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Former BBC newsreader turned children’s counsellor Kate Silverton has hit back at criticism she’s received for comments she made about ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in young people. Kate was a regular presenter of BBC News at One and BBC Weekend News, as well as making occasional appearances on the BBC News Channel and BBC World News before changing her career in 2021.

On ITV’s This Morning on Thursday, March 28, Cat Deeley and Ben Shephard asked her about the “little bit of backlash” she’d received in her new role and Kate called the topic “complex” and “multifaceted” before discussing the matter in further detail. Kate explained: “If you are concerned about your child’s behaviour, if they’re behaving in ways that do not make sense, that are frightening, concerning, always seek professional advice and support. It is absolutely right and proper that we go to seek diagnosis for our children if they’re in distress or if they’re struggling, absolutely.

“There’s a cohort of parents here and what I say is, some of the assessments that are done, a lot of the assessments that are being done, are rigorous, and they’re asking a lot of questions – the right questions to be asking. And so if parents are finding that they’ve had the right diagnosis, they’re comfortable with the diagnosis, and their children are thriving as a result, fantastic.” Get the best user experience with WalesOnline’s Premium app on Apple or Android.

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Kate added: “My concern as a therapist working clinically with children, and what I have learned in my training, is that a lot of the symptoms of ADHD in particular, or even ASD, are very similar to that when a child has experienced trauma. They overlap.

“I mean, we can talk about small T-trauma, which can be parents going through a very acrimonious divorce. It can be bereavement, a shock bereavement. It can be more complex trauma, of course, for children who are adopted. So as much as I’ve had a lot of parents even reaching out in the last week to say: ‘They’re displaying all these symptoms, but we actually haven’t looked at the experience.’

“What I want to do is to have a really calm conversation. Let’s look at the child as an individual, make sure the assessments are being done rigorously, because that isn’t always the case. As I say, if you are happy and your child is thriving, fantastic.”

Kate Silverton
Kate was formerly a BBC newsreader

Kate’s latest interview comes following the release of her two books, There’s No Such Thing as Being Naughty and There’s Still No Such Thing as Being Naughty. The former BBC journalist, who appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2018, has changed careers after getting a degree in child psychology and is now a qualified child counsellor.

Further explaining her thoughts on ADHD, Kate told Fearne Cotton on The Happy Place podcast that we are doing our children a “great disservice” if we’re not “stopping to look at the reasons why” they are behaving a certain way. “Until science becomes more advanced, we cannot definitively say that anyone definitively has something called ADHD, it’s not even a medical… It’s a description, an umbrella term.” She added: “I want to know these children are being seen and being heard and not just being put on medication.”

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