As part of the Integrated Disability Services Project, we provide structured 1-1 and group opportunities for parents to learn and embed strategies and practice into the home and community environment to support their child / young person with ADHD. Here’s how we helped Joshua and his Mum:



Joshua was placed within the care system as a baby before being adopted at the age of 16 months. From about 20 months, Joshua’s adoptive mother was concerned with his behaviour but attributed this to the fact that he had been through the care system. When he was two and half, a play group leader agreed that her son had some behavioural issues after witnessing his behaviours.


Joshua can be violent and abusive, often breaking things when situations are not going his way. Her struggles to carry out basic personal tasks, such as tooth brushing, for himself and doesn’t sleep well.


Joshua went through various assessments and visits to professionals including Sure Start Health Visitors, the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service and Children’s Services at St David’s Hospital. However, unfortunately his mother felt that her concerns were not being heard. It was not until her son ‘kicked off’ in school that services and interventions began.


Joshua was eventually diagnosed with global developmental delay, a sensory disorder, reactive arthritis and severe Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). However, his adoptive mother believes that Attachment Disorder – the result of his experience in care – is the biggest issue. This impacts on his physical health; his anxiety levels are often so high that he is near the point of hyperventilating. Joshua’s mum said, “I think a lot of his medical issues were pushed aside because he was adopted. I don’t think they addressed those attachment issues soon enough and put enough input into it.”


At the start of their journey, Joshua’s mother felt that the organisations involved in her son’s care were not working together. Unfortunately, she felt that a lot of services were put in place too late and/or their waiting lists were too long. She often found that if a multi-disciplinary meeting was held, professionals in attendance would not know her son’s case and would end up discussing medication or treatments that had already been tried. “Each professional had an input but didn’t have the full picture”.


However, since having a new social worker Joshua and his mum have seen a change in the support they have received. “At long last we have multi-disciplinary meetings where everybody sits around the table so everybody knows what’s going on. If somebody is doing one thing I am able to support that in the home as well.”  Respite services have been set up and Joshua’s mum believes that her son’s inclusion in the Complex Needs pilot has meant that professionals are now taking her and her son’s condition more seriously.



Joshua’s mum believes that all of this change is attributed to the hard work and knowledge of their Social Worker.


For a printer friendly version of Joshua’s case study click here