[Book Now] [[Weather] [Car Hire] [Flavours of Cyprus] MENU] [MENU] [MENU] [MENU] [MENU] [MENU] [MENU] [MENU] [MENU] [MENU] [MENU]

ADHD Cyprus

President & Founder of ADD-ADHD SUPPORT, CYPRUS

My Story

My story began in 1994.  We were blessed with a new son, Aaron.  An adopted two year old, full of vigour and life.  He was very affectionate, very bright and very active.  In my usual fashion of British High Standards, I began to teach and try to shape him into a polite little boy, who should also behave impeccably!  It was a hard, hard job.  In Cyprus, it had always been accepted that boys were boisterous and "In to everything!"  It didn't matter much because boys were expected to behave like that, and in time, they would mature and "get over it!" Sure, in many cases this was true; but in reality, it was all about the "degree".  Aaron was frequently being punished for being naughty, when really he only wanted to be good.  When he did something wrong and was questioned for the reason, he could never remember why he did it.  Most of all, he loved to play with friends in the neighbourhood, but most of the time their idea of playing, was throwing stones at him.  His desire to be liked was easily detected by his peers, and soon he was a classic scapegoat for many wrong doings of other boys. The finger was always pointed in his direction.  It was very confusing for everyone.


He spent three years at nursery school, and the teachers loved the way that he was able to learn a new rhyme so easily, or some lines in a school play.  But his frustration grew as he was constantly being asked to sit down when he couldn't keep still; to let someone else have a turn at a toy, when it felt like he'd only just started playing or when was he going to be like other children and control his bladder?  At home we questioned our parenting skills.  We tried everything from total tolerance to brute force and nothing worked! What were we doing wrong?  What weren't we doing right? 


With a fresh start of moving up into primary school, we persevered with love and patience, in the hope that "he would grow out of it!"  But sweet Aaron, found it more and more difficult to control himself at home and at school.  In reception class, he did very well academically; he was streets ahead of the other children, and the teacher was astonished when she could sit down and have a decent conversation with him.  Unfortunately, his behaviour left a lot to be desired.  No child wanted to hold his hand because he constantly picked his nose; his exuberant play kept his classmates at arms length or was it the hitting, spitting, punching or kicking, when he'd been provoked in the playground?  Why was he so excessively disruptive in class and destructive with his books and toys? 

Soon into Class 1, the phone calls from the School Headmistress became more frequent, the complaints from other parents – more embarrassing, and his poor teacher, known for her patience and understanding, was in despair.  The time had come.  We had to do something to improve his behaviour and attention in class or the school would no longer keep him.      


We were one of the lucky families though.  The school counsellor recommended us to a Professional. Aaron was assessed and diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.  His behaviour now had a name, and even though overwhelmed at the prospect of what this would mean in the future, I felt relieved.  Like most parents who have recently had their child diagnosed with ADHD, I was hungry to learn what I could.  Here in black and white were all the reasons and all the answers for so many years of questions. 


Being of an organised nature, I accelerated into top gear and began working with Aaron, with schedules, routines, techniques and reward charts.  Aaron being a child eager to please, and motivated by positive reinforcement, soon began to show signs of improvement, in his behaviour and self control – little steps, but nevertheless, it gave us courage and hope, but most of all he loved the praise and hugs he was given. 


For the next few years, we worked really hard as a network; at home, at school and with professional help. We worked as a team in order to help Aaron help himself.  I introduced daily marks to be given by the teacher, so I could praise or correct his school behaviour and help Aaron focus more easily on what he should do, rather than what he wanted to do.  A modified system is still in practice and he is in the second year of his Secondary school having graduated with Excellence from his primary school.  His first school report showed clearly, his antisocial behaviour, however, his latest report could have been mistaken for a child without ADHD and at the end of his first year in secondary school he passed with a 91% average and made it on to the Honours List.  We're extremely proud of him.


But as parents of ADHD Children we need strength too.  We need comfort when we are tired; when our children just can't concentrate on their homework or are unable to remember the next morning, all the work that we helped them learn the night before when preparing for a test.  How many other parents are there who are totally unaware of the characteristics of ADHD and are struggling to deal with them on a daily basis and getting nowhere?   How many teachers are confused with the behaviour that they see in the classroom and suspect that there is something wrong? How many other families and teachers are suffering and struggling alone?  I felt alone, and misunderstood many times; until I started ADHD Support.  


Armed with my passion for the cause, coupled with the experience of running my own business for several years, I felt equipped to lead this Support Group.   A little over five years ago, ADHD Support had its first meeting.  There were only four of us; a pre-school teacher (who has been loyally dedicated to the cause every day since then), me and 2 other mothers.  There was an immediate unspoken understanding between us all and we were no more, alone. 


Since that first meeting, more than 350 people have been to at least one of our meetings.  Emotional Support was our first focus, trying to come together as parents and teachers and help each other understand the condition and strengthen our efforts for the difficulties that were being faced every day and in particular how to network between home and school.  We quickly moved on to creating awareness and offered lectures in Greek and English, by Child Psychiatrists, Genetic Specialists, International Speakers, as well as many other specialists in multisensory therapy and our audience grew rapidly – parents, teachers and professionals.  We introduced FAMILY DAY celebrations twice a year to encourage all family members to come together to share experiences, have fun and forge new friendships with a deeper understanding.    

It was unfortunately a real struggle trying to register our Association.  But early in 2004 we were approved with a Charity No and a legal Board of Directors of 9 members.  We appointed a patron, Olga Demetriades, wife of ex-mayor of Nicosia, Lellos Demetriades, who is also the President of AMADE CHYPRE, a charity that promotes the welfare of children and whose Patron is Caroline, Princess of Monaco.  We have set up a Professional Advisory Board, with prominent professionals in the medical field including Dr. Nikos Myttas, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and Andrea Bilbow, Founder and Director of ADDISS, The UK National ADD Information Services. 

Our Committee members work hard to advocate for the needs of our children. We have had much success in training Primary and Secondary school teachers with renowned trainers like Bonnie Miller, Cheryl Beverley and Andrea Bilbow and in March 2006 we The Ministry of Education is funding a teacher training programme for Primary and Secondary education by Dr. Loretta Giorcelli, Professor in Special Education, and all experts in their own right.  

We, as advocates, have also been educating ourselves, and participated in Training Programmes on NGO Enhancement in Civil Society organised by the British Council, funded by the EU and Training as Special Education Trainers which was funded by the American Embassy. We are now able to move on to conducting our own Training Programmes such as this one today, and will organise workshops for our members, teaching parents, teachers and children to understand AD/HD and learn how to deal with it on a daily basis at home, at school and networking together. This is one of the methods used to help a child better achieve at school and at home.  Another method for treating AD/HD is medication

Our ADHD Awareness Campaign has reached all sectors of society, island wideNorth and South, and through a UNOPS Grant we have managed to produce leaflets, flyers, booklets and a DVD, giving sound, but easy to read information, to anyone who is interested in finding out more about the condition.   


Our newly trained Area Leaders rekindled our Emotional Support Group Meetings in February 2005 and from then on there are meetings every second Monday of every month. We have expanded from Nicosia to Larnaca, Limassol, Famagusta, Paphos and in the North of the island.  Learning Disabilities have no boundaries and should have no bias.  In our efforts to educate teachers, parents and children, we will strive to help change the current attitude towards children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder here in Cyprus and give them the understanding and quality of life that they deserve.



About the author

By Susan J. Chrysostomou,

President & Founder of ADD-ADHD SUPPORT, CYPRUS.



The above article may be reprinted as long as you include the Author details.

[Book Now] [[Weather] [Car Hire] [Flavours of Cyprus] MENU] [MENU] [MENU] [MENU] [MENU] [MENU] [MENU] [MENU] [MENU] [MENU] [MENU]

Copyright © 2023 kontoyiannis.com