ADHD Awareness Month

October is Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) Awareness Month.

ADHD is defined as a neurodevelopmental disorder which impacts the brains executive functions. These executive functions are what help us with things like impulse-control, focusing attention, staying organized, as well as planning and completing tasks.

Australian ADHD Professionals Association (AADPA) reports more than 1 million Australians have ADHD.

Whilst ADHD has become more universally acknowledged and understood, not all people with ADHD get identified and therefore do not receive the right treatment and support. 

CatholicCare Wollongong Psychologist Leah Varley spoke about the importance of ADHD Awareness Month and the way in which children and adults receive an ADHD diagnosis.

"For many children and adults, their experience of ADHD is one of immense difficulty, overwhelm and adversity as the result of environments and systems that are designed for neurotypical ways of functioning and are therefore mismatched to the ADHD neurotype." said Varley.

"ADHD Awareness Month is an opportunity for schools, workplaces, and the general community to learn how they can make spaces more suited to and welcoming for Neurodivergent Individuals to reduce barriers to inclusion and distress."

A common way for children and adults to receive an ADHD diagnosis is through participation in an ADHD Assessment with a Paediatrician, Psychiatrist or Psychologist.

"An assessment with a Psychologist should be a collaborative and strengths based experience, where individuals get a deeper understanding of themselves and are provided with personalised recommendations and information to help them take control of their lives and identity." Said Varley.

However, receiving a diagnosis of ADHD has become a complicated, expensive, and time-consuming process for many people and families within the Illawarra region.

"Accessibility is impacted by many factors, including a national shortage of clinicians able to diagnose ADHD, long waitlist times for those that do, and high costs for assessment due to the number of hours required to complete an assessment." Said Varley.

CatholicCare Wollongong is now offering a new service called CatholicCare Assessment Services.

This service offers ADHD Assessments to children aged 6 and up and adults to explore their experiences and whether they are concordant with a diagnosis of ADHD or better explained by other factors.

Assessments will occur across a minimum of 3 appointments which can be conducted in-person or remotely via telehealth. All Assessments are evidence-based, trauma-informed, strengths-based, neurodiversity-affirming, collaborative and validating for clients.

"Often people report that getting an assessment helps with their self-esteem and in fostering self-compassion, as they get a better understanding of why they have struggled with certain areas of their life." Said Varley.

For more information on CatholicCare Assessment Services, please email