trouble sitting still and sometimes actbefore they think. ADHD begins inchildhood and lasts into adulthood;without treatment, people with ADHDcan have problems at home, school andwork, and getting along with others.
Statistics Canada reports about five percent of school-age children have thedisorder.
The Mental Health Commissionof Canada reports teens with ADHDare twice as likely as other childrento develop anxiety or a substance usedisorder as adults. As well, childrenwith ADHD can be bullied and shunned(ostracized).
Taylor knows this both from his clinicalpractice and his daughter’s experiences.
“She’s had her fair share of struggles.
More importantly, she’s been bullied and
ostracized. Kelly Grey’s condition is real
and chronic. And her story is not unique.”
In fact, Taylor has heard similar stories
so many times from kids with ADHD
and their parents that his research now
focuses on the links between ADHD,
resilience, bullying and ostracism. He
also studies how attitudes towards
ADHD affect the relationships between
those with ADHD and their families,
teachers and classmates.
In 2017, Taylor was the FulbrightCanada-Palix Foundation distinguishedvisiting research chair at the Universityof Calgary. He worked with EmmaClimie and her team at the WerklundSchool of Education. (Climie’s researchrevolves around finding the strengths ofchildren with ADHD.)
Taylor’s research focused on howknowledge, education and resiliencecan protect children and teens withADHD from the effects of bullying andostracism.
One of those effects is toxic stress,which can seriously damage brainarchitecture. Kids with ADHD mayalready have less than optimaldevelopment, and toxic stress cancompound this by interfering withdeveloping brain circuitry.
Bullying is stressful because it consists
of repeated, aggressive acts (both verbal
and physical) which, over time, lead to
an imbalance of power between the
bully and the victim. Bullying can take
place at and away from school, and in
person or online.
Ostracism is also highly stressful
because a child is rejected by a social
group and left friendless and alone.
“At least with bullying, your presence
is acknowledged. With ostracism, it’s as
if you’re not there at all,” he says. “Both
bullying and ostracism can affect mental
health and, ultimately, the trajectory of a
A recent study by Taylor and other
researchers found children with ADHD
who were already at risk of learning and
social problems are more likely to be
bullied and can have more psychosocial
Taylor wants to use his research tofind practical ways to help children withADHD in the community.
“To leave our work in the laboratory
only completes half of the equation,”
Taylor says. “We have to be better
at dissemination and practical
Taylor hopes what he learns about
helping children with ADHD can
be applied to help children with
other chronic conditions and