by Gloria Welton
ADHD PEI is a grass-roots organization which helps people who have ADHD or are affected by this condition.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder usually diagnosed in childhood and persists into adulthood. It is a condition that can negatively impact a person’s attention span and behavior and can interfere with daily activities at school, work, home, and in the community.
“Our group’s mission is to support Islanders with ADHD and their loved ones through education, advocacy, and peer support,” says Sandy Slade, founder of ADHD PEI. “Our goal is not just to help each other survive, but to see people thrive.”
“Along with offering support groups, we are also building a way to navigate through services and resources. Especially when first diagnosed, people can get overwhelmed and confused about what help is out there, so we are trying to streamline the resources and make it clear who is providing what supports.”
Sandy says proper medication is part of the solution when dealing with this diagnosis. “However, the biggest way to address the condition is to have support in place to help manage daily activities.
“Shame and low confidence are certainly a part of this condition, and frustration can lead to behavioural issues, and stigma is developed. We hope having the right supports in place will help relieve the pressure. That will make it easier to find solutions that are not shaded by guilt and shame.
“There are a lot of strategies one can use but first you must work through all the emotion from past disappointments. Support groups are a safe space where you can be yourself, and then when you are in other spaces maybe there will not be as much emotional tension.”
Sandy says people develop a lot of gifts as a result of having ADHD, such as the ability to work under pressure and critical thinking. “But we often get focused only on inattention, impulsivity, and/or hyperactivity.
“This organization is important to me because I have ADHD and having a support group to go to each week that helps me with my own symptoms.
“I am passionate about it because often this condition is undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, and therefore mismanaged. If you manage it, you can live a great life because it is very treatable. But if not managed it can absolutely steer you right into the ditch. The stress can increase the risks of heart disease and car accidents to name a few.”
The focus is to build a community
“The biggest thing is to raise awareness,” says Sandy. “If people are confused and have questions about what to do, they can talk to a group of people who understand and have been there. We can help through listening, whether you are in school or in the workplace or just life.
“One of the things about the pandemic crisis is the effect of loneliness. Having connection is crucial to life and mental wellbeing so part of the support group goals is to provide a place for connection.”
In-person adult support groups are held weekly in Charlottetown and every two weeks in Summerside from 7:30 pm to 9 pm.
There is a weekly support group online as well.
“We have a lot of people involved who care and are passionate about the cause,” says Sandy. “There is no cost to any of our programming.”