Building a social movement to
promote the rights and welfare of persons with
attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and related disorders includes
efforts to influence public policies. During 2008, CHADD will be
focused on the following activities:
1. Continued funding for the CDC-funded National Resource Center for
AD/HD, a CHADD project. During the last two-year period, the
NRC responded to 18,518 people and their 21,952 discrete information
requests. Providing science-based information and personal assistance is
an ongoing CHADD mission. Eleven percent of these requests were unique
to children and adolescents, and seven percent of these requests were
unique to adults. Monthly we average 124,627 unique visitors to our Web
sites with 844 of these on average being Spanish speakers.
2. Continued advocacy with sister national mental health organizations
to enact mental health parity, federal regulation to prevent current
discrimination on the basis of mental disorder in health insurance
benefit design. Persons with AD/HD pay higher copayments and have fewer
treatment visits than persons with other health conditions. This affects
both children covered under their parents' health plans and adults who
have health insurance.
3. Advocacy when needed at the state level for "open" formularies rather
than "closed" formularies. An open formulary allows health plans to pay
for all FDA-approved medications at physician and family/consumer
decision without arbitrary health plan limits or health plan preferences
for one medication in a class over all other medications in the same
4. Support for expanded health insurance coverage. Some children with
AD/HD and many adults with AD/HD currently do not have health insurance
coverage. Once covered, they then typically face discrimination in
health benefit design.
5. Advocacy of meaningful family and consumer involvement in all aspects
of mental health system implementation, including accountability and
performance review, through the reauthorization of the Substance Abuse
and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Such efforts will
increase the mental health system's responsiveness to and respect for
families and adults with AD/HD.
6. Support of legislation to increase the child mental health
professional workforce and to include parents and adult consumers as
peer mental health workers. The first area would increase access to
child mental health services. The second area would increase the mental
health system's responsiveness to and respect for families and adults
7. Continued advocacy
for child rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
(IDEA) and promotion of positive behavioral supports (PBS) in all school
settings. PBS is an evidence-based approach, featured in previous
Attention issues, to enhance schoolwide learning environments and
discipline for all children, which greatly assists children with special
8. Support for
informed parental consent if school professionals believe that an
assessment of learning and behavioral challenges is necessary when a
child is experiencing learning difficulties, and a resulting
interdisciplinary treatment program to address such difficulties.
Anti-psychiatry groups have been sponsoring legislation to prohibit
school personnel from communicating with parents and professionals
outside the school to address learning and behavioral difficulties.
Other issues will arise during 2008, but these are ones that we know we
will be working on. All eight issues address needs of children, and six
of the eight issues address needs of adults with AD/HD. Further details
on these and other public policy issues are available from our Web
Also during 2008, CHADD president Anne Teeter-Ellison, EdD, will
be coming frequently to Washington, DC, to more effectively influence
the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) AD/HD research portfolio.
This is a new CHADD initiative.
E. Clarke Ross, DPA, is the CEO of CHADD.
Posted January 9, 2008
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