Celebrating Neurodiversity
Prudhoe's Joanne is a QbChampion

Prudhoe woman Joanne is ‘champion’ at Making a difference in ADHD diagnosis – Joanne Stanton

Prudhoe based Joanne Stanton is at the centre of the launch of an innovative screening tool that could prove a ‘game changer’ in the diagnosis of ADHD.

Pioneering QbTest technology – an objective tool which helps determine whether ADHD traits may be present in people – has been made accessible to the general public by Consett-based social enterprise Celebrate Difference.

The testing, developed by Qbtech, has been designed to provide clinicians with more in-depth data about their patients’ symptoms ahead of diagnosis, and will significantly reduce waiting times in between assessment and detection. Research shows that the screening reduces on average 153 days from assessment to diagnosis.

The QbTest is a 20-minute online test aimed at adults aged between 18 and 60 which uses age and gender-matched comparisons from a large control group to test participants for the three core traits of people with ADHD: Attention, Activity and Impulsivity.

The screening tool is currently used in the NHS but Celebrate Difference is the first organisation in the UK to offer the service to private clients in a physical setting from its base on Sherburn Terrace.

Nicola Jayne Little, the CEO and Founder of Celebrate Difference, was diagnosed with ADHD and Dyspraxia in her 40s, and is passionate about providing support systems for people diagnosed with neurodivergent disorders.

She said: “The QbTest is wonderfully sophisticated and clever technology which will be a real game changer in improving ADHD diagnosis for so many people.
“Eighty per cent of our team are neurodivergent, including myself, and we have tested the kit ourselves, so we have seen first hand how important this equipment will be for the development of ADHD diagnosis.

“It’s important for us to stress that we are not clinicians and we cannot diagnose ADHD using the QbTest. Instead, the screening will provide a great amount of data about people’s attention, activity and impulsivity levels so clinicians can understand their patients’ symptoms, thus significantly cutting waiting times for diagnosis.

“For this technology to be made available to members of the general public is a major breakthrough in the advancement of ADHD diagnosis, and it’s remarkable for our social enterprise in a small County Durham town to be chosen to play such an important role in making this groundbreaking technology more readily available across the whole of the UK and Ireland.”

In another first for Celebrate Difference, its Head of Operations and Strategy and Qb Lead, Joanne Stanton, has been selected as the country’s first QbChampion. The role has been created to bring together people across the UK and Ireland at the forefront of ADHD support to share ideas and best practices about how to develop Qb technology to benefit a wider cross-section of people.

Joanne already has ambitions to extend the technology to people aged 60 and over, and lead research projects in LGBTQIA+ communities.

She said: “The QbChampion role is a creative, innovative and forward-thinking role, and I’m excited to play a key role in the ongoing development of such important technology to make sure it benefits as many people as possible.

“As somebody who wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until I was 51, I know only too well how mystifying, and sometimes terrifying, it is to live with an undiagnosed condition so the QbTest has the potential to make such a positive impact to the lives of thousands of people.

“It has already helped our team identify areas where support is needed enabling us to put reasonable adjustments or accommodations in place for work.
“I’m really flattered to be chosen as the first QbChampion and I can’t wait to work with some amazing people across the UK to ensure we are continuously improving the services available to ADHDers.”

The innovative QbTest technology has been developed by Qbtech and combines both subjective and objective data to help assess ADHD.

The test involves participants sitting in front of a laptop during the online screening with a camera tracking movement through a ball attached to a headband worn by the participant. People will be asked to click on symbols which appear on screen during the test.

A trained member of the Celebrate Difference team will be present with the participant during the test, which will take place in the clinical room within the organisation’s Consett base.

Jessica Brunet, an Advanced Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Team Manager (UK) at Qbtech, said: “Launching the QbTest at Celebrate Difference is an amazing feat and paves the way for ADHD diagnosis locally in County Durham, and beyond.

“It’s hugely exciting to make the QbTest more accessible to people across the UK and having such an innovative service such as Celebrate Difference rolling out the testing is amazing, and we’re so proud to be working with such a supportive team.”

Celebrate Difference was created with the vision to improve the lives of people with ADHD through using the lived experience and empathy of team members to guide the support provided.

“I’m really flattered to be chosen as the first QbChampion and I can’t wait to work with some amazing people across the UK to ensure we are continuously improving the services available to ADHDers.”