Oxfordshire’s first independent ADHD and autism centre opened its doors recently. The Oxford ADHD Centre, based in Headington, offers private diagnosis, treatment and support for adults and children who have ADHD, autistic spectrum disorders and other related conditions.
The centre is the creation of Oxford GP, Dr Polly Branney, whose son has ADHD and Asperger’s. Frustrated by the long waiting times and lack of NHS support in Oxfordshire, Dr Branney has brought together a team of specialists to provide services for people affected by ADHD and autism in the area.
Dr Branney says: “I’m delighted to be able to offer this service to help avoid delays in diagnosis and to offer support and treatment for children and adults with ADHD and autistic spectrum disorders, as well as their families. At The Oxford ADHD Centre we understand the difficulties these disabilities pose and we can offer a more personal approach to treating these challenging conditions.”
ADHD affects around 500,000 children in the UK and many still have problems with concentration, focus and impulsiveness in adult life. About one percent of children and adults have autistic spectrum disorders, including Asperger’s Syndrome. Getting an NHS diagnosis can take months and ongoing support for those affected and their families can be difficult to obtain. The Oxford ADHD Centre offers people an alternative route to diagnosis and treatment, as well as additional services to support a diverse range of needs.
As well as doctors, psychiatrists and specialist paediatricians, the team at The Oxford ADHD Centre includes speech and language therapists, psychologists, specialist coaches and an occupational therapist. Dr Branney says: “Diagnosis is only the first step of the journey for those living with ADHD or autism. Through the Centre we aim to deliver ongoing support to help improve the lives of our patients. The clinic is multidisciplinary so we are able to help with all aspects of ADHD and ASD as well as associated difficulties. We can also work closely with GPs and schools in the area to provide a fully holistic service.”
Medication is often the only available option for managing ADHD, but there are a number of other therapies that can be beneficial. As well as diagnosis and ongoing treatment the Centre will be running support groups, workshops and parenting classes. Alison Thompson, one of the coaches working at the clinic, says: “Parenting a child with special needs such as ADHD is demanding and challenging, and regular parenting courses aren’t always effective. The Oxford ADHD Centre will be running specialised programmes to help parents build their confidence and learn new skills to better manage their children’s disabilities. I’m delighted to be involved in such a valuable and needed project.”