’s office, or in public places like the library, church, or community center. Once you receive a response, ask how much time he or she can commit to forming the group and what that person is willing to do. By seeking the help of others in forming the first meeting, newcomers will get a better idea of what the group is all about and how it can benefit them.
You may also want to consider the help of other professionals who sympathize with your needs. Doctors or psychologists might be willing to facilitate meetings or help you find resources.
Find a free venue
Reduce the burden of founding a support group by holding your meetings at a free venue. Your church, community, or library should be willing to accommodate you. If you anticipate an intimate group where you more or less know who’s attending, consider holding your first few meetings at the members’ home. To make it convenient for the members to meet, set the meetings at the same time, e.g. the first Saturday of every month.
Establish your group’s purpose
As the size of your support group grows, you can start formalizing the purpose of the group and its advocacy. This will help you decide the structure of future meetings and the other goals your group would like to accomplish.