When a so-called documentary maker in Australia entitles a show about ADHD “Kids on Speed?”, no one can possibly believe the goal is edification. The object is clearly sensationalism, money making, and fame-seeking on the backs of children who have enough problems. In short: It’s bullying behavior.
All Australians affected by ADHD should read this guest post from advocate Julie Appleton and, if you agree, contact the ABC with your protest; information below.
— Gina Pera
Greetings from Australia! Here, January and February are annually regarded by the media as “ADHD HUNTING SEASON.” That is when we get the most blatant biased, sensationalised headlines that cause nothing but heartache, frustration, and friction in families already struggling to deal with ADHD.
This year is no different. We are hoping that you can spread this information far and wide and build up enough irate emails to the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) that they change the inflammatory title of this program: “Kids on Speed?”
For the last 12 months Marc Radomsky (producer, director and writer) has been working on a three-part program (one hour each) called The ADHD Project.
Now it is scheduled to air from February 6 on ABC 1 under the title of “Kids on Speed?” Radomsky seems to think that the question mark makes the title acceptable. Yet, the title alone will cause arguments and disharmony in families already fraught with tension and anger. The title will create confusion and misinformation as the wider public jumps to conclusions, possibly without even watching the program. Radomsky says in the series’ producer statement: “Our point of difference being the question mark making this inflammatory statement a question.” So we can assume that he knows full well the trouble he is about to cause!
Screen Australia in their Essential e-newsletter says: “The investment from the national screen agency is $1m with the expectation to trigger $2.8m in production.”
The program follows 6 children across the 9 weeks of intervention. So the content may well be of interest but the title perpetuates the stigma and bias that abounds in the media. [Please see Gina’s notes below; stated content does not bode well for accuracy]. Because this program is restricted to just 6 children it is highly doubtful that it will in any way cause a shift in world thinking.
We ask that as many people as possible email the ABC 1 (see links below) and express their concern at the irresponsible title of the program and the harm that it could do, and request that at least the title be changed before it goes to air.
We hope that this united stance might bring about a change. And that in future when the media runs hot with misinformation that we could all stand together and voice our disapproval.
Please click here to file your complaints about the show’s title and content. According to the network’s Code of Practice, it will be assessed by Audience & Consumer Affairs to determine if it should be investigated or dealt with in some other appropriate way. Audience & Consumer Affairs is independent of program making divisions within the ABC.
Thank you, Julie Appleton
ADDults with ADHD (NSW) Inc
Gina adds: I have read about this program and find it deeply troubling. To read the show’s synopsis, click here: To read the show’s statement, click here. Below are some of the more problematic excerpts, followed by my response:
- 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.
Pure sensationalism. We know a great deal about the biological cause; that’s how we know that medications work well for most people with ADHD. ADHD diagnosis rates are not “going through the roof”—in Australia or anywhere else. Diagnosis rates remain a small fraction of the population.
Judging from the amount of fan mail my book receives from Australian adults with late-diagnosis ADHD (who have a terrible time getting modern medications and are largely stuck with the old formulations such as Dexedrine), it’s high time these kids were being diagnosed. But look at how these alleged documentary makers claim that ADHD is stigmatized because of the medications, not because of vainglorious promoters such as them!
- “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 behaviour by training parents to become assistant therapists. …. 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 all other clinicians have previously failed. And they have just 9 weeks to deliver tangible results.
A “factual intervention”? In short, the stated storyline has no basis in fact and is 100 percent self-serving. This psychologist, unknown for having ADHD expertise, seems to be playing the cowboy in developing and promoting his own “behavior” program training parents to become assistant therapists, all so medication can be avoided.
Never mind that this is not how evidence-based strategies are developed; they require evidence—the kind provided by careful studies and replicated by other researchers. This kind of nonsense belongs more in an infomercial than on ABC1.
- 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 catch-all label of ADHD.
Pure marketing double-speak. This crew is contributing to ADHD-related myths, not clarifying them, with a cobbled-together dog’s breakfast of innuendo, experimentation, vainglory, and sensationalism.
I hope a documentary maker seeks $1M funding for “Why Grown-ups Bully Kids with ADHD: A Story of Ignorance, avarice, and personal ambition.”