Today we bid farewell to our King, our father, our benefactor, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin AbdulAziz. We will mourn the loss of our beloved King Abdullah, whose forward-thinking policies and love for his people led to the royal decree for the national ADHD initiative in 2008. He called for the key partners in the care of children with ADHD to work together to create a supportive environment that guarantees them access to the services they require to safeguard their rights and enable them to succeed.
We often call King Abdullah – may he rest in peace – the Humanitarian King, and his recognition and support of ADHD as a lifelong condition with wide-ranging adverse consequences for family and society is testament to this epithet. In signing the national ADHD initiative, King Abdullah brought the devastating effects of untreated ADHD to the nation’s attention, and apportioned specific responsibilities to the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Higher Education, the Ministry of Information, and the Ministry of Social Affairs to ensure that these consequences could be avoided.
Aside from the well-known problems that people with untreated ADHD face in education, international studies about ADHD warn us of the higher rates of numerous social ills such as teen smoking, addiction, and traffic accidents. Thankfully, we now know that with early intervention and multimodal – medical, educational, behavioral – treatment, people with ADHD represent the creative spark that will drive our national forward.
As we mourn our King let us celebrate his legacy, vision, and leadership by remembering what he stood for, and all striving together to make a change for children and adults with ADHD in Saudi Arabia.
Updated: 5 December 2015 by Jeremy Varnham