Changing Lives, an innovative new cross border early intervention programme launched today (Monday) in Dundalk by Mairead McGuinness MEP and first Vice-President of the European Parliament will help thousands of families affected by Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Launching the initiative at the Carrickdale Hotel, Ms McGuinness said it will “transform thousands of lives for the better, forever.”
She said it is beyond doubt that early intervention is essential.
“This initiative which is aimed at children in the three to seven age group will enable those who may have ADHD reach their full potential and it will help their parents and teachers first understand the challenges and then experience the joy and fulfilment of seeing the children develop their innate skills and talents.”
The new Initiative will be delivered across County Louth, Colin/West Belfast, and the Argyll & Bute region of Scotland. There are five partner organisations involved: Archways (lead partner), Colin Neighbourhood Partnership, Dundalk Institute of Technology, The Genesis Programme (Louth Leader Partnership) and NHS Highland.
It aims to create a better understanding about ADHD and provide an intervention programme for families with children experiencing behaviours consistent with ADHD. As well as working with families the programme will provide training for those working with young children, in particular teachers and early years’ professionals. It will operate to internationally recognised good practice models of intervention for children with ADHD.
Ms McGuinness congratulated everyone connected with the new service saying: “ADHD recognises no borders, class or creed and this initiative will deliver accordingly with inestimable benefits to individuals and families.”
She said the project shows the importance of sharing knowledge and experience across countries and communities, something which the EU has always fostered and supported.
“It would be tragic if Brexit stopped this approach, should the UK and EU fail to reach an agreement. In so many areas of life, a hard Brexit would impact severely on people especially in the border region – including on health.
“We must be mindful of this as the negotiations continue this week,” she said.
The €3million Changing Lives initiative is being supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, a programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). The programme is set to benefit over 2,000 families in these regions.
It is estimated that 5pc to 6pc of school aged children are affected by ADHD.
Roll out of the programme has commenced in County Louth and West Belfast, with roll out in Scotland due to commence in Autumn 2018.
Further information on how families can avail of the programme is available at www.changinglivesinitiative.com.
Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Department for Health in Northern Ireland and the Department of Health in Ireland.