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ADHD, Advocacy, Government, Politicians, Politics

Dr Bruce Perry: ADHD is “not a real disease”

AADD-UK has sent the following email to Graham Allen MP with copies to Ed Miliband, Harriet Harman, & Andy Burnham:

Dear Mr Allen,

I am very sorry to say this but one of your tweets (at 12:46 p.m. on Sunday, 30 Mar 2014)  has caused considerable offence. It is a photograph of a newspaper article entitled “ADHD ‘not a real disease’ says US neuroscientist” and above it you have placed the following caption: “Dr Bruce Perry, my Early Intervention hero, in UK today . . .”.  

I have attached a copy of your tweet. 

The offence caused by the photograph is made worse by your use of the word “hero” to describe Dr Perry.  

Also, I don’t know if Dr Perry was misquoted in the Observer, but if he wasn’t it was not helpful for your guest to make such statements about ADHD (an area in which he does not have specialised knowledge) on the eve of his visit to the UK.  His remarks, as stated in The Observer, were very widely publicised in many reputable and otherwise newspapers, blogs, and forums. And all this at a time when people with ADHD are already struggling to overcome considerable stigma and discrimination as well as struggling to access much needed help so that they can live fulfilled lives. The firestorm of adverse publicity increased the distress and anxiety of many people with ADHD. 

Would you please consider taking down the offending tweet and offering an apology to people with ADHD. I appreciate that you are trying to do your best for children through the Early Intervention Foundation, but since mental health services (and other much needed services) have been badly affected by the coalition government’s cuts, we all, adults included, need at least some politicians that we feel will listen. 

I look forward to hearing from you.

So now we are waiting to see if they are listening! We’ll keep you updated!



6 thoughts on “Dr Bruce Perry: ADHD is “not a real disease”

  1. Adhd is real,
    And its got me living everyday with madness,
    And it pains me to have to listen,
    To clever academics,
    Who only offer the negative approach,
    And that only adds to my inner saddness.

    Kev sloan….

    Posted by Kevin sloan | August 26, 2015, 12:51 am
  2. Haven’t heard from anyone yet, but then I didn’t expect to. I did check to see who is the proper person or organisation to complain to about an MP and guess what it’s not easy. There’s a Committee on Standards in Public Life and although it says it meets monthly I can’t see they actually do anything much. There is a Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and this office investigates complaints about MPs breaking their code of conduct. Sorry allegedly broken the code of conduct. And it was hard work finding their contact details! Anyway I did find them on a leaflet and on this leaflet it said that the commissioner cannot investigate complaints about an MP’s views or opinions. But I notice that the Code of Conduct does say that MP’s have “have a duty to uphold the law, including the general law against discrimination.”

    So there you go, if he doesn’t respond in the next day or two, that’s the route we’ll take. Oh and by the way, while the Commissioner will look at emails, we have to send a hard copy of the complaint before it will be investigated!

    It seems to be quite difficult to complain about MP’s.

    Posted by veillantif | April 3, 2014, 10:13 pm
  3. As an ADHD sufferer, I cannot believe that this person is actually being published by professional publications when he has no knowledge of the subject!
    The next thing we will see published in the Observer will be a Quantum Physics article written by David Beckham!
    This supposed Doctor should not be allowed to comment on ADHD at all and if he does not rescind his ridiculous comments statements he should not be allowed to visit the UK in a professional capacity!

    Would any other sufferers out there fancy joining me in attending every single event he speaks at in the UK armed with placards and awkward question?
    If so drop me an email at


    Scott Farquharson.

    Posted by Scott Farquharson | April 2, 2014, 8:21 pm
    • Thanks Scott but fortunately he’s already gone back to America–having done his damage! BTW Graham Allen also took Dr Perry to meet Iain Duncan Smith, Jeremy Hunt, Francis Maude, and some of Labour’s shadow ministers. It would be interesting to know who paid for his trip and all the meetings. I do hope it wasn’t us taxpayers!

      Posted by veillantif | April 2, 2014, 8:41 pm
      • Paid for by the early intervention foundation a newly formed charity made up,of a large number of high profile people who have advised government on parenting. Chaired by Graham Allen. There is a lot of money in getting government contracts for parenting interventions, and so I am sure they will all do nicely with big fat contracts and grants to deliver interventions that won’t work with children who have ADHD but who they think are just suffering from trauma and abuse. So by denying the existence of ADHD a huge number of children will be neglected by the very people who should be helping them, or else removed from their families by secret courts accusing the families of emotional abuse and neglect. That is the crime they commit.

        Posted by Andrea Bilbow OBE | April 2, 2014, 11:17 pm
        • Thanks Andrea. BTW Chance UK seem also to have met with him and I notice that their Chief Executive Gracia McGrath O.B.E had this to say about ADHD in an October 2012 interview:

          “Like most things there’s an element of truth in it in that a lot of kids come to us with a diagnosis of ADD – or a “diagnosis” in that the teacher that has referred them has said that she thinks they have ADHD and they don’t.

          Usually, what they have is a very bad diet a very closed off life so that there isn’t enough running about in it. If you eat lots of things that are the colour orange but they’re not oranges it will have an impact on your behaviour.
          That’s not to say that just because it isn’t ADHD that it isn’t important to address those things because if you label everything as one thing then you’re not going to be able to deal with what that child needs – which is quite simple to deal with and which is quite different from a child who has quite severe ADHD.

          “We have a healthy eating policy here [at Chance] so if you start off with a child and say ‘right, let’s see how they behave on the nights when they’re with their mentor and they can’t drink fizzy drinks and where they can’t eat orange things that aren’t oranges’ does their behaviour change? Does the behaviour improve? How do the children respond when they go out with their mentor and they run round, play football and do energetic things, does that change their behaviour? Or does that at least exhaust them? Because we then have a strategy for dealing with that child that the parents can choose to replicate.

          ADHD, is a very very serious issue and for children that do have it, it needs to be managed. I would have some issues around managing it with drugs though because that is incredibly problematic. The two most famous people who were put on Ritalin when it first came out were Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love. Ritalin is a cocaine derivative so when you get very hyper and very distressed… you’re given Ritalin and it chills you and so consequently you build in to your life that every time your distressed, you have a drug induced [coping mechanism] so consequently I do have serious issues with drugging children but I don’t know what the actual answers are.”

          Posted by veillantif | April 2, 2014, 11:50 pm
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