10 Nov New “Lived Experience” ADHD Centre – An Australian First!
The first of it’s kind ever seen in Australia, The Hype! ADHD Centre has been launched south of Brisbane with a new model of healthcare designed and delivered by Doctors with a lived experience of ADHD, for families living with ADHD, to address the critical specialist shortage preventing people from accessing early intervention for this common neurological condition.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects 6 to 8% of Australian children, and up to 5% of Australian adults, with more than 1 million Australians estimated to have ADHD. Deloitte Access Economics (2019) estimated that the social and economic burden of ADHD in Australia was $20 billion per year. The release of recent national guidelines for the best practice assessment and treatment of ADHD (AADPA 2022) has led to unprecedented demand for medical services, with many people unable to access care across the country due to a critical shortage of health services. Traditionally ADHD has required assessment and management by medical specialists, such as Paediatricians and Psychiatrists, but with significant workforce shortages, many specialists have closed their books, or have excessive waiting lists.
Dr Shannon Morton, a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, after being diagnosed with ADHD herself last year, has created a new model of care to fast track ADHD diagnosis and treatment according to the guidelines, in a neurodiversity-affirming therapy environment, designed for sensory-seeking ADHDers like herself. By recruiting experienced and passionate medical practitioners, many with similar lived experience, and providing them with additional training and supervision in multi-modal ADHD comprehensive assessments and treatments, Dr Morton is hopeful that her new clinic will be able to provide much earlier intervention, with less out of pocket expense for families.
Dr Shannon said, “I spent quite a lot of my time through school having to sit on the verandah, or being given detentions due to being too talkative and disruptive. Being expected to sit quietly in class was quite torturous for me, despite how much I loved learning. Throughout my life I have felt like a “trouble maker” for impulsively voicing opinions that others weren’t brave enough to express, and I have often found myself being a scapegoat when highlighting issues that needed change. These days I’m embracing being a “change agent”, and I want more kids to embrace their ADHD superpowers, and not have to go through life being so misunderstood.”
“I would like to see radical reform in all schools, healthcare services, and workplaces, to create safe spaces for those with ADHD, so that their unique talents can be cultivated, and their challenges overcome with more inclusive practices based on better understanding of this common condition. By the age of 10, children with ADHD have experienced an estimated 20 000 negative comments, criticisms, or corrections, and this greatly affects their self esteem and well-being, making them significantly more prone to depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders when older. They also are more likely to have worse health outcomes and a shorter life expectancy.
“I wish I knew much earlier that I had ADHD, and been given the opportunity to embrace my neurobiology for the gifts it brings, such as the overflowing creative ideas, courage and adventurousness to go against the grain, and ability to hyperfocus on things I am passionate about.
“ADHD is often underdiagnosed or masked in females, those with the inattentive, as opposed to the hyperactive, sub-type, and those that have significant compensatory anxiety, or high intelligence. It is much more prevalent in populations such as those that have a close family member with ADHD, due to the significant genetic tendency, children that live in out of home care, people with substance abuse, gambling, or forensic problems, and those with other conditions such as anxiety, autism, and tic disorders.
“There are many myths about ADHD, including that you can’t have ADHD if you can focus well or be successful in some areas.
“It’s common for people with ADHD to concentrate extraordinarily well in activities they are passionate about, or that are naturally exciting and stimulating.
“Many ADHDers can have an advantage when they can tap into their ‘hyperfocus’ mode. Most of our community heroes have ADHD tendencies, such as emergency service workers, elite sportspeople, racing car drivers, comedians, creatives, and other performers in the public eye, who are built for responding quickly in high energy situations or for generating innovative ideas that require divergent thinking.
“Rather than focusing on the deficits that can go with ADHD, institutions need to celebrate ADHD as just a different type of brain wiring, with the potential to do great things, if understood and better supported.
“I am calling on all states to fund clinics like this starting Queensland. We are looking forward to hearing from our Premiers and Health Minsters from around Australia. Come and visit and see what innovation can really look like!
More information about The Hype! ADHD Centre can be found via their website https://hype.clinic