Dr Tony Lloyd
Dr Tony Lloyd is the CEO of the ADHD Foundation, the largest patient-led ADHD agency in Europe. He has been the driving force in promoting neurodiversity in the UK and campaigned for a neurodiverse paradigm in education, health services, employment and human resource management in the UK.
He is a co-author of several national reports on ADHD and neurodiversity in the UK and plays an active role in national forums to campaign for changes in policy and the design and delivery of public services.
He features in our ‘Humans of LJMU’ series in collaboration with the ‘Humans of Liverpool’ social media account, sharing the stories of the people who make our city, communities and university the vibrant, inclusive place it is in celebration of our bicentenary year.
In his interview he shares very personal reflections on his own upbringing and challenges which led him on the path to higher education, becoming a psychotherapist and campaigning for change around how we view and support neurodiverse people.
“I’m just one of many people that have been banging the drum for the last two decades, working hard to change the way we view and support neurodiversity. We’re at a point now where we’re working out how we turn that zeitgeist into policy. Those conversations are actually happening in government; it’s not going to go away.”
– Dr Tony Lloyd
Tony’s ‘Humans of LJMU’ interview
“I did horribly at school, experiencing a severe breakdown in my last year after having some traumatic things happen at home. It was a horrific experience. I ended up in hospital for a long time, and I was fostered briefly by one of the nurses in the hospital. I didn’t get my O Levels, and I was put in a flat at 16. They told me I couldn’t go to college to resit and get benefits, so I had to take a part-time job.
“After having a severe nervous breakdown, I still don’t know how I quite did it, but I got my O Levels, and I achieved reasonable grades. In the ‘70s, if people had severe depression, they gave you something called electric shock treatment, which just fries your memory. So, as you can imagine, that really ‘helped’. Back then, they didn’t know what ADHD was. They couldn’t work out how you could be depressed and hyperactive at the same time. There’s a lot of people that get misdiagnosed as bipolar, and that still happens now. Despite having the highest IQ in my school, I got lousy grades in my A Levels. I somehow managed to get a scholarship to Durham but crashed in two years. It was just too much.
“I had a really interesting twenties after that. I did a year in Calcutta with Mother Theresa, and I had a really good job and looked after myself. But it took me a long time to recover from what happened. At 29, I was happy enough, and I felt psychologically healthy enough to work in mental health, and I devoured everything coming out of Harvard University on positive psychology. I did my master’s in psychotherapy, then a master’s in inclusive education and then a doctorate. All at LJMU.
“I’ve worked as the CEO of the ADHD foundation for the past 12 years, but I’m just one of many people that have been banging the drum for the last two decades, working hard to change the way we view and support neurodiversity. We’re at a point now where we’re working out how we turn that zeitgeist into policy. Those conversations are actually happening in government; it’s not going to go away.”