Thank you for inviting me to join you today to participate in this official launch of the Tamil language micro-site for Unlocking ADHD.
2. ADHD is a neuro-developmental condition. I have some familiarity with it, not because I am currently posted with the Ministry of Health (MOH), nor because of my previous posting with the Ministry of Education (MOE) where part of my portfolio was to look after children with these types of conditions as well. In my past life, before I went into politics, when I was working in KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), I did have the privilege to help and care for children and families with these types of conditions and ADHD in particular. It affects about 5% of young children locally, and often it starts in early childhood. It can affect people of all ages. What is interesting is that although people with ADHD have challenges and difficulties, there are also things that they can do, in terms of the ability to see and focus on things in a slightly different way. They have much to live life to the fullest and engage with us and contribute to us, especially if they and their families can come to grips with ADHD, partly because it is a treatable condition, but also because it is a condition that one can adapt to. I am sure you will hear from the various people who are here today, who looked at this from the various aspects that we have – education, social aspects and also healthcare services.
3. Resources are available in those areas, but the reality is that almost all the materials are in English. One of the important things for conditions like ADHD is for people to be aware of it, so that they come forward to be assessed and have professional help. It is also for the families and parents and people around them to understand what is going on, and why it is we have to do these things. Especially for those who are Tamil speaking, there have been limited information and resources on ADHD that is available. With limited resources, people find it difficult to understand and explain to their family and friends.
4. I would like to congratulate the Unlocking ADHD volunteers who have worked hard on translating your resources and projects into a variety of languages. They have done similar initiatives for the Chinese and Malay communities, and for the Tamil community as well.
5. I wish you a successful launch event today, and I’m looking forward to hearing from our various participants and panellists during the panel discussion. I hope that this is the start of engagements. Those who are here as participants listening in, please remain connected with the community. If you can, help out with the volunteer efforts and contribute to the community. This approach of conversations and discussions will help people have a better understanding of what is happening and reduce the fear, anxiety and ignorance. Most importantly, it can help the children and adult who have ADHD to have their diagnosis confirmed, have resources available, and find best ways to cope and get on with the rest of their lives. Congratulations again to Unlocking ADHD and your volunteers. Thank you for inviting me to join you for this event. I hope to have future opportunities to engage and meet all of you and get a chance to say hello to some of those bright sparks of kids who are part of the community as well. Thank you very much for joining us this evening, I hope you have a wonderful discussion.
6. Thank you.