Illinois High school seniors Riya Khandelwal, Meha Krishnareddigari, Gulnaaz Sayyad launched campaign in 2020
Three Indian American high school seniors from Adlai. E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois, have launched a campaign to raise awareness about attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD.
Riya Khandelwal, Meha Krishnareddigari, and Gulnaaz Sayyad founded an organization called â€˜Project A Squared: ADHD Awarenessâ€™ toÂ launch their campaign in late 2020.
They have also partnered and become officiated ambassadors of CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), a national organization dedicated to helping those with ADHD and their loved ones.
“As students, although we have moderate insight regarding ADHD from our health classes or personal experiences we lack understanding of the sheer vastness of the condition itself and the stigmas associated with those who have the conditions and its counterpart, ADD,â€ Krishnareddigari told Daily Herald, Chicago.
â€œIt is estimated 8.4 percent of children and 2.5 percent of adults have ADHD, numbers that are only increasing. That being said, 1 in 4 people still have not been diagnosed, making the condition vastly underdiagnosed,â€ she said.
Her co-founder, Sayyad, notes, “Project AÂ², or project ADHD awareness, aims to combat the stigmas associated with ADHD and explore the different ways to raise awareness and speak for the millions of people who are diagnosed with the condition.â€
â€œThe project has a target demographic of 10-15 years of age in efforts that the next generation of adults is able to grasp the concept of this misunderstood condition to avoid stigmatizing it and better diagnose and treat it in the future.”
“Our interest in ADHD stemmed from the sheer vastness of the condition itself combined with the misconceptions and stigma associated with it,â€ she was quoted as saying.
â€œWhen the average person is prompted with the question as to what ADHD is, all too often, the answer is a behavioral disorder stemming from â€˜bad parenting or other unrelated misidentified causes. Some of our own community members, when prompted, believed ADHD was simply â€˜kids making troubleâ€™,â€ Sayyad said.
â€œTo combat these stigmas, our group launched Project , or Project ADHD Awareness, and our journey into the depths of ADHD began,â€ she added.
Community partners of Project AÂ² include FDA, or Future Doctors of America and Future Public Health Leaders (FPHL), an organization for student leaders interested in healthcare to campaign and fundraise for global health issues.
Due to the fact that ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, the group of change-driven teens found presenting to health-related orginizations such as FDA and FPHL garnered an effective audience within their target demographic.
On Project A squaredâ€™s â€œmost vital collaborationâ€ with CHADD, Krishnareddigari said, â€œDuring our ongoing partnership and sponsorship with CHADD, we have fostered diverse facets of awareness, including creating an Innerview (youth volunteering) page, devising social media outlets, organizing service events with ADHD professionals, and, most vitally, spreading Project ‘s message throughout our community and state.”
â€œIn terms of accomplishments to date, we are proud to have fostered over 20,000 interactions within our community, received the selective Hershey Heartwarming Action Grant of $250 for our efforts, as well as partnered with COO April-Gower Getz to be featured exclusively as CHADD’s high school ambassadors,â€ she said.
“Our team concluded one of the primary reasons ADHD is underdiagnosed is due to stigmas associated with it along with general misunderstandings as to what ADHD is,â€ the groupâ€™s third founder, Khandelwal told the Herald.
â€œTherefore, the most vital point of our project was eliminating the stigma associated with ADHD,â€ she said. â€œThis was achieved through interactive myth-busting presentations, long-lasting partnerships, as well as informative events, which fostered everlasting impacts on our community.â€
â€œBy being better informed about ADHD and our campaign, we believe you can help alter thousands of lives for the better.Â For the future, Project A squared plans on hosting more service and interactive events,” Khandelwal said .
To learn more about their cause and ADHD, please visitÂ https://linktr.ee/projectasquared.