The Ultimate Guide To Identifying and Treating ADHD in Singapore
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The Ultimate Guide To Identifying and Treating ADHD in Singapore

Rachel Yeo
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From as young as I could remember, my brother always had problems sitting still and concentrating on his work.

Source: Giphy

This has caused much grievances to my mother, who was tasked to teach him for his Primary School Leaving Exam 8 years ago. I remembered lots of fighting, to a point where once, books were thrown out of the window in fits of anger.

That said, my brother is by no means ‘stupid’ or slow. He is extremely street-smart, charismatic, and he understands and can have a good grasp of complicated concepts.

Yet, even at the age of 21 this year, he still finds trouble focusing his attention on the task at hand. Beyond his studies, he still has the tendency to drift off, even when talking to friends, driving, or walking on roads.

day dreaming
Source: Giphy

It’s pretty obvious to me that he has a bit of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Yet, with the stigma surrounding ADHD kids as deficient, my parents have never once decided to seek treatment for him.

To help improve the exposure of this mental health issue, here’s a quick guide on how to go about identifying ADHD, and the diagnosis, treatments and help available.

What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in attention, concentration, activity level and impulse control.
Symptoms of the disorder are usually present in early childhood, but may only significantly impair the child after he or she enters school. Although ADHD cannot be “outgrown”, children with ADHD can still adjust well to school and adult life if they receive interventions early!

How Do I Know If My Child Has ADHD?

Source: Giphy

ADHD is classified mainly with two defining traits: Inattentiveness and/or hyperactive-impulsive. This is associated with symptoms such as difficulty to focus, poor organisation skills, fidgeting, mood swings and constant interruption during conversations.

According to the National University Hospital of Singapore, here are some symptoms to check if you/your child have ADHD:

InattentionHyperactivity
- Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes
- Has difficulty sustaining attention in task or play activities
- Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
- Does not follow through on instructions or fails to finish school work, chores or duties
- Has difficulties organizing tasks and activities
- Avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort
- Loses things necessary for tasks or activities
- Easily distracted by external stimuli
- Forgetful in daily activities
- Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
- Leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated in expected
- Runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate
- Has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
- Often “on the go” or acts as if “driven by a motor”
Talks excessively
- Blurts out answers before the question is completed
- Has difficulty awaiting his/her turn
Interrupts / intrudes on others

Source: National University Hospital

Do note that the abovementioned symptoms need to affect the child’s functioning in most areas of his or her life, and not just in the classroom environment.

How Can I Test Whether Or Not My Child Has ADHD?

Source: Giphy

Identifying ADHD may be difficult, especially for parents who are unaware of the condition and its symptoms.  If you suspect your child to have ADHD, or if you yourself would like to check if you have it, you can get a proper diagnosis at one of these places:

Provider Service Provided Cost (Of Assessment)Subsidy Available? Contact / Location Remarks
Institute of Mental Health Consultation Adults:
$100-$150 (Before Subsidy)

$40 (After Subsidy)

Child:
$115-$175 (Before Subsidy)
$45 (After Subsidy)
Yes Appointment Line: 6389 2200
Enquiry Line: 6389 2000

Email: [email protected]
NUS Clinical and Health Psychology CentrePsychological Assessment
IQ, Cognitive, Neuropsychological Functioning, Neurodevelopmental Assessment (e.g. ADHD, ASD)
Educational and Learning Needs
$300-$450 NIL 6516-5322 or email to [email protected]You are required to provide us with a referral letter either from the University Health Centre (UHC) or University Counselling Services (UCS) before registering with our clinic.

Cheers Learning Services Psychological Assessment, Educational Therapy. $600 per testNIL+65 84955465
Child Guidance Clinic (CGC)
(Health Promotion Board)
Diagnosis and treatment of ADHD undisclosed Yes 3 Second Hospital Ave #03-01
Singapore 168937
6435 3878/9
Developmental & Behavioural Paediatric Services
(National University Hospital)
confidential. Call to enquire. Yes NUH Children’s Clinic
Main Building 1, Level 4
5 Lower Kent Ridge Road
Singapore 119074
66652530
[email protected]
James Cook University Psychology Clinic
$25-$40 per assessment or therapy.Yes JCU Singapore Psychology Clinic
149 Sims Drive
Singapore 387380
6709 3762
[email protected]
Department of Child Development (DCD)
(KK Women's and Children's Hospital)
undisclosed Yes Women’s Tower, Level 5
100 Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 229899
6294 4050

Getting A Diagnosis

To get a diagnosis, the cheapest way to go about it is to first go to a polyclinic to get a referral to IMH, or any specialist/ therapy centers listed above. This may help in reducing the cost of treatment and consultation.

What Are The Costs Entailed For Treating ADHD?

income text money
Source: Giphy

In terms of cost, it really depends on the type of clinic you go to seek treatment. Diagnosis cost can range from $40-$500 per diagnosis, depending on whether it’s done at a public hospital like IMH or at a private clinic. Similar to therapy sessions, which can range from $37 to $180 a session. Depending on whether you need medication, you will have to include the cost for that as well!

 Cost
Diagnosis/ Test for ADHD $40-$500 per diagnosis
Therapy Sessions $37-$180 per session
Medication Varies

Does Insurance Cover ADHD Treatment?

The list of insurance agencies having coverage for ADHD is few and limited. From my research, I’ve only found coverage for ADHD through a AIA policy’s rider:

AIA Pro Lifetime Protector with Child Critical Cover

aia insurance

ADHD is the top mental health condition diagnosed amongst 6 to 19-year-olds in Singapore.

AIA Singapore’s Child Critical Cover rider provides overage for a child’s treatment across an extensive list of 25 child medical conditions until the age of 21. The rider can also be converted into a lifelong plan.

How Can I Treat ADHD? Treatments Available

ADHD treatments can range from behavioural therapy to the taking of medication, depending on the situation. Treatment includes:

  • Individual Behaviour Therapy – How to cope, behaviour management strategies.
  • Group Intervention – Classroom Behaviour Skills, conflict management, social skills
  • OT intervention – Sensory Integration, Self Regulation
  • Psychotherapy- Behaviour modification
  • Pharmacological treatment

… and more.

Where Can I Go To Treat ADHD In Singapore?

Provider Service Provided Cost (Of Therapy/ Session) Subsidy Available? Contact Remarks
Cheers Learning Services Psychological Assessment, Educational Therapy. $120-$180NIL +65 84955465 Focused on Children
Institute of Mental Health (IMH)Consultation Adults:
$67-$98 (Before Subsidy)

$37 (After Subsidy)

Child:
$86-$108 (Before Subsidy)
$42 (After Subsidy)
Yes Appointment Line: 6389 2200
Enquiry Line: 6389 2000

Email: [email protected]
A referral letter from any polyclinic is required if you would like to be seen as a subsidised patient.
Child Guidance Clinic (CGC)
(Health Promotion Board)
Diagnosis and treatment of ADHD undisclosed Yes 3 Second Hospital Ave #03-01
Singapore 168937
6435 3878/9
Developmental & Behavioural Paediatric Services
(National University Hospital)
confidential. Call to enquire. Yes NUH Children’s Clinic
Main Building 1, Level 4
5 Lower Kent Ridge Road
Singapore 119074
6772 6157 / 6772 2002
[email protected]
James Cook University Psychology Clinic
$25-$40 per assessment or therapy.Yes JCU Singapore Psychology Clinic
149 Sims Drive
Singapore 387380
6709 3762
[email protected]
Department of Child Development (DCD)
(KK Women's and Children's Hospital)
undisclosed Yes Women’s Tower, Level 5
100 Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 229899
6294 4050

Other Forms of Support and Help You Can Get

For those who require support in terms of educational needs, here are a few

ServiceWhat Is It? Criteria Address
Student Care Services (SCS) – Educational Psychology Services (EPS)
Provides diagnostic and intervention programmes for students with learning difficulties, special behavioural / emotional / developmental issues, and special needs eg autism, dyslexia, attention deficit. They also provide support services for parents. The EPS serves students aged 5 to 18 years coming from families with less than $2000 monthly income. SCS Clementi Centre
437 Clementi Ave 3 #01-98
Singapore 120437
6778 6867
SCS Hougang Centre
463 Hougang Ave 10 #01-964
Singapore 530463
6286 9905
SCS Yishun Centre
202 Yishun St 21 #01-89
Singapore 760202
6759 6821
Care Corner Educational Therapy Services (ETS)
A registered charity organisation that provides specialized learning needs for ADHD. For children aged 5 to 13 (K1 to P6) who have learning difficulties/disorders and are unable to cope academically in a mainstream school. Toa Payoh Centre
149 Toa Payoh Lorong 1 #01-963
Singapore 310149
6259 8683
[email protected]
Tampines Centre
Block 414, Tampines Street 41 #01-297
Singapore 520414
6694 8568
[email protected]
Woodlands Service Point
Sembawang Zone 'E' RC (opposite Admiralty MRT)
718 Woodlands Ave 6 #01-648
Singapore 730718
8344 3507
[email protected]
Learning To Learn Centres (Kampung Senang Charity and Education Foundation)
The Centre helps children with learning challenges, including ADHD, Autism Spectrum, Dyslexia, developmental delays and children who do not respond well to traditional teaching methods, at affordable and subsidized rates.For children with ADHD Northeast Kampung Senang Activity Centre
840 Tampines St 82 #01-111
Singapore 520840
6785 2568
[email protected]

Source: Spark

Online Resources

SPARK

The Society for the Promotion of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Research & Knowledge (Spark) is an independent, voluntary and non-profit organisation that aims to promote understanding and research on ADHD, as well as provide support to families with ADHD children to cope better. Some activities organised by SPARK include:

  • Monthly parent support group meetings for parents with ADHD children and interested parties
  • Publication of a regular newsletter to create awareness
  • Supporting and participating in research for ADHD
  • Collaborations with other organisations as and when invited to promote our cause
  • Learning activities and programmes for families with ADHD children, such as parenting workshops for parents with ADHD children

You can find out more about them by visiting their website!

Treating ADHD In Singapore

ADHD is something that can be identified and treated at a young age. Should you suspect your child to have ADHD, do seek treatment if you can afford it. It will really help him/her in his/her learning journey, and it may benefit them later on in life.

If you have a child having ADHD, or have ADHD yourself, I would love to hear your story, tips and advice as well!

About Rachel Yeo
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