Happy 40th birthday ADHD NZ!
Worldwide organisations for ADHD children began when an allergist Dr Ben Feingold in USA found behaviour of children he treated for allergies improved most markedly when foods containing colourings, flavourings, preservatives and salicylates were removed. It became known as the Feingold diet. Now you will find a similar approach on the web under the Failsafe Diet.
In New Zealand, sometime in 1979, a journalist wrote an article in the Wednesday Midweek for Women in the Auckland Star newspaper about the increasing prevalence of problematic children. Pam House wrote to her of her success with her son on the Feingold diet and the journalist wrote another article in which she published Pam’s phone number. Pam later reported that her phone did not stop ringing, so much so that she took it off the hook to go to the bathroom. I was a caller. I suggested that she invite those calling to her place where she could tell a collective rather than individuals.
The meeting was amazing with the mother’s stories, their desperation and discoveries. As we were washing up some of us agreed that one meeting could not satisfy the need that was so obvious for information – the giving and the collection of these family’s experiences. Several others were asked if they felt the same and so a further meeting was arranged with just these women. These were the women who continued to run the Association for the next 28 years – mostly voluntarily!
By 1990 the demand for help had outgrown this modus operandi and the Association moved into an office. Di Wellacott set up this and the office systems and for years ran the office alone. Later a part time then a full time assistant had to be employed as the workload grew.
By 2008, after nearly 30 years, a major shift in administration was required and a board of directors was formed with Marceline Borren as the CEO. Di stayed involved on a helpline and has recently retired after being amazing for all that time.
ADHD New Zealand is now 40 years old and continues to be relevant to hundreds of families whose children have been diagnosed with ADHD, and need good information and support. In addition we are hearing from adults who were diagnosed as youngsters, or have recently discovered the reason for their quirkiness and are seeking referrals and access to a community.
Happy Birthday to us and thank you to all those wonderful people who contribute their time and expertise to make this organization possible.
Founding parent and ex president