KIDS ON SPEED?” is a 3 x 1 hour documentary series
exploring one of the most hotly disputed yet commonly diagnosed disorders of childhood: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). As rates of diagnosis appear to go through the roof, the biological cause remains a mystery. ADHD is also highly stigmatized through the controversial and wide ranging
use of stimulant medications like Ritalin to treat children as young as 5 or 6.
Myth and confusion abound. Children and families branded with the label are demonized by a society which doesn't as yet fully understand the condition,
but often defaults to stimulants as the first line treatment for ADHD’s disruptive symptoms, regularly disregarding a number of other potential explanations for this behavior. Furthermore a diagnosis of ADHD attracts no additional government support; so affected families have nowhere to turn.
They suffer the stigma regardless of whether they medicate their children, or try coping with the aberrant and taxing behavior. “KIDS ON SPEED?” is a hybrid of observational documentary, factual intervention and social experiment. Clinical Psychologist Professor Mark Dadds will put 4 families with children suspected of having ADHD, through a cutting edge evidence based 9 week intervention
program he’s developed. In this short time, Dadds claims he can improve
behavior by training parents to become assistant therapists. Concurrently, Education Specialist Dr Samantha Hornery is seeking to bridge gaps in the kids learning, and Paediatrician and ADHD expert Professor Michael
Kohn keeps a watchful eye on the health of the kids. Kohn will prescribe stimulants if he feels they are necessary and if parents and child agree ‐ but medication is a last resort, subject also to extensive assessment and
consultation between the 3 series experts. There are critical questions to explore: Have we created a society where we medicate simply because it is the path of least resistance? How much do behavioral issues like oppositional defiant disorder and/or anxiety obscure ADHD symptoms and lead to incorrect diagnoses? When is it appropriate to put young kids on stimulants? And
what’s the downside to medication? What of kids who may need Ritalin but are denied this by parental resistance founded in the stigma? And with families so desperate for help, which therapies and interventions can really work?
The stakes are high for all involved. Our families are at the end of their tethers, facing demands from schools and communities to get their “crazy”
children under control. Mark Dadds and his team of experts also have skin in the game. They are putting their reputations on the line, seeking a new best practice gold standard to treat 5 extremely difficult cases of suspected ADHD where other clinicians have previously failed. And they have just 9 weeks to deliver tangible results. Through the intimate personal perspectives and interwoven
experiential journeys of the families in the intervention programme, “KIDS ON SPEED?” debunks the pervading myths revealing the complexities, trials, tribulations and daily dilemmas of those branded with, and living under the little understood label of ADHD.