Eric and Kim Hornak began testing their daughter for learning challenges at age three, because both of them have dyslexia in their families. While it turned out their daughter did not have dyslexia, doctors did see signs of attention-deficit disorder (ADD) after further testing.
“By the time she turned nine it was confirmed, and I learned then I had it, too,” Eric says. “We looked around to find support and found nothing going on in Denver.”
Kim contacted the nonprofit organization, CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), and found the information they needed to open a local chapter, Denver Metro CHADD, in March 2010.
Since then, the Hornaks have facilitated free once-per-month group meetings to support families and individuals with ADD and ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder). They bring in expert speakers to discuss all aspects of ADHD, including parenting issues, education support, and relationship issues.
After the speaker at each meeting, attendees break out into two support groups, one for parents and caregivers, and another for adults and couples. Eric, who is also a trained ADD coach, leads one of the groups, along with his colleague Roxanne Turner. “[We] make sure everyone gets heard who wishes to speak, and also dispel any misinformation about ADD that might get shared,” Eric says.
ADHD is a chronic neurodevelopmental disorder affecting 11 percent of school-age children, according to chadd.org. It is characterized by developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention, impulsivity and/or hyperactivity, which are so pervasive that they interfere with home life, school, social situations, and work. While there is no cure, individuals with ADHD can be very successful in life with proper treatment, which can include medication, therapies, and lifestyle changes, or a combination of several things.
“The stigma and functional challenges of ADD incline ADDers to isolate and feel like they are alone and at fault for their challenges,” says Eric. “To have a place to meet others and be reminded that ADHD is a neurological challenge they are not responsible for…helps bring enormous relief.”
How Families Can Help
- Attend a Denver Metro CHADD meeting if you or someone you love is facing challenges because of ADHD. Meetings are held the third Monday of each month from 6:30-8:30 p.m., at Denver Academy, 4400 E. Iliff Ave., Denver.
- Share your stories. “Families can support us by returning to share their experiences as they live and learn from us and other sources, so that folks just learning of us or who are new to their diagnosis can benefit from elders on the path,” Eric says. “Having peers and not just professional providers teach and share expands their learning strategies for coping with ADD.”
- Join the national ADHD resource, CHADD, for a small annual fee, or make a donation. This helps support your local chapter, and allows you to receive ongoing, nationwide support and resources: chadd.org/membership