Dr. Sarah Y. Vinson, MD was featured as the opening keynote speaker of the 2021 Virtual International Conference on ADHD. Some 17 million children and adults in the United States live with ADHD, according to Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD). For those individuals and the many they are connected to, the work of mental health professionals like Dr. Vinson inspires hope and a pathway forward. As a practicing child psychiatrist, Dr. Vinson was a welcomed addition to the conference lineup.
Dr. Vinson’s session at the conference was titled, “Structural and Cultural Considerations in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” Historically, individuals — and children especially — with ADHD have been observed for symptoms and resulting behaviors. Little attention has been paid to the larger environmental factors that influence behavior and how these individuals are ultimately diagnosed and treated by the medical community. Dr. Vinson’s keynote was designed to broaden the discussion around ADHD and challenge the medical community to give greater consideration to the lens of culture in evaluating individuals.
ADHD is a mental health condition that has real consequences for millions. In order to fully understand them and provide meaningful pathways for them, structural and cultural factors must be given greater consideration by the medical community and thankfully, Dr. Sarah Vinson is sharing that message.
Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) was founded in 1987 in response to the frustration and sense of isolation experienced by parents and their children with ADHD. At that time, one could turn to very few places for support or information. Many people seriously misunderstood ADHD. Many clinicians and educators knew little about the disability, and individuals with ADHD were often mistakenly labeled “a behavior problem,” “unmotivated,” or “not intelligent enough.”
ADHD is medically and legally recognized as a treatable yet potentially serious disorder, affecting up to nine percent of all children, and approximately four percent of adults.
Today, children with ADHD are eligible for special education services or accommodations within the regular classroom when needed, and adults with ADHD may be eligible for accommodations in the workplace under the Americans with Disabilities Act. CHADD is a success story, inspired by the desire of countless parents to see their children with ADHD succeed. From one parent support group in Florida, the organization grew dramatically to become the leading non-profit national organization for children and adults with ADHD.
The organization has a small national staff, which manages the day-to-day responsibilities, while its Board of Directors sets policy and oversees the organization’s well being. The organization is composed of dedicated volunteers from around the country who play an integral part in the association’s success by providing support, education and encouragement to parents, educators and professionals on a grassroots level through CHADD chapters. Along with its growth in membership and reputation, CHADD has retained the passion and commitment of its founders.