SPECIALTY AREAS AND EXPERIENCE
ADHD, LEARNING and BEHAVIOUR
I have been diagnosing and treating ADHD for many years and am particularly interested in inattentive ADHD in adolescents. I offer up to date knowledge of both pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment options. If necessary psychometric testing will be recommended to identify other learning difficulties. Some patients with ADHD or learning problems may also have behavioural problems and these too will be assessed and managed. This may involve seeing a psychologist or counsellor.
CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME
I have extensive experience in managing adolescents with chronic or post viral fatigue syndrome from having been part of specialist teams at Children's Hospital Westmead and Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth. I favour a rehabilitation model with psychological support to help young people managing their symptoms. I prioritise maintaining school attendance, possibly at a reduced capacity for a period of time, whilst working towards recovery.
SCHOOL ATTENDANCE ISSUES
Many adolescent patients that I have worked with over the years have school attendance problems. There is usually a reason for this ranging from learning issues, anxiety, bullying, medical illness, etc. I prefer not to call it school refusal but rather prefer to explore the reasons for non attendance and manage those if possible and then reintegrate to the current school or if necessary explore alternative education or vocational options.
CHRONIC PAIN AND SOMATAFORM DISORDERS
Adolescent patients who are experiencing stress or anxiety may experience physical symptoms e.g. abdominal pain, headache, fatigue, among others. Carefully working through these symptoms from a medical perspective initially to ensure medical diagnoses are not missed is vital. However if the likelihood of a medical explanation is low it is important to sensitively explore other factors and begin to diagnose and manage these. This will often involve co-management with a clinical psychologist and where appropriate the use of medications for any mental health condition identified and/or to assist with pain management where appropriate.
HIGH RISK ADOLESCENTS
My time in Justice Health overseeing care provided to adolescents in custody greatly improved my understanding and knowledge of ways to assist high risk teenagers with substance use disorders, behavioural issues and complex mental health conditions.
DEPRESSION and ANXIETY
I am able to diagnose and manage the most common mood disorders affecting children, teenagers and young people. Anxiety and Depression are increasingly common in children and young people and early diagnosis and treatment is vital. Prompt diagnosis and management can greatly reduce the impact of these conditions. Management will often consist of co-management with a clinical psychologist and if necessary medication may be considered.
Having worked in specialist eating disorder teams in Children's Hospitals in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth I am able to diagnose and medically manage a variety of eating disorders. This will often be in conjunction with clinical psychologists and dietitians. When appropriate management may be transferred to a hospital based specialist service.
Many young people are now surviving into adulthood with complex health conditions. In the past many such conditions had poorer outlooks so there were fewer adolescents and young adults with chronic illness. Young people with lifelong conditions face challenges that can affect confidence, self esteem and ability to acquire an education. Negotiating the transition to adult healthcare can also be difficult for young people and their families. Helping young people to maintain as normal a life as possible is something I greatly enjoy particularly regarding maintaining school attendance. This may involve advocating on behalf of the student for the school to provide support and understanding regarding the relevant condition.
AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER
Whilst ASD is often diagnosed in young children, especially when severe, it can be missed or diagnosed much later in children and adolescents when features are mild or so called high functioning autism. Establishing a diagnosis if present can help patients and their families understand certain traits or behaviours better and can be extremely helpful for schools to assist students appropriately.
I was part of the team involved in the establishment of a gender dysphoria clinic at Princess Margaret Hospital. This led to me rapidly gaining experience in this emerging area of adolescent and young adult health. Increasingly gender dysphoria will most likely be managed in specialist teams but there may be long waiting lists to be seen. I can offer initial assessments for children of any age and guidance regarding what treatment options may be appropriate to consider in the future.