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support for ADHD Newcastle by psychologist morisset

ADHD and

If you're seeking psychology services for autism or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, in Morisset, Newcastle or the Central Coast.

Louise Pratt, one of our local psychologists in Morisset, is committed to helping every child reach their full potential by providing tailored support and therapy. From cognitive therapy to behavioural analysis, she offers a range of evidence-based services that meet the unique needs of each individual child.

We recognise that every child requires a customised approach to therapy, and Louise takes the extra time to develop individualised plans that address specific needs and challenges.  She will work closely with individuals, families and schools to ensure that everyone is well informed and working together to achieve your goals

With a friendly approach, Louise can work with you and your child to develop strategies to improve social skills, manage emotions, and increase attention span, or simply provide a knowledgeable ear to listen,

Whether you're seeking counseling to manage symptoms, guidance in developing coping strategies, or simply a knowledgeable ear to listen, Louise is your experienced ADHD & ASD psychologist in Morisset, and is here to provide you with the help you need.

Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is a behaviour disorder usually first diagnosed in childhood, which is characterised by inattention, or impulsivity and hyperactivity, or a combination of both.

Symptoms of hyperactivity usually become  apparent by the age of 7 but may be displayed in very young pre-schoolers. Inattention may not be evident until a child faces school expectations.

The three major types of ADHD include

Combined type: This is the most common type of ADHD and is characterised by impulsive and hyperactive behaviours combined with inattention and distractibility.

Impulsive/hyperactive type: This is the least common type of ADHD and is characterised by impulsive and hyperactive behaviours without inattention.

Inattentive type: This type of ADHD is characterised predominately by inattention and distractibility without hyperactivity.

What causes attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder?

ADHD is a biological disorder and although it is one of the most researched areas in child and adolescent mental health, its precise cause remains unknown.


Studies indicate that ADHD is genetic, and that brain metabolism in children with ADHD is lower in the areas of the brain that control attention, social judgment, and movement.

ADHD is often found in siblings, and many parents of children with ADHD experienced symptoms when they were younger but were not diagnosed.  

child with ADHD - Newcastle by psychologist morisset
adhd child - help by psychologist morisset & newcastle

Symptoms of ADHD

Individual children may experience ADHD symptoms differently. However, the three categories of symptoms include


  • Short attention span for age

  • Difficulty listening to others

  • Difficulty attending to details

  • Easily distracted

  • Forgetfulness

  • Poor organizational skills for age

  • Poor study skills for age



  • Often interrupts others

  • Has difficulty waiting for his or her turn in school and/or social games

  • Tends to blurt out answers instead of waiting to be called on

  • Takes frequent risks, and often acts before thinking



  • Appears to be in constant motion; runs or climbs, often with no apparent goal apart from movement

  • Difficulty remaining in their seat even when expected

  • Fidgets with hands or squirms in seat; fidgeting excessively

  • Talks excessively

  • Has difficulty engaging in quiet activities

  • Loses or forgets things repeatedly

  • Inability to stay on task; shifts from one task to another without completion of the previous task

Many of these symptoms may also occur in children and teens who do not have ADHD, with the symptoms often resembling other medical conditions or behaviour problems. Thorough diagnosis through a psychologist, psychiatrist, or paediatrician is therefore highly recommended.

Psychosocial treatments

Parenting children with ADHD can present challenges that increase stress within the family. Learning  behavioural management skills can help parents to reduce family stress. Behavioural management strategies may include use of points systems, or responding to the child with positive attention to desired behaviours while withholding attention to negative behaviours.

Psychostimulant medications

Medications for ADHD have been widely researched and are known to help to balance brain chemistry that prohibits the child from maintaining attention and controlling impulses. They help the brain to focus and may be used to reduce the major ADHD characteristics. Prescribing and monitoring of medication must be conducted by your child’s paediatrician or a psychiatrist.

Prevention of ADHD

Preventive measures to reduce ADHD are not currently known. However, early detection and intervention can reduce symptom severity, decrease the interference of behavioural symptoms on functioning, enhance the child's normal growth and development, and improve the child or adolescent’s quality of life.

If you would like further information on childhood difficulties, or to discuss assessment and treatment options for your child, please contact us.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong developmental disorder which affects the way people behave and interact with the world around them.

ASD is not a mental health disorder or an intellectual disability. However, some people with ASD will also have those difficulties. People with ASD may be highly intelligent, of normal intelligence, or have an intellectual disability. Along with their challenges, people with ASD also have a range of strengths, and they will all have different life experiences.

About 1 in 150 Australians has ASD, with characteristics usually starting in infancy. However, traits may not be noticeable until 2-3 years of age or older.  The majority of people with ASD can learn the skills they need to function independently or in a supportive environment. Studies indicate that early diagnosis and intervention is important in identification of individual difficulties, and skills development including the communication; social; and life skills necessary for a good quality of life.

ASD characteristics fall into across two broad categories including social and communication difficulties, and restricted and repetitive behaviours and interests.

autism psychologist newcastle for ASD boy
autism newcastle support by psychologist morisset

Social and communication difficulties may include:

  • lack of social or emotional exchanges like pointing or smiling, or sharing of likes and dislikes

  • lack of non-verbal communication such as nodding and shaking the head, or using hand gestures

  • difficulty developing and maintaining peer relationships

  • delayed expression or understanding of speech

  • lack of eye contact when speaking

Examples of restricted and repetitive behaviours and interests may include:

  • excessively following routines, patterns or behaviours, and becoming distressed at changes in routine

  • repetitive or stereotyped speech

  • unusual use of objects such as rolling wheels before eyes

  • movements such as flapping hands or toe walking

  • strong reactions to sensory input such as sound, pain or textures

  • restricted or fixated interests which may include playing only with certain toys or talking about certain topics

  • difficulty regulating emotions, resulting in frequent tantrums

Causes of ASD

  • ASD is a genetic condition and is not caused by vaccinations, foods, or cultural or social surroundings.

ASD in females

ASD is underdiagnosed in girls due to a range of factors, with research indicating that girls with autism have different characteristics to boys, and appear to mask their autistic characteristics to be accepted socially.

It is common for females with ASD to discover that they have autism in adulthood due to a tendency in childhood to mimic others in social situations; to display less aggression; more passive behaviour; and stronger language and communication skills. Masking in females may result in the containment of emotions in public and the display of outbursts at home.

ASD Assessment and treatments

Early assessment and diagnosis by a paediatrician, psychiatrist, or psychologist provides the best opportunity for intervention and optimal outcomes for children with ASD, through learning of strategies which help to reduce the impacts of specific symptoms and improve social skills.

As each person with ASD has a unique experience, evidence-based treatment programs tailored to individual needs often have the best results. Comprehensive treatment may involve a psychologist to not only improve ASD-related outcomes but to assess other potential neurodivergent or mental health conditions; a speech pathologist to improve language and communication; and/or an occupational therapist to promote skills such as sensory motor development.

autism in girls psychologist newcastle

Some misconceptions about Autism:

  • Vaccination or eating of certain foods does not cause ASD

  • People with ASD do like to socialise and make friends. They just find socialising more challenging

  • People with ASD do have emotions but may display them differently

  • Most people with autism are able to learn but they may progress more slowly than others

  • It is possible for people with ASD to change their behaviours

  • ASD is NOT caused by bad parenting

  • Not all people with autism have savant or intellectually exceptional skills

  • Not all people with ASD have an intellectual disability

  • ASD is NOT a mental illness. However, people with autism have higher rates of mental illness such as depression and anxiety

For further information on ASD or to arrange an assessment for your child, please contact us.

For further information regarding Autism Spectrum Disorder:

Autism Awareness Australia – Understanding Autism
Autism Spectrum Australia

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