‘The ADD-vantage’ exists to offer support primarily to girls and women with a diagnosis of, or suspected, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The female experience of ADHD is often quite different from the typical male one. For example, girls and women tend to internalise their symptoms and can fall more into the ‘predominantly inattentive’ type of ADHD. Their hyperactivity can be less obvious, evident through speech (too chatty), emotions (frequent mood swings from high to low and back again!) in a very busy brain (starting lots of projects and not completing any; jumping from one topic/idea to the next etc.), or in their drive (always ‘doing’, pushing themselves, not stopping). Girls and women with the condition are often misdiagnosed or missed entirely and live with unsupported ADHD. It is typical that girls and women mask and internalise their symptoms, developing coping strategies to hide their differences. This can be exhausting and often very damaging to self-esteem. The largest group of people being diagnosed with ADHD in the UK currently are women in their forties, often following the diagnosis of a child.
ADHD is a lifelong neurological condition, the core symptoms of which are impulsivity, inattention and hyperactivity. Beyond this, it is widely recognised that ADHD impairs executive function. Executive function is the cognitive process that organises thoughts and activities, activates and prioritises tasks, manages time efficiently, sustains effort and focus to deliver on obligations and makes effective decisions. Executive function skills are the skills that help us establish strategies for managing projects and determine the actions required to move each project forward and complete it. Individuals with executive dysfunction often struggle to analyse, plan, organise, schedule and complete tasks.
Living with ADHD can come with significant challenges. The ADD-vantage seeks to work in partnership with individuals to improve emotional well-being, educational attainment, performance in the workplace, interpersonal relationships, behaviour and life chances through better understanding and self-management of their ADHD symptoms and other related difficulties that might be having an impact.
The ‘end goal’ of ‘The ADD-vantage’ is to recognise and celebrate the potential benefits and personal strengths that come with ADHD. These could include, but are not limited to: being energetic, enthusiastic, spontaneous, creative, innovative and hyper-focused. Those with ADHD often have seemingly endless amounts of energy, which they are able to channel toward success in sport, learning or business. Some people with ADHD can turn impulsivity into spontaneity. They may be the ‘life of the party’ or may be more open-minded and willing to try new things. Living with ADHD may give the person a different perspective on life and encourage them to approach tasks and situations with a thoughtful eye. As a result, some with ADHD may be inventive, artistic and creative thinkers. Many people with ADHD may become hyper-focused. This makes them so intently focused on a task that they may not even notice the world around them. The benefit to this is that, when given an assignment, a person with ADHD may work at it until its completion without breaking concentration. Read more about some of these success stories in our ‘Inspirational Women‘ section.
The ADD-vantage will work with individuals to identify their ADHD strengths and harness them to improve their experiences of education/employment and relationships. We offer free monthly support group, coaching, educational consultancy and QbCheck, read more in our services section and see how you could benefit.