My Story: Pippa
Pippa’s introduction to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) came when she discovered her son was getting into trouble in primary school. As the calls home increased, Pippa started to question if there could be a more serious underlying cause for his behaviour. It was a teacher who first mentioned ADHD as a possibility, a diagnosis later confirmed by a paediatric psychiatrist.
Aside from a selection of photocopied resources, neither the school nor the doctor was able to provide much support. While Pippa had heard of ADHD before, she had little understanding of the implications so she began researching and signing up to parent support groups.
For Pippa, involvement with the group ultimately led her to changing career from being a Religious Studies teacher to working as a coach and trainer for The ADD-vance ADHD and Autism Trust. It was in this role that she then attended The ADHD Foundation conference in 2017, where she was introduced to QbTest.
QbTest, developed by Qbtech, is a CE-marked objective test that measures core ADHD symptoms: activity, attention and impulsivity. The Qbtech software analyses the performance and presents a report that compares a patient’s results with a group of people of the same age and gender who do not have ADHD to establish the likelihood of ADHD in their case.
Intrigued, Pippa took up the opportunity to test herself. Prior to doing QbTest, Pippa, who achieved academic success at school and university, would never have considered that she might have ADHD. But her results revealed a very different picture, prompting her to seek further analysis from a consultant psychiatrist which led to her own ADHD diagnosis.After seeing the benefits of QbTest first-hand, Pippa brought the Qbtech software to the charity so they could offer the assessment to people concerned about ADHD. She estimates that she has now administered QbCheck, a sister product to QbTest, over 100 times.
Where reaching a diagnosis for ADHD is often a subjective process – relying on a parent or teacher to notice an issue before a doctor decides if an assessment is necessary based on their appraisal – QbTest and QbCheck provide an objective measure of symptoms. The information the family or individual receives from the test analysis is used to explain an individual’s symptoms to help them develop strategies for improving home school or working life. Having this evidence, Pippa says, can be key to enabling individuals or parents to feel empowered to advocate for their or their child’s needs.
She learned this first-hand when her daughter was assessed using QbCheck. Research shows that, though the prevalence of ADHD is not thought to be gendered, boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed than girls due to their different presentation of symptoms. With the QbCheck report in hand, Pippa was able to get her daughter from assessment to diagnosis and medication in six weeks (the process can often take years).
For Pippa, QbTest was the trigger to revealing the nature of her own difference, and it enabled her to seek diagnosis and treatment, an experience she likened to ‘not realising how bad your eyesight is until you put on your glasses’. This empowered her go back to university to study for a further degree – an achievement that Pippa says would have been unlikely without the self-awareness of the ADHD diagnosis and the support that came with it.
Pippa now runs The ADD-vantage, which provides specialist ADHD support services primarily to women and girls.