Around 1 in 20 children have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) but despite being common, ADHD remains misunderstood and there is a great deal of stigma associated with the condition.
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impairing levels of concentration, overactivity and impulsivity that causes difficulties for individuals and their families.
Initial diagnosis can be a difficult time when children and their families want clear and accurate information in a suitable format. Unfortunately, families, support groups and researchers have found that the few resources available are not fit for purpose, being too complex for children or providing content that is not evidence-based.
Creating new resources
We brought together a team of researchers, children and families with lived experience of ADHD to create a new animation “Let’s talk about ADHD.” The animation is a widely accessible evidence-based resource for children newly diagnosed with ADHD and their families.
The animation was co-produced through a series of focus groups with a team of children and their families/carers, using creative ways to ensure everyone had the opportunity to contribute.
Key themes were identified through thematic analysis before more detailed discussions of content and review of the script/storyboard. Throughout the process, views from additional parents, healthcare and other professionals were obtained and integrated via online questionnaires. We worked closely with a digital animation company to create the storyboard and animation.
Science and a screening
To celebrate the work of those involved, we held an ADHD open day event which included workshops, engaging science activities and closed the afternoon with a special screening and premiere of the animation.
The feedback from families has been positive so far, families were proud to be involved, felt that their voices were heard. Here are some of their responses:
“I am so proud to have been a part of this. I am even more proud of my daughter and the other children involved.”
“I loved it. The diversity of characters and the balance of information in particular.”
“A great animation. Explained in a very clear child (and adult) friendly way. Loved the part about positive aspects.”
The researchers involved also gained valuable and meaningful engagement experience and reported they had a much better understanding of the disorder and impact on individuals.
We would like to say a big thank you to the children with ADHD, their families and carers, and health professionals in the field who shared their experiences and research to help us co-produce the animation. Our thanks also go to Wellcome for funding our project and making the animation possible.
The animation is available in both English and Welsh and more information about ADHD can be found on the NCMH website (www.ncmh.info/adhd). We’d love to hear what you think. If you’d like to share your thoughts, please complete our survey of five short questions.
Sharifah Shameem Agha, Catrin Hopkins, Rhys Bevan Jones, Kate Langley