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ADHD could be cause of many school exclusions in Norfolk, campaigner claims

PUBLISHED: 18:00 28 October 2018 | UPDATED: 06:44 29 October 2018

Andrea Bell, chief executive of ADHD Norfolk. Picture: ANDREA BELL

Andrea Bell, chief executive of ADHD Norfolk. Picture: ANDREA BELL

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A health campaigner says ADHD may be at the heart of many school exclusions in Norfolk, after figures revealed 
disruptive behaviour as a primary cause.

Andrea Bell, of the ADHD Norfolk charity, said the incidence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) should be recorded by schools to build a “more accurate picture” of the conditions’ effects.

She said better training should also be given to teachers to deal with conditions such as ADHD, which can cause restlessness, impulsiveness, problems focusing and a quick temper.

Ms Bell believes there may be a correlation between ADHD and school exclusions after a recent Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request to Norfolk County Council revealed that persistent disruption is one of the top causes of permanent exclusions in the county’s schools.

The request, submitted by Ms Bell, showed that of the 250 pupils permanently excluded in 2017/18, disruption was the cause in 93 cases. In 2016/17, when 263 children were excluded, more than 40pc (117) of cases were due to persistent disruption.

Ms Bell, who was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 34, is on a mission to raise awareness of the disorder and how children with it can be better supported in schools.

“Out of all children, 1pc 
have autism and five to 7pc have ADHD, which causes disruption and poor emotional regulation, and a main cause of exclusion is behavioural or emotional problems,” she said.

“I would say that 99pc of children excluded for emotional and behavioural problems have ADHD but teachers are not trained in it. The condition is nothing like we think it is.

“We have massive demand as a charity from parents whose children are at home or have not been able to get into the right schools.”

ADHD Norfolk is supporting events in the region next month designed to raise awareness of the effects of the condition.

Performer and writer 
Sarah Emmott will be 
hosting a Coiled Spring Club workshop at the Willow Centre in Cringleford on November 3, for children with ADHD aged eight and over.

Ms Emmott will be performing her theatre show Declaration at the Fisher Theatre in Bungay on November 7, which describes her journey to an ADHD diagnosis.

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