OIST to Host Public ADHD Talk on June 16
David Daley, an expert on environmental factors in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), will give a public lecture at the OIST Auditorium on Saturday, June 16, at 10:00 am. The event is open to anyone, and is targeted toward helping parents better understand the nature of ADHD and how to cope with children who have it.
Prof. Daley, a faculty member at the University of Nottingham in the UK, was originally drawn to ADHD because the disorder’s complexity presents such a challenge: it is caused by a host of interacting genetic and environmental factors, and manifests in different ways in different people. As the name suggests, ADHD can involve either inability to focus, non-stop motor behavior, or impulsivity; research has shown that these symptoms are rooted in an inability to wait and a poor understanding of time, as well as differences in the brain that affect abilities such as planning and impulse control. Prof. Daley currently studies how parenting, specifically differences in how parents treat children within the same family, affect the likelihood of developing ADHD, as well as its severity.
But while parenting style and other environmental factors play a role in ADHD, Prof. Daley emphasizes that many parents of ADHD children have strong parenting skills, yet are unfairly judged to be “bad” parents by people who witness their child’s behavior. For this reason, Shizuka Shimabukuro, a researcher in OIST’s Children’s Research Center (run by the Human Developmental Neurobiology Unit), hopes that teachers and others who do not have ADHD children themselves will also attend Saturday’s talk. “I hope it will help enhance people’s awareness of what ADHD is so that people’s misperceptions are corrected and the community can start creating an environment to support the parents,” says Dr. Shimabukuro, who is developing a training and support program for Japanese parents of ADHD children. “It’s important to understand how ADHD children are different, and the challenges the parents are facing.” Both Dr. Shimabukuro and Prof. Daley hope the talk will be a step toward increasing the resources available for parents of ADHD children in Okinawa, as well as parents’ willingness to seek out those resources.