Unlocking ADHD’s Mission is to Empower ADHDers and their families to live life to the fullest through greater Awareness, Accessibility, Achievement and Advocacy.
As 2022 draws to a close and we reflect on the past 12 months, there is a sense of gratitude and wonder that so much was accomplished in the short period since our official launch in October 2021. It was a very challenging year for our small team as we had to balance between running activities while also ensuring that we were laying a strong foundation for our next stage as a charity and social service agency. This involved setting up policies, manuals, program papers and processes so that we could meet governance and accountability requirements.
The activities below reflect how much a shared vision and strength-based approach can achieve – especially with a team that has over 80% representation from the ADHD community. The passion and hard work from our dedicated full timers and volunteers have made the activities below possible.
Official Languages Microsites and Websites
Unlocking ADHD was pleased to launch microsites in Malay, Chinese and Tamil with corresponding webinars in March, April, and July, 2022. Volunteers worked in different language teams to translate key pages of the Unlocking ADHD website to provide basic information about ADHD. The impetus of the Official Languages project was to reach out to family members of ADHDers in their mother tongue. As there is a genetic link for ADHD, this would enable more understanding and support, and be of practical help in grandparenting children with ADHD. Many thanks to Chng Li Ming for being Project Manager on the Official Languages project 🙏
The Malay microsite was launched in March 2022 with a webinar, Bicara ADHD, featuring Dr Farah Idu Jion (Neuropsychologist), Kalsum Harun (Moderator), Tahirah Mohamad (Parent) and Nur Syahmina Mohd Shafawi (Youth ADHDer) on the panel. Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Rahayu Mahzam, from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Law, provided the Opening Address. Many thanks to Tahirah who was the Project Lead, and the team of volunteers for their efforts in translation and in planning the Malay webinar.
The following month, the Chinese microsite was launched with a webinar (多动症的诊断和管理) featuring Dr Ng Beng Yeong (Psychiatrist), Jackie Lin (Moderator), Tricia Pang (Parent) and Yong Yuan Wu (Adult ADHDer) on the panel. Minister of State, Sun Xueling, from the Ministry for Social and Family Development and Ministry of Education, launched the event. Many thanks to Chan Chu Yuan who was the Project Lead, and the team of volunteers for translating the materials and for planning the Mandarin webinar.
In July, the Tamil microsite was launched with a webinar (ஏடிஹெச்டி கண்டறிதல் மற்றும் சமாளித்தல்) featuring SC Anbarasu (Psychologist), Jed Senthil (Moderator), Uma Mutayan (Parent) and Bahiyaa Basheer (Youth ADHDer) on the panel. Senior Minister of State Dr. Janil Puthucheary from the Ministry of Health and Ministry for Communications and Information, was the Guest of Honour. Many thanks to Dr Jnanee Krishnasamy who was the Project Lead, and the team of volunteers for their translation work and efforts to ensure the webinar went well.
Our team of volunteers and community members created a series of seven video interviews in our #ThisisADHD campaign to demystify ADHD and show the complexity and diversity of the experiences of adult ADHDers and family members of ADHDers. We want to acknowledge the hard work and contributions of our volunteers, Jesse Sng, Grace Yeoh, Grace Lim and Laura Wong who were part of the production team. We also want to thank the individuals who were willing to step up to share their stories – Grace Lim, Prashant Pundrik, Kalsum Harun, Himanshu Chaudhari, Brian Yeo, Chng Li Ming and Jesse Sng. Your actions have touched many lives.
Many volunteers were involved in 2022 on various aspects of our ADHD Literacy/Content Creation activities including working on articles and graphics for our social media and website, helping to maintain the Unlocking ADHD website, editing articles, and also working on the ADHD Survey research and the Adult ADHD starter kit. You will find out more about these latter two projects in 2023….We cannot thank them enough for their meaningful contributions.
The UA team organized or collaborated in 20 events in 2022 to address the various needs of the ADHD community. Notable highlights included:
- A three-session collaboration with Dr Dan Shapiro of Parent Child Journey on “Teaching Problem Solving to Children and Adolescents” in January 2022,
- Creating awareness about how ADHD symptoms impact on Marriages/Long Term Relationships with author Melissa Orlov in February 2022,
- Focusing on Fatherhood in ADHD families with a panel comprising a psychologist and two fathers in June 2022, and
- Providing insights on Thriving with ADHD featuring Dr Edward Hallowell (author of ADHD 2.0) and youth ADHDer, Chong Ing Kai in October 2022.
We organized an internal learning workshop for our volunteers on the Clifton Strengthsfinder – the workshop was conducted by Raymond Chou, an award-winning entrepreneur and people specialist. About 25 volunteers participated in the event which was personally insightful and forged new bonds in the community.
Unlocking ADHD also organized two in-person events – Dungeons & Dragons for youth in collaboration with Tzu Chi Humanistic Society in August, and our first community event – a Potluck in September. Over 50 volunteers and community members attended the Potluck.
Many thanks to our events team for all their hard work, coordination, and belief in what we were trying to do. We would like to thank Yong Yuan Wu and Esther Yeoh for holding the fort for most of our events in 2022.
Singaporean of the Year 2022 Nomination
A special surprise at the end of 2022 was when Moonlake Lee was nominated as a finalist for The Straits Times Singaporean of the Year 2022 Award for her efforts to support the ADHD community. What made this so meaningful was that it enabled a wider network of people to be aware about ADHD and the resources available for those who are struggling.
Unlocking ADHD has launched its fundraising drive and Moonlake has pledge to donate the cash prize from the Event to the organization. Funds raised go towards paying the salaries of our full-time team and to grow our capability to deliver more programs for the ADHD community.
Other Media Coverage
Unlocking ADHD was featured regularly in interviews during 2022 across different media platforms and in different languages. Each of these instances is another opportunity to share about ADHD and the resources available for those who were seeking a community of support.
Highlights of our media coverage included the following:
- Online magazines – Vogue Online article about women with ADHD, Her World Online feature on Moonlake Lee, Tamil Murasu’s coverage on ADHD, Her World Online story on women with ADHD, Silver Streak’s article on older adults with ADHD, Rice Media’s story on seniors with ADHD, Singapore Academy of Law’s article on lawyers with ADHD, Maybank’s interview with Moonlake Lee, and Western Independent’s story on Singaporeans with ADHD.
- Television interviews included appearances on Channel 8’s news segment about Adults with ADHD, and Vasantham’s Indian Beat coverage about the launch of the Tamil microsite on ADHD.
ACCESS AND SUPPORT
Supporting research project for infrared brain scans for ADHD assessment
Unlocking ADHD continued to support the research project run by Dr Roger Ho, Professor and Senior Consultant Psychiatrist at the National University of Singapore (NUS) until the project ended in June 2022. Dr Ho had been looking for volunteers for his research on whether an infra-red brain scan (fNIRS – Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy) could be used as a diagnostic tool for adult ADHD. We understand that many in the ADHD community who suspected they had symptoms of ADHD received a diagnosis through their participation in this project. The Institute for Health Innovation and Technology (iHealthTech) at NUS is now offering this infra-red brain scan, combined with a questionnaire and psychiatrist consultation as a service to adults who are seeking an assessment for ADHD.
Our support groups continue to grow – our private Facebook Support Community has grown to 2,255 members and there are 565 members on the Unlocking ADHD Discord Server. What we appreciate the most about the Unlocking ADHD community is that members are quick to offer support and share their experiences so that ADHDers and their families know that they are not alone in this journey.
During the first half of 2022, Unlocking ADHD also organized several monthly zoom support chats on a rotation basis among the different demographics that we served – parents, youth, and adults. Individuals were able to interact, ask questions of the facilitators and fellow attendees, and share their stories and best tips on managing ADHD in daily life.
Unlocking ADHD received seed funding from the Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE) to develop and launch the Empower foundation workshops on Executive Functioning (EF).
We launched two pilot workshops in October and November 2022 with almost 40 parents being part of the pilots. The focus of the Empower workshops is on implementation – helping parents to apply their new understanding of EF to their specific situation.
We will be organizing more Empower Foundation Workshop sessions in 2023, and if your school would like to organize a workshop on Executive Functioning, please email us at [email protected]. Parents who are interested to sign up for the next run of the Empower workshop can indicate their interest.
The Unlocking ADHD team also conducted ADHD Awareness workshops for schools and corporate workshops on understanding ADHD and how to get the best from employees with ADHD. Clients included a primary school, a secondary school and a recruitment company. If your school or company would like to invite Unlocking ADHD to conduct a talk/workshop on ADHD or School/Workplace Accommodations, do reach out to us at [email protected].
Government and Stakeholder Engagements
The Unlocking ADHD team collaborated with SPARK Singapore and held several meetings throughout 2022 with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Institute of Mental Health, and National Council of Social Services (NCSS) to share information about the ADHD community and the challenges we face. These engagement sessions were productive meetings for all involved to gain insight on the different perspectives, understand the gaps and discuss the way forward. We also met with the Ministry for Social and Family Development, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, KK Hospital and several foundations.
We are grateful for the openness and graciousness of all these individuals who made the time to listen and share with us. We hope to continue the meaningful and practical engagements in 2023.
Regional and International Events
We had the opportunity to participate in several regional/international events in 2022. Our volunteer researcher, Denise Liu, presented a paper at the CIFA Regional Symposium & MSF Asian Family Conference – Runs (in) the Family: The Impact of ADHD on Family Relationships and Children’s Coping. The presentation was well received and we hope that there will be more research into this important topic. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet with others in the field, both locally and regionally.
Moonlake Lee was a panelist at an online event organized by the Hong Kong Professionals with Disabilities Network (HKPWDN) in conjunction with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Fellow panelists included a lawyer from DLA Piper’s UK office, the DEI Disability Strategy Lead for Amazon (UK), and a Research and Insights professional from Dream Impact (Hong Kong).
Other events included:
- Curating MyEO Families webinar on ADHD where panelists from Singapore and Australia shared about their journey with ADHD as parents, adult ADHDers, entrepreneurs and spouses,
- Participating in ADHD Awareness Week Hong Kong, organized by Let’s Talk ADHD where our Director, Jamie Lee, was featured in two webinars – one on dating and relationships, and the other on parenting an ADHD child as a father with ADHD.
- Being a guest on the CD Chats show by Chic Driven in the Philippines where Moonlake Lee shared about ADHD and her journey as a parent.
BUILDING THE FOUNDATION
Governance and Compliance
We recognize the importance of building a strong foundation early on in our development as an organization to serve the ADHD community better. We also prioritized the groundwork for governance and compliance through the following initiatives:
- Forming a strong board of directors to guide our strategic direction,
- Working with Shared Services for Charities to develop our Board Manual, Finance Manual and Human Resources Manual,
- Engaging with the National University of Singapore Law School’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) Team of faculty and students to review our policies,
- Benefiting from the support of Clifford Chance, a global law firm, as our pro-bono law firm on specific legal matters, and
- Getting our financial records in order and appointing an external accountant and auditor to prepare for our first financial audit.
We are indebted to our volunteer, Patrick Goh, and his team of finance volunteers for helping to systemize our accounts and draft a five-year financial plan. We also appreciate the Centre for Non Profit Leadership, National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), Ground Up Central, BinjaiTree, Pro Bono SG and the NCSS team for all their guidance and support in our 2022 journey.
Grant and Donation Support in 2022
We are truly grateful to The Majurity Trust – Maybank Momentum Grant for supporting our capability development in 2022 – without their recyclable grant, we would not have been able to grow our team to its current four full-timers (excluding our Executive Director who is not paid). It is life changing in enabling us to focus on making a difference.
Other support also came in through the Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE) with seed funding for our Empower Workshop. raiSE provided the Design Thinking training, coaching, and mentoring – our team went through 72 hours of workshops excluding internal meetings to develop our Empower workshops.
We also benefited from the YouthTech and SG United programs to stretch our limited funding by providing access to much needed manpower to form our operational team.
Our heartfelt thanks to the individuals and organizations who felt led to donate in 2022 to support the work that Unlocking ADHD is doing. Your actions mean so much to us, and enables us to work harder to make a difference in the lives of the ADHD community. Please continue to support us financially, as we really do need your support in this area to carry on our activities.
Charity and Social Service Agency Status
As we approach 2023, we were delighted to receive news of in-principle approve for UA to be a registered charity. We hope to formalize requirements in January 2023 and start off the new year as a registered charity. We are also pending news from NCSS on our application to be an NCSS member and a social service agency.
Fundraising, Grants and Revenue Generation
We will be actively doing a fundraising/donation drive in 2023, applying for grants and looking to increase fee-generating activities so that we can sustain ourselves as an organization, and keep developing solutions to empower ADHDers and their families to thrive.
If you have read through our 2022 review (2021 review), and our Mission resonates with you – we humbly ask that you consider supporting Unlocking ADHD through one (or more) of the following actions:
- Register for our events and paid workshops
- Share our events, articles, and resources with those who need them
- Tell mental health professionals, educators, and relevant stakeholders about what we do
- Make a regular donation, or even a one-off donation to support Unlocking ADHD in carrying out our mission
- Invite us to give talks at your workplace, school, or community
- Volunteer with us and share your skills and experience to help our organization to touch more lives
- Adopt us as your charity to support for fundraising galas, and individual fundraising projects
Wishing you and your loved ones a Blessed, Productive, Healthy and Wonderful 2023 – thank you for partnering with us to Empower ADHDer and their families to live life to the fullest!