Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder, affecting more than 1 million people in Australian. ADHD can impact all aspects of a person’s life, including work, school, and relationships.
While it is a lifelong condition, receiving a diagnosis and ongoing treatment can help people improve their quality of life.
CatholicCare Assessment Services offer assessments for children and adults who are seeking to explore their experiences and whether they are consistent with a diagnosis of ADHD or better explained by other factors. All assessments are evidence-based, trauma-informed, strengths-based, neurodiversity-affirming, collaborative and validating for clients.
Assessments will be conducted by a Registered Psychologist, or a Provisional Psychologist completing their internship for registration.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (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.
There are 3 different types of ADHD presentations that are defined when receiving a diagnosis. (1) Combined Presentation where a person meets criteria for both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity, (2) Predominantly inattentive presentation, and (3) Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive presentation. Its important to note that research has shown that ADHD traits/experiences can present differently over time. So, in childhood a person might meet criteria for the combined presentation, however in adulthood may only meet criteria for inattentive traits.
CatholicCare Assessment Services uses a neuroaffirming lens when completing ADHD assessments, meaning that we see neurological differences as a part of a normal variation in society, with all individuals having their own unique strengths and abilities.
The essential features of ADHD as outlined by the DSM-5-TR for diagnosis is a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.
Inattention may look like wandering off task, failing to follow through on instructions, having difficulty sustaining focus, seeming disorganized, losing or misplacing things, and/or forgetting important things.
Hyperactivity may look like excessive motor activity, extreme restlessness or excessive fidgeting, tapping, or talkativeness.
Impulsivity refers to hasty actions that occur in the moment. This may look like interrupting others or struggling to wait for ones turn, making risky choices and/or as making important decisions without consideration of long-term consequences.
When considering a diagnosis of ADHD, a Psychologist will need to collect a comprehensive and detailed account of your experiences with inattention/hyperactivity-impulsivity, as well as how they have impacted your life. This is typically done using structured clinical interview and relevant rating scales. Sometimes additional information is needed and your Psychologist may utilise some additional assessment tools, but this will all be discussed with you at the beginning of the assessment process.
ADHD assessments occur across a minimum of 3 appointments:
1. Initial Appointment
2. Assessment Session
3. Feedback Session
These appointments can be completed in person at the CatholicCare Wollongong or Shoalhaven office, or online via telehealth depending on suitability.
$1,000 for Standard Assessments which includes all appointments, online assessment forms, diagnostic interview, written report and recommendations.
$1,500 for Complex Assessments which includes additional appointments, assessment materials, written report and recommendations.
For a breakdown of what is covered in each session of the assessment, please view the information documents below:
ADHD assessments can be completed by Paediatricians, Psychiatrists and Psychologists. However, Psychologists cannot prescribe medications for ADHD. 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.
Some individuals focus on seeking an assessment through a Paediatrician or Psychiatrist, in order to access medication to help with difficulties they might be experiencing. Others choose to do an assessment with a Psychologist, as their goal is less oriented to trialling medication and more towards doing a comprehensive assessment of their brain and behaviour and wanting to trial non-pharmacological approaches to managing experiences of ADHD. Both pathways are valid, and an individual who completes an assessment with a Psychologist can still make an appointment with a Paediatrician or Psychiatrist to access medication.
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. 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.