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FAQ's

  1. Who can be seen at the Sydney Developmental Clinic (SDC) for an initial assessment?
  2. Until what age can my child continue to be reviewed at the SDC?
  3. How long does an initial assessment take?
  4. How often would my child need to be seen for review?
  5. Does the SDC provide psychology services such as counselling, family therapy, behaviour modification, cognitive behavioural therapy, anger management counselling, social-skills training, etc.?
  6. Does the SDC provide remedial teaching, speech therapy, occupational therapy, etc.?
  7. If my child has a medication response test, does that mean he/she will be placed on medication?
  8. If my child is placed on medication, does this need to be taken every day?
  9. If my child is placed on medication, will he/she need to take this at school?
  10. What is the difference between ‘ADD’ and ‘ADHD’?
  11. Do all children with ADHD have learning disabilities?
  12. Do children with ADHD have a higher/lower IQ than non-ADHD children?
  13. If my child is placed on medication for ADHD, how long will treatment need to be continued?


1. Who can be seen at the Sydney Developmental Clinic (SDC) for an initial assessment?

Any child of school-going age (5 years to 17 years 11 months of age), who is experiencing difficulty with academic, social, or behavioural development, can be seen at the SDC.

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2. Until what age can my child continue to be reviewed at the SDC?

Once your child has been seen at the SDC for an initial assessment, he/she can, if required, continue to be reviewed at the clinic until he/she reaches the age of 25 years.

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3. How long does an initial assessment take?

This depends on which tests are required. There are three possibilities:

  1. One hour - if only consultation with the specialist is required;
  2. Four hours [i.e., whole morning] – if, in addition to consultation with the specialist, full psychometric, educational, and neurophysiological, (brainmapping) testing) are required;
  3. Eight hours [i.e., morning and afternoon] – if, in addition to (2) above, medication response testing is required.
Note: The full day testing (3) is usually reserved for children who have traveled from far. A medication test cannot be performed on the same day as the initial assessment unless this was booked at the time that the appointment was made.
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4. How often would my child need to be seen for review?

This depends on your child’s condition. Some children are seen for an initial assessment only and do not need to return for a review.

Other children need regular reviews to monitor their progress. The timing of any subsequent review appointments will be advised by the specialist at the time of the initial consultation. Note: If your child is placed on medication for ADHD, then reviews must not be less frequent than every 6 months. This is in accordance with guidelines of the Australian National Health & Medical Research Council (NH&MRC).

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5. Does the SDC provide psychology services such as counselling, family therapy, behaviour modification, cognitive behavioural therapy, anger management counselling, social-skills training, etc.?

No we do not as they are best supplied by therapists who work close to the patient's home. The SDC specialist who sees your child will advise whether such a treatment is appropriate for your child and, if it is, refer your child to a suitable service provider in your area.

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6. Does the SDC provide remedial teaching, speech therapy, occupational therapy, etc.?

No, we do not as they are best provided by therapists who work close to the patient's home. The SDC specialist who sees your child will advise whether such a treatment is appropriate for your child and, if it is, refer your child to a suitable service provider in your area.

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7. If my child has a medication response test, does that mean he/she will be placed on medication?

No. The purpose of medication testing is to determine whether patients who appear to require medication, will in fact be responders to a specific medication. It also helps to identify those in a small group of adverse responders. It enables the identification of those children in whom a trial of medication would be indicated and safe. If medication is an option for your child, the SDC specialist will discuss the pros and cons of medication for your child with you.

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8. If my child is placed on medication, does this need to be taken every day?

No. This varies according to the child's diagnosis and the type of medication used. Some children take medication on school days only. The specialist will advise on what is best for your child at the time of the assessment.

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9. If my child is placed on medication, will he/she need to take this at school?

No. New, longer acting forms of medication allow children in whom the ordinary tablet does not last long enough to manage with just the one long-acting tablet or capsule taken in the morning before school.

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10. What is the difference between ‘ADD’ and ‘ADHD’?

In the past ‘ADD’ referred to children without hyperactivity; ‘ADHD’ to those with hyperactivity. The current terminology, used internationally since 1994, refers to all forms of the condition by the umbrella term ‘ADHD’ (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder).
This current terminology recognizes 3 sub-types of ADHD: the inattentive type, the combined type, and the hyperactive-impulsive type. The ‘inattentive type’ corresponds to ‘ADD’ in the old terminology. Using the current terminology, it is possible to have ADHD and not to be hyperactive.

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11. Do all children with ADHD have learning disabilities?

All children with ADHD tend to ‘under-perform’ at school. Not all have a specific learning disability, but up to 60% have associated problems with "language-based" learning, such as reading disorder or problems with spelling and written expression. It is this high level of associated problems that makes the testing of academic skills and basic skills acquisition essential in children with suspected, or diagnosed, ADHD.

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12. Do children with ADHD have a higher/lower IQ than non-ADHD children?

ADHD is not related to intelligence. Nevertheless, measuring the child’s IQ is very useful in establishing realistic expectations of the child's academic potential and identifying specific areas of strength and weakness. For example, many children with ADHD and associated language-based learning difficulties score at a much higher level in their non-verbal or ‘practical’ IQ than in their verbal IQ. They may be good at ‘hands-on’ activities, but have poor listening skills and poor auditory short-term memory. It is this type of information about a child that helps determine appropriate management.

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13. If my child is placed on medication for ADHD, how long will treatment need to be continued?

The length of time that treatment is required will depend on the individual child and his/her maturational change. While most children with ADHD improve with age and many get to a stage during childhood when they no longer require medication, there is a group who continue to require medication into adulthood. It is this variability in individual outcome that makes regular reviews of a child on medication essential. It is a central tenet of the approach at the SDC that each child is unique. We always individualize a child’s management, no matter what diagnostic label he or she may share with other children.

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