Commonwealth medallist, judo champion and paralympic hopeful, Jonathan Drane, has become a patron of the ADHD Foundation.
The visually impaired athlete, who has won a bronze medal in the Commonwealth Championships and represented his country in numerous competitions throughout the world, was keen to work with Liverpool-based charity as he himself has ADHD.
Jonathan was diagnosed with the condition when he was 15 years old, so had no additional support for most of his school career. As a result, he was often excluded in lessons and wracked with feelings of self doubt and anxiety.
‘I hated almost every minute of school as I was constantly being told that I shouldn’t be in a normal school and that I should be in a loony bin. This massively knocked my confidence and made me question my own existence in education, as well as my value as a person.
“I got into judo at thirteen, purely by chance, but it really helped me get through my teenage years and continues to have an enormous impact on my life.
“Although the next eighteen months are going to be extremely busy, as I work towards qualifying for a place at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, I am passionate about the support that the ADHD Foundation is giving to children, young people and their families living with the condition.
“I also want to challenge the stigma associated with ADHD and show other young people living with the condition that anything is possible, whatever life throws at you.”
The ADHD Foundation promotes and improves the social inclusion and life chances of children, young people and adults affected by ADHD through early intervention.
The charity provides a range of services designed to support those individuals and families living with ADHD and builds the skills, knowledge and capacity of individuals, parents, carers, schools, universities, employers, clinicians and all other concerned agencies to meet the needs of those living with the condition.
Dr Tony Lloyd, acting CEO of the ADHD Foundation, said:
“Jonathan is a shining example of someone living with ADHD who has beaten the odds and achieved remarkable things.
“His support will not only help us to challenge outdated views associated with ADHD, but will also stress the crucial importance of early intervention.
“Perhaps most importantly though, he is able to relate to the children and young people we work with as he knows only too well the lived realities of having the condition.”
Jonathan’s judo career has taken him all over the world. As a sighted player in 2010 he travelled to Singapore representing England in the Commonwealth Championships where he won a bronze medal.
In 2013, despite being registered visually impaired, he was able to secure a position on the Great British sighted judo team. As part of this team, he has gone on to win gold at both the VI US Open and Sao Paulo Grand Prix, placed fifth at the IBSA European and bronze at the European Open in Germany.
The ADHD Foundation was set up in 2007 to support children, young people and their families living with ADHD. The charity, which is headquartered in Liverpool, is now the largest patient-led organisation in the UK – supporting more than 300 families every year and delivering training across the UK.
Funded by NHS CAMHS, Big Lottery, BBC Children in Need and Comic Relief, the Foundation comprises a multi-disciplinary team of 15 staff, working in close partnership with clinicians from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool to provide a range of therapeutic interventions – a unique service in the UK.
ADHD symptoms include hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity, resulting in frustration, anxiety, intolerance, aggressive behaviour and inability to regulate the emotions. Low psychological resilience is a core symptom of ADHD and predisposes children to other mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
It is is the most prevalent neurodevelopmental condition in childhood, affecting between five and eight per cent of the UK population – which is approximately 500,000 school children. However, population data suggests that the number of children actually diagnosed is somewhere between one and three per cent; which suggests that there are many children without appropriate support to reduce the long term risks for health, well being, educational attainment, employability and a range of life chances affected by ADHD.
For more information visit www.adhdfoundation.org.uk.