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We have changed our name! Kids on the Spectrum is now called Living on the Spectrum

Access to the NDIS for Individuals diagnosed with ADHD – Recommendations from the Senate inquiry on ADHD.

In a recent submission made to the Senate inquiry concerning ADHD, Anita Aherne, the founder of Living on the Spectrum, recommended that ADHD should be included as a qualified disability within the coverage of the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme).

National Autism Directory
National Autism Directory

“We strongly recommend the inclusion of ADHD in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to alleviate pressure on the public system and ensure the fulfillment of necessary requirements, thereby enhancing post-diagnosis outcomes for individuals with ADHD. Moreover, addressing long wait times for diagnosis will considerably improve overall life outcomes and alleviate burdens on the public healthcare system while fostering benefits in employment, education, and mental well-being for many individuals”.

Anita drew on her own personal experience with ADHD.

In her submission, Aherne drew from her own personal experience diagnosed with ADHD. Keen to highlight the effects of an insufficiently supported system. Frustratingly, this has resulted in many individuals relying on the public health system as a means of support.

No surprise, that the creation of “Living on the Spectrum” stemmed from a crucial need for individuals with ADHD, Autistic individuals along with their carers. Upon discovering that individuals with ADHD face a decreased life expectancy of up to 25 years compared to the general population, Aherne felt compelled to take action. Something had to be done to address this issue, as outlined in her submission.

“The evidence to date is more than sufficient to justify alarm at the substantial adverse impact ADHD poses for long-term quality of life and reduced life expectancy.” Russell A. Barkley, Ph.D

Read More: Job Cuts Raise Concerns for Children with Disabilities – The Visiting Teacher Service

The inquiry

On 28 March 2023, the Senate referred an inquiry into the Barriers to consistent, timely and best practice assessment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and support services for people with ADHD to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by 27 September 2023. On 1 August 2023, the Senate granted an extension of time for reporting until 18 October 2023.

ADHD supports needed as a priority.

There was an overwhelming response to the call for submissions. As the submissions are uploaded on the inquiry portal, many now await the Senates recommendations and strategy moving forward.

Senator Steele-John, who led the inquiry, highlighted its groundbreaking nature as the first parliamentary investigation into the specific needs and assistance required by the ADHD community. Medical experts and advocates offered potential solutions, such as incorporating all ADHD medications into the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and expanding Medicare to cover diagnoses for both children and adults.

Additionally, Senator Steele-John emphasised that the inquiry committee was deliberating the advantages of training general practitioners to diagnose ADHD and providing comprehensive guidance and support to the entire healthcare workforce. Furthermore, this approach aimed to enhance their understanding of ADHD and how to effectively assist individuals diagnosed with the condition.

Examining the feasibility of integrating ADHD support into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was also within the scope of the committee’s examination. The committee anticipates releasing its comprehensive report in October.

You can read Living on the Spectrum’s full inquiry submission here.

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