Welcome to ADHD Support Australia, your guide to everything ADHD
We’ll empower you…
We’ve been holding monthly expert speaker evenings on Sydney’s Northern Beaches since 2013, but since April 2020 our monthly talks have been online.
Empower yourself with knowledge.
We pride ourselves in bringing you the most experienced and innovative professionals for you to learn from.
From psychological and behavioural therapies to practical strategies to holistic modalities we’ve got you covered.
Some of our past topics have included:
- Social skills
- Parenting strategies
- Homework/Study skills
- Working with your school
- Time management
- Speech & Language Disorders
- Sensory Processing
- Gut Health
- Environmental Medicine
- Adjusting Structural Imbalances
- Identifying Food Sensitivities
- Improving Mitochondrial Function
- Sleep & Breathing
- Rejection Sensitivity + much more
Our upcoming talks here.
We’ll support you on-line …
Pre-2020, a lack of local ADHD support saw you travelling from as far away as Wollongong, Western Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Central Coast to attend our live speaker events in Sydney’s Northern Beaches! Since April 2020, following COVID restrictions, our talks have moved online enabling you to join wherever you are!
To support those of you who can’t attend the live online talks or have missed past talks, we’ve created a Patreon membership site to give you access to our filmed speaker evenings.
In addition, our Parenting Children with ADHD course and PEERS Social Skills for Adolescents and Young Adults Program is also available in an online format.
Join our newsletter to be kept up-to-date on new developments, ADHD news and receive slides from our speaker events.
Our online Facebook community allows you to access support from others anywhere, anytime. This fantastic brains trust will always be there to help you out when you need a friendly ear.
We’ll guide you …
Find the ADHD professionals, services & resources you’re looking for in our comprehensive ADHD Directory.
Check out our upcoming events here.
Why we’re different …
ADHD Support Australia is open-minded, non-judgmental and forward thinking – whatever path you choose to navigate, we’re here to support you.
We believe in providing information on all approaches and allowing individuals to make up their own minds accordingly.
We believe with strong, healthy foundations in place, any strategies for managing ADHD will be much more successful.
Optimising brain function by enhancing overall well-being and exploring any factors that could be causing challenging behaviours, mood problems, focus & attention just makes sense.
An ADHD diagnosis comes with so many variables meaning it can be difficult to know how to navigate to the root of your problems.
We’re here to help guide you through that maze.
Who are we?
ADHD Support Australia is a social enterprise created by ADHD parent – Vivian Dunstan.
To build a thriving community for people and families with ADHD and to provide person-centred support, guidance and information to enhance life outcomes.
Our vision …
To support and empower people and families with ADHD to live their best lives.
Our values …
Are at the core of everything we do.
- Compassion & Understanding
- Integrity & Authenticity
- Questioning & Learning
Who am I?
I’m Vivian! Originally from the UK, I moved to Sydney’s Northern Beaches in 2003, starting my life from scratch, with my husband and 2 girls, then aged 6 and 9.
I’m an adult with ADHD myself and fellow ADHD parent.
I’ve navigated my way through all aspects of raising a daughter with ADHD (& much more), into a healthy, beautiful adult human whose journey of course continues.
Since 2013, my passion has been supporting others on the same journey using the benefit of the knowledge I’ve picked up along the way.
My journey continues as I learn what it means to parent a young adult with ADHD too!
What I’m about …
I’m open-minded and love learning, questioning & researching my areas of passion.
I never give up and I’m solution-driven. I’ll always step up to help with a problem – here’s a few examples …
- Witnessing my daughter’s learning difficulties and wanting to help her and others like her – I graduated with a Masters in Teaching (Primary).
- In order to help my undiagnosed ADHD daughter, who I saw struggling at school, I home-schooled her in years 4, 5 & 6.
- No one volunteering to coach the netball team? I put my hand up – even though I’d never played netball before and the Under 15s made it to the semi-finals!
- After my daughter’s ADHD diagnosis, finding a lack of support, I set up Northern Beaches ADHD Support Group which then evolved into ADHD Support Australia in order to serve the wider ADHD Community.
- Understanding the challenge parents face in finding professionals and resources for ADHD, in 2014 I created the online ADHD Guide, now the ADHD Support Australia online directory of ADHD professionals, resources & services, providing an on-line directory of ADHD professionals & resources.
- My daughter’s chronic gut issues became debilitating and conventional medicine wasn’t working for her so I researched the integrative medicine pathway. As a result she finally began to heal and my belief in a holistic, whole body approach grew.
- Hearing the day-to-day parenting struggles of the parents at my support group, I trained to become a facilitator for the Parenting Children with ADHD course and began offering the course to local parents. The course is now available in an online format to support parents everywhere.
- With an ADHD diagnosis myself and my daughter now a young adult with ADHD I decided to learn more about supporting adults with ADHD and became an ADDCA trained ADHD Coach and am now offering ADHD & Life Coaching to Parents & Adults.
- Knowing how easy it was for kids like ours to become disengaged at school, I trained as a Raise mentor in the hope of making a difference in the lives of young people.
- Seeing parents receive an ADHD diagnosis, but very little else in the way of guidance, I created this ‘one stop’ community hub to answer all your questions and cover all your bases.
- With personal experience of the heartache you feel when your child struggles socially, I have trained to become a Certified PEERS Social Skills course provider with the intention of helping your teens/young adults improve their social skills using one of the only evidence-based social skills programmes for teens/young adults with social challenges. For details of when the next program for teens and young adults is scheduled please visit the Events tab. Please register your interest by leaving your details here and you’ll receive further details. For more information about the program visit the PEERS tab on this website.
- With my daughter now a young adult and receiving an ADHD diagnosis as an older adult, ADHD Support Australia has evolved over time to also support young adults and adults as well as parents. As part of my commitment to offering the best support to the ADHD community, I trained as an ADDCA ADHD Coach and have now completed the Advanced level training. I now offer 1-1 ADHD Life Coaching and a group coaching program for adults is in the pipeline!
- Seeing parents in both my parenting course and my PEERS Social Skills for Teens & Young Adults program and their young people being impacted by screen use I became a Certified Digital Tech Addiction & Digital Health Educator through the National Institute of Digital Health & Wellness (NIDHW). A 6-week Online Digital Parenting Program is about to be launched to educate parents on the impacts of screens on the mental health & wellbeing of young people and to help support them through the Digital Parenting and find long-term solutions.
- Watch my recent webinar ‘Digital Dilemma: Understanding the Impacts of Screen Use of the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People”.
More About Me
You’re likely to find me by day at the farmer’s market shopping for organic produce, walking barefoot on the beach or in my garden, soaking up some Vitamin D with my cat while researching all things health, wellness & ADHD and working hard to provide all the information and support that is needed for our ADHD community in an easy to access format.
I’m a podcast/audio book junky because I just love to learn and listening allows me to find time to maximise my daily knowledge fix.
By night I’ll be optimising my sleep & brain health by wearing blue light blocking glasses.
I’m about conscious living because I care deeply about this amazing planet we all call home. It’s an impossibly beautiful place and our future generations should all have the privilege and pleasure to enjoy all it has to offer.
Creating the ADHD Support Australia community hub has been a vision I’ve held for some time. It’s been a real labour of love for me.
I genuinely hope you love what I’ve created.
If you’d like to leave feedback about this site or ideas on improving it please contact me on Vivian@adhdaustralia.com.au
Our ADHD Story …
My youngest daughter was diagnosed with ADHD (Inattentive) at the age of 14, but she’d been struggling at school from the get go.
Late diagnosis is typical for those with inattentive ADHD, particularly girls. Her teachers didn’t realise there was a problem, as she didn’t create any disturbance in the classroom. Meanwhile she was quietly getting further and further behind everyone else as she simply wasn’t learning, due to her lack of concentration and learning difficulties.
Since beginning school at 4 in the UK I’d been trying to get to the bottom of her school difficulties.
After countless tests, assessments, reports and tears down the track, which showed an average IQ but below average results in class, as well as auditory processing difficulties, working memory deficits, speech & language problems and reading comprehension difficulties, in desperation I turned to homeschooling for Years 4, 5 & 6 which was wonderful – but that’s another story!
She started back at high school in Year 7. However, this moved her no further towards finding the help she needed or an accurate diagnosis.
Getting a Diagnosis
During psychology sessions to help with her anxiety in Year 8, I raised the possibility of ADHD, resulting in her referral to a psychologist specialising in ADHD. Following this she received her diagnosis of inattentive ADHD.
While studying for my Masters of Teaching, I received little to no education on the topic of ADHD which meant that even as a qualified teacher I was none the wiser about ADHD.
Finally getting a diagnosis was somewhat of a relief because many things fell into place and made sense in retrospect.
Having a diagnosis should have meant being able to access the professionals, treatments and school support she needed. This didn’t turn out to be an easy task. She was offered medication but this didn’t prove successful for her at the time.
Plus, nobody told me there could be a connection between physical & mental health. I didn’t know her tummy aches could be connected with her learning & behaviour.
Where is she now?
Four high schools, much stress and many tears later, my daughter finally completed Year 12. She has left the school system behind and is now forging her path in the adult world.
Read our physical health story below …
You’ll find our ADHD Directory of professionals and resources useful in your own search.
Our health story …
My daughter had a range of learning difficulties and ADHD to contend with as well as a host of physical ailments. As a result her journey was all the more challenging.
Her constant tummy aches were regularly dismissed by the many doctors we’d seen over the years.
Finally my daughter received a diagnosis of coeliac disease when she was 12. However, simply moving to a strict gluten-free diet wasn’t enough to overcome the damage that had already been done. The gastroenterologists could not seem to find a cause for her continuing gut issues so they labelled her severe and chronic digestive problems with the ‘cover all’ diagnosis of IBS.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Suffering various gut-related health & immune issues, food sensitivities and ultimately chronic fatigue syndrome, has been an added complication to my daughter’s ADHD journey.
Finally, after years of searching for answers, great strides were made by finding an integrative GP, with a more holistic approach and addressing all the important components of health – diet, lifestyle, environment & stress.
What happens in your brain directly influences what happens in the rest of your body, therefore you need to pay close attention to physical symptoms too.
Luckily for you, although everyone is an individual and faces different challenges, my journey with my daughter has taken us down more roads than I care to remember, but, has provided me with a huge amount of knowledge in many areas of ADHD, gut-health, food intolerances (including histamine & oxalates), chronic fatigue, anxiety, learning difficulties, genetics, environmental health & wellness and of course just being an ADHD mum!
I’m proud of the adult she has become. She is a kind & gentle soul who excels at art, photography & all things creative & hands on. Since leaving school she has qualified and practiced as a massage therapist. She now practices Kahuna (Hawaiian) Bodywork in the Northern Rivers, NSW @pathtopeacebodywork. As a passionate environmentalist and conscious consumer & citizen she eats healthily and abstains from alcohol, tobacco & drugs.
She completed a Diploma of Digital Photography after having been awarded a scholarship – you might be interested to take a look at her photography here www.aliciadunstanphotography.com.au or follow her on Instagram @aliciadunstancreative. She has also completed a Certificate III in Land Management & Conservation and worked in bush regeneration.