When it looked like the pandemic was going to indefinitely delay information sessions for parents wanting information on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), staff at Child and Youth Services (CYS) in Regina got creative.
“The list of people who wanted to take part in the ADHD Parent Education Group was growing and we realized we couldn’t offer the sessions in the way we had before,” said Tammy Dusterbeck, director of Mental Health and Addictions Community Services.
Dr. Bruce Gordon (right), with Jeff James, blows bubbles during a ADHD classroom presentation.
ADHD is one of the most common childhood behavioral disorders. It’s marked by distraction, disorganization, impulsivity and hyperactivity. The sessions, each of which usually consists of three presentations given about a week apart, give parents helpful information on a range of topics. Areas covered include diagnosis, intervention strategies and behavioural and medication management.
Sessions are provided three or four times a year, and typically take place at Wascana Rehabilitation Centre in Regina.
With a growing backlog of interested parents, as well as teachers and caregivers, and in-person sessions impossible because of COVID-19 restrictions, staff considered their next best option: Going virtual.
They worked with Communications staff and on May 13 and 20, parents and others interested in learning more about ADHD tuned into Facebook to listen and participate in online presentations led by Jeff James, a clinical social worker, supported by Dr. Bruce Gordon.
Each video received about 500 views.
“This is a great example of innovative thinking by my team in these challenging times,” said Dusterbeck.
While in-person presentations are valuable because they generate lively discussions, “there are some advantages to offering presentations through Facebook,” she said. “Someone can watch the information and, if they miss something, they can re-watch. Also, people don’t have to leave the house to have a professional provide reliable information.
“As we begin reopening, this is a good way to resume some services.”
Dusterbeck wanted to express her appreciation for the longstanding commitment of James, Gordon and Dr. Konnie Falkenberg, who have grown the program and adapted the information presented to best suit the needs of clients.
“Parents, professionals and caregivers have come from far and wide to learn from these knowledgeable and engaging professionals,” she said.
In particular, she wanted to pay tribute to Gordon.
“This work is one of his legacies. He was passionate, dynamic, intelligent and informed. He and Jeff worked together to make sure parents had the information they needed along with an enjoyable learning experience. This was his and Jeff’s baby.”
May 13 was the last time Gordon presented. He passed away May 29.