Neurodiversity in focus

There was a very interesting discussion on BBC Newsnight last night around #Neurodiversity following the Nuffield Trust‘s publishing of figures showing marked increases in waits for #autism assessment and prescriptions of #ADHD medication.

One of the guests discussing these findings was Pippa Simou, a Psychologist and specialist ADHD Coach, who drew upon her own experience of being someone seeking support and recognition from the #NHS for her own #ND diagnosis.

She reported how she felt “dismissed by the NHS”, and that this is an experience shared by many women.

That there was “a very high bar for what the NHS consider impairment” and that their approach seems to be to one of “waiting for me to get addicted to something” before they are moved to act.

Looking on from a Gambling Harms perspective this is both very familiar and extremely concerning.

We know how difficult those experiencing #harmfulgambling impacts have found it to get official NHS recognition of their needs, such that for many the only hope they have found is by stumbling across the 3rd sector treatment and support providers who have grown to meet the shortfall in centrally funded healthcare in our sector.

We also know from our own members, from the wider #GamblingHarms community, and from recent research that there is a strong intersection of individuals who are #neurodivergant and who find themselves choosing gambling as a coping and self-regulating tool of suppression.

We also know that this can often lead to addictive engagement with gambling, or Disordered Gambling to use the clinical definition.

For many forms of neurodiversity gambling creates an extremely dangerous circular re-enforcement of distraction, hyperfocus, and an emphasis on activity over outcome.

One of the guiding principles underpinning the law in Britain, and also defining the regulator’s responsibilities towards gambling, is in ensuring that vulnerable persons are protected from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

Which sounds reasonable, except that these principles are being significantly undermined by a failure to openly discuss what is meant by being a vulnerable person.

The definition appears to be that people are only vulnerable once they have been shown to have experienced significant harm and can then point to potential co-existing personal factors, with ND potentially being one of these.

This year GLEN are determined to shine a light on the definition of Vulnerability, and to push for greater recognition of at-risk factors in advance of harm occurring.

We are also reaching out to networks supporting communities where harmful gambling may be taking place unseen, seeking to enable them to hold internal discussions about how better to support their own members and how to identify resources which can be of help.

One of the first communities we reach out to will be those supporting Neurodiverse individuals.

If you would like to learn more or get involved then please get in touch with us: