An Ayrshire secondary school has become the first in Scotland to receive a prestigious award for its work with young people who have ADHD.
Neurodiversity charity, the ADHD Foundation, awarded Ayr’s Queen Margaret Academy the ADHD Friendly School accolade for their “dedication and commitment to supporting the needs of all pupils”.
The charity said the school had considered all of the main barriers to learning for young people with ADHD and sought to address them in their everyday practice.
Its efforts included giving pupils ample opportunity for movement and exercise, as well as the use of a variety of resources as a tool to support young people in regulating their attention.
The school has a ‘Nurture Room’ which is also used to support pupils to regulate their emotions, something which, if not considered, can also be a barrier to learning for those with ADHD.
In addition to this, pupils have also been taught self-soothing strategies such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation as a form of emotional regulation.
School teacher Anna Roche said: “It has been a wonderful experience making the school a more accepting and understanding place for our young people to learn in.
“The pupils that take part in my ADHD support group have gained confidence in themselves and an insight into their condition that they may never have had. Seeing pupils thrive and having positive conversations with parents due to the work we have done is an honour and a privilege, and the ADHD Foundation has helped with every step of the way.
“Queen Margaret Academy is so excited to be the first secondary school in Scotland to achieve the award and we encourage anyone thinking about it to do it too.”
Celebrating neurodiversity and de-stigmatising neurodiverse conditions was a key feature of the submission for the award and the school submitted an animation which focuses on the ADHD ‘superpowers’, which was created and shared with the young people at the school.
The ‘superpowers’ reflected some of the positive traits of ADHD such as quick-thinking and intuition. As well as this animation, neurodivergent pupils also contributed to a display which explains and celebrates ADHD.
In addition, Queen Margaret Academy provided support and information for parents of neurodiverse pupils in the form of online information sessions which enabled parents to learn more about their child’s condition, as well as share their own experiences and knowledge.
Colin Foley, the training director of the ADHD Foundation said, “Working with Queen Margaret Academy has been a pleasure. The team is absolutely dedicated to achieving success for young people with ADHD and they fully deserve this recognition for their achievements. It is my pleasure to say that they are the first secondary school in Scotland to achieve this.”