Adventist relief for ADHD kids

Some 100 children from low-income families who have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder can receive treatment at Adventist Hospital while waiting for public hospitals.

The private hospital's foundation has set aside HK$3 million to help six to 12-year-old ADHD children who have been waiting for public hospital treatment for nine months or above.

Program director Villy Leung Wai-lee said the aid - the first among private hospitals - will target 100 children this year with more quotas in the future.

Children with ADHD may have problems paying attention and controlling themselves, which may lead to academic failure or social isolation in school.

Parents of ADHD children - who are among 4,000 facing up to two-year waits at public hospitals - can now pay HK$350 to seek early advice and treatment from Adventist Hospital's psychiatrists for up to three years.

After consulting psychiatrists, they then get medical prescriptions and behavioral treatment by a partnering NGO at HK$100 each time, or both.

"Our program features a full set of supporting measures by both medical and behavioral treatments," said HKAHF Children Medical Fund Eddie Cheung Wai-yin. The cap for applicants is set at a monthly income of HK$40,000 per family with three to four household members.

"We hope the school-aged ADHD children will not miss the best treatment period, which is the time when they learn new knowledge and social and personal skills," he added.

Children can continue with treatment at public hospitals after the three-year program, which comes with a report recognized by the government.

The prevalence of ADHD - one to two in a normal 40-pupil class with a three to two diagnosed ratio in boys to girls - has hit families for years.

A mother, Chan, thought her nine-year-old son was just being naughty for three years as he had been "hitting his sisters since primary one but he also hit classmates and teachers after school resumed. It took us one year to find out he has ADHD," the mother said. "No one understands how tough it was"

Her son now hits out less and there is more trust between him and her.