Page 3203 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 24 August 2005

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ADD and ADHD have been around for much longer than most of us realise. I understand it was not until the 1980s that the terms “attention deficit disorder” and “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder” came into being. Parents with children diagnosed with these conditions know the effects that this can have on their children’s education and social development. The effects may carry over into adulthood.

As a young mother living in indigenous communities in remote areas of the Northern Territory in the late 1960s and through to the late 1970s, I had a young son who, with the benefit of hindsight, I believe, may have been suffering from either ADD or ADHD. However, diagnosis of these disorders was not possible at the time. I would have been grateful had I been able to access the level of support that is now available through the work of organisations such as the Canberra and Queanbeyan ADD support group. I commend the work they do.

Michael Sawyer’s presentation focused on the use of medication and the prevalence of ADHD in Australia. We know there is a debate about the best way to assist children and adolescents with this condition: diet and medication, to name but two. Professor Tannock’s presentation focused on the classroom and the teaching and learning strategies that can be adopted to support students with ADHD. The knowledge that educators took away from the conference will, I am sure, enable them to better engage their students in learning, and thus lead to better educational outcomes.

Clearly the support of families, school and allied professionals is critical to achieving success. The conference enhanced the knowledge and skills of these groups by providing them with the latest research and methods for supporting young people with this condition. The conference contributed to the goals of the ACT government as articulated in the Canberra social plan. This plan aims to ensure that all members of the community have the opportunity to reach their potential and make their contribution to society. Conferences like this help those living with this condition reach that potential.

I commend the Canberra and Queanbeyan ADD support group for the role they play in assisting the carers of those who have been diagnosed with ADD and ADHD and for their work in educating the community about the issues relating to this disability.

Bushfire inquiry

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (6.14): Before I get on to the subject that I want to talk about, I just pick up on Mr Stefaniak’s point that he made earlier about the victim being blamed and the fact that that is now becoming a bit of a defence for the inability of ACT Policing to be able to do the policing that it wants to do. I would simply echo those comments that he made.

I want to get up and tackle a point that Mr Corbell raised during the motion about the Attorney-General. He raised a couple of very interesting points. What I would like to say is that I do take Mr Corbell’s point. I take his point about his being at home. He, in a heartfelt way, described a little earlier this evening that he was home and was not aware that a firestorm was going to be hitting the suburbs. I do not think that I would disagree with that at all. I think he is quite right. I think the point that the opposition has

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